Despite rumours of "secret" meetings this weekend between Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow, the NHLPA leader issued seem advice to his membership, a brutal and cold delcaration of misery to hockey fans across North America.
Goodenow advised his players to go to Europe as soon as possible and find work and be prepared to sign on for next year as well. It's unclear if he issued his edict before, after or during these "secret" meetings which may or may not have taken place. But the omens are not particularly good for anything resembling NHL quality hockey in the short term.
Interestingly enough the announcement was made in audio form on the Union website The Source, accessible only to union it members. One wonders about the audio only message, perhaps Bob likes the sound of his own voice. Jokes about athletes not being able to read will not be snickered at on HockeyNation thank you very much! At any rate, one assumes we can now say the players heard the news from the horses mouth. Though I'm thinking that Messrs, Bettman and Daly have a different body part in mind!
Regardless, its just one more nail into the coffin of the year that would have been 2004-05. Secret meetings or not, the prospect of a season of less than fourty games, followed by a playoff run of almost equal length seems rather pointless now.
Both sides have made their contribution to the mess, so we'll leave it to them to figure out whenever they can fit the game back into their schedule. Just don't be surprised if the paying customers take some time to think over their options. Life has gone on, the game while missed is certainly not draining us of our energies. We find other things to do, best you hope that we don't start to enjoy those other things at your expense later on. You can make your changes, but we may make some of our own!