NHL lockout -- Theatre of the Absurd

NHL lockout -- Theatre of the Absurd
January 4, 2013, 4:41 am
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Brian Campbells face showed more skepticism than optimism after Wednesdays skate with his former Blackhawks teammates. The defenseman, speaking before the NHL and NHLPA went through a marathon negotiation in New York City that seemed to yield progress, wasnt getting too giddy.

Yeah, I dont know. I dont want to get too far ahead, Campbell said. Ive gotten caught up in that, personally, thinking somethings going to happen. Its just kind of wait-and-see.

Its a wise outlook, considering how this whole collective-bargaining debacle has gone. Its truly been the Theatre of the Absurd: One day things are looking happy, perky, then 24 hours later the two sides are barely talking to each other. Case in point, the NHL and NHLPAs talks Wednesday and Thursday. After having several hours worth of seemingly meaningful negotiations on Wednesday (and into early Thursday), each side kept to itself on Thursday.

As CSNPhillys Tim Panacchio reports from New York, it was more of a day of potential litigation than of negotiation and mediation. It started when the league apparently changed language regarding hockey-related revenue after Wednesdays talks. Reportedly, that all got straightened out. But that apparently left angry feelings. The NHLPA, which didnt go through with its first disclaimer of interest by Wednesdays 11:59 p.m. (ET) deadline, gave players the chance to vote on another one. The union also went to court in the attempt to get the NHLs suit, which was filed the same day the NHLPA told players they would get to vote on that first disclaimer of interest.

Oh, and in the midst of all this legalese, the two sides will meet again tomorrow around 10 a.m. ET, the league told reporters in New York.

Confused yet? Annoyed yet? Dont answer that second one; we already know. Again, welcome to the Theatre of the Absurd, Act oh, weve lost track. For every high moment theres been a low moment; or more like a huh? moment.

So the saga continues. Ive been asked many times if I think there will be hockey this season. Yes, I do. To apply NHL deputy commissioner Bill Dalys infamous quote to my stance, that prediction is the hill I will die on. But its easy to understand why many have thrown their hands up in disgust and are tempted, not only to close their hearts to NHL hockey, but their wallets as well.

Campbells outlook is a smart one. Dont get too up or down, because the emotion will change quicker than the NHL & NHLPAs meeting plans.

Some call these highs, lows, actions and inactions just part of negotiations. Ill stick with absurd.