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.

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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.

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Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle 6 Top 9th Inning
Oakland 3
Washington 1 Top 8th Inning
Los Angeles 4
Arizona 1 Top 9th Inning
San Diego 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96

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