The CBA, or lack there of, is the giant hold up right now for the NHL. Without one, there is no way to determine the rules for dividing money, or what rules the league will operate under. But, earlier this evening, Allan Walsh (Sports Agent) said on Twitter that the NHLPA informed the NHL that they are willing to play without an agreement (if one isn’t reached by September 15th), so that the players are not locked out of the league and fans will not miss games.
The ball is now in the owner’s court. This is a huge change and a huge move by the players. The Owners are now set up to look even worse if they don’t accept this, because then they are deliberately trying to lockout the players when they are willing to continue playing without an agreement. Quite honestly, I’m not sure what the consequences for the players are if they play without an agreement, or if they will even be paid for playing, but I’m thoroughly impressed and happy this is the direction they have gone. It shows the players aren’t being greedy and are truly trying to get the best and most fair agreement they can. How will the Owners react to this? I’m not sure, but the players have made their move and it’s an act of good faith. One more thing, keep in mind that this is not all Gary Bettman’s fault. He is employed by the Owners, to get deals and agreements that they want, and is merely a pawn doing their bidding.