Saturday, December 29, 2012

A welcome back recap

December 29, 2012

If only it were so simple.
215 Hockey has been down for a while, so gets all caught up on what has been going on with the Flyers, shall we?

Well about that....The NHL has been stuck in a lockout for months now and much of the season has been cancelled as a result.

All regular season games through January 14 have been cancelled, the Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings has been cancelled and the All-Star Game in Columbus has been cancelled, all while the NHL and NHLPA (Players' Association) try to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

However, negotiations have not gone so well. Both the NHL owners, led by league commissioner Gary Bettman, and the players, represented by Donald Fehr have talked via conference calls and face-to-face negotiations in order to make a deal. But the trend has become that every single time progress is made, negotiations come to a screeching halt because one side feels insulted by one of the demands of the other and stops talking to them completely.

While this is happening, many NHL players signed with teams overseas until the work stoppage ends, and the list of players includes quite a few Flyers.

Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, Ilya Bryzaglov, Matt Read, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Ruslan Fedotenko and Tom Sestito are some of the Flyers who found places to play across the Atlantic until they can wear their Flyers uniforms again.

Meanwhile, the younger players such as Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Harry Zolnierczyk, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Eric Wellwood and Erik Gustafsson have been playing for the Flyers' AHL affiliate the Adirondack Phantoms, which hopefully help further along their development to becoming better players in the NHL.

Max Talbot and and the Flyer who has yet to skate for the team Bruno Gervais played a series of pick-up games for charity along with other NHL players and Scott Hartnell also organized a charity game with other NHLers named Operation Hat-Trick, which helped with Hurricane Sandy Relief.

I can go on for a while about all the stuff that has happened during this lockout, but I'll keep it brief given that it is the first post in a while.

The important thing is that the lockout could finally be nearing an end. After a report saying that the entire season would be cancelled if there is no deal by mid-January was released, the NHL made an offer to the Players' Association that got both sides talking again.

It is very good news that there are discussions, but the last couple times talks happened and optimism was raised everything just stopped.

This time seems different however, especially because the clock is ticking.

As of right now both the players and the owners are having discussions and throwing around offers to get a deal done, there has been no face-to-face negotiations yet, but the expectation is that those negotiations will happen soon in New York City.

If you need any further proof that these recent discussions could be the ones that save the 2012-2013 NHL Season, take this into account:

Today, Joe Haggerty of Comcast Sportsnet New England reported that NHL employess have been told to be ready for the season to start in mid-January.

Hopefully a new CBA is close to being agreed up, and NHL hockey can finally come back.

Fingers crossed.

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