Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Day 82: Latest "most critical 24 hours" of the NHL lockout

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: December 6, 2012 - 11:51 AM

Every single day in the lockout has been the "most critical day of negotiations." Every stage of this lockout has been the most "critical 24-36 hours" of this lockout.

Until tomorrow, of course.

Well, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, is the most critical day and 24-36 hours of the fun that is the third NHL lockout in 18 years and second in eight. Until tomorrow.

The goal, of course, is to get tomorrow because today is so critical.

Things honestly are very close to going off the rails.

As I reported Wednesday night/Thursday morning, things didn't go nearly as well as it did Tuesday when league No. 2 and union 2 Bill Daly and Steve Fehr stood jointly in front of an NHLPA backdrop for the first time in this process and held a brief press scrum. The visual said it all: things were rosy. The words said it all, with Fehr calling it the "best day" in the process.

That's because owners and players talked generally without storming off in a huff.

Then came Wednesday when things were put down on paper and the real heavy lifting of making a deal begun.

There were some tense exchanges, some near blowups, and not just from the Jeremy Jacobs of the world. The Boston owner has become everybody's favorite target for blame, but the moderates got fed up and wanted to end things as well when the players weren't receptive enough to the league throwing more money on "Make Whole."

The owners angrily left the meeting. But the two sides decided to try to patch things up and keep working at it, which created some "positivity" among sources on both sides.

Then, things ended tensely again.

The reality is as close as the sides appear because they did have some agreements yesterday, those bargaining feel everything hangs by a thread.

First of all, the $89 million extra thrown at "Make Whole" is based solely on a 10-year CBA because the league wants to end the cycle of lockouts. The union has always balked at that because Donald Fehr has convinced the players that they don't want to lock themselves into a long-term deal after making so many concessions.

The league also wants to end the long-term, back-diving contracts, so they want five-year max deals (seven to re-sign one's own free agent) and 5% max variance in salaries. This obviously wouldn't affect the vast majority of NHLers, but to the union, this restricts players' rights bigtime.

Now, the PA is insistent that Donald Fehr comes back in the room. That means Gary Bettman comes back in the room. And when that happens, things usually go toxic fast.

So we again are on murky ground, my fellow hockey fans.

My gut: this still gets done eventually. But as has been the trend of this whole process, it won't happen easy.

Both sides need to decide what issues are worth risking a full season for. Anyway, there's got to come a point where the 700 players deserve the right to vote for a proposal, one would think.

As of this moment the PA is talking internally. Then the two should meet again with different sets of rules, of course.


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 3rd Prd 1:30
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 82 2nd Half 0:26
Washington 71
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL


question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters