Well yesterday sure was interesting. The NHL and NHLPA met at an undisclosed location at 3pm EST, and didn’t emerge until 10:15pm. For those keeping track that’s seven hours of negotiating in one day, which is about as much time spent as all other days combined. Fascinating. It’s amazing what pressure can do.
And make no mistake, there is now pressure on the NHL to get something done. The biggest mistake that Jeremy Jacobs and Gary Bettman made is that they treated this like the 2004-2005 lockout. There are many differences this year, but the biggest one is corporate pressure.
In 2004-2005, NBC did not have a stake in the NHL. The NHL did not have multiple large corporate sponsors that would have their bottom lines impacted if the NHL lost a season. This year, there’s the $200 million from NBC. There’s the hundreds of millions from Canadian TV, Molson, Gatorade, Bridgestone, etc. There are big time sponsors that are now pressuring the league to get something done.