There have been several reports that the NHL and NHLPA have had some communication over the past couple days, but there are still no meetings scheduled.
Gary Bettman has stated in the past that they would need at least a 48 game schedule to save the season. Games have been cancelled up to January 14th.
The NHLPA still has to decide if they will go forward with dissolving the union. They have until January 2nd to file for a disclaimer of interest. If they do file the disclaimer, Don Fehr will no longer represent the players. The players still could hire him as a consultant or have him involved in some capacity.
Devils Lou Lamoriello had been very active in past lockouts, and played key role in ending the previous lockout. This has not been the case this time around though.
“I’m not involved the way I was in the past. I can’t answer why,” Lamoriello said.
As Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger points out, it’s easy for one to speculate.
The NHL is looking to limit contract lengths to 5 or 6 years, with teams being able to re-sign their own free agents to 7 or 8 year contracts. Lamoriello ‘circumvented the cap’ in 2010 in an attempt to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17 year, $102 million contract. The NHL would not allow the contract and fined the Devils $3 million and took away a 1st and 3rd round draft pick. The Devils reworked the contract and signed Kovalchuk to a 15 year, $100 million deal.
Lamoriello did have some things to say regarding the lockout.
“I’m embarrassed for the game,” Lamoriello told The Star-Ledger.
“It’s coming down to the wire right now,” Lamoriello said. “We’ve just got to trust the people that are involved. I’m embarrassed we are where we’re at. That’s the best expression I can use.”
Lamoriello on how long it has taken.
“I really didn’t know. Like everybody, I hoped not,” Lamoriello said, “but we are where we are right now and we’re getting to the 11th hour. I’m just hopeful everything can work out.”
Though things don’t look promising at this point, at least there is some communication between the sides, and still time to save the season.