Breaking Sports

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

nhl- Still under Pressure

from sportsnet, It was interesting to see the NHL admit they've considered using replacement players in September if the collective bargaining stalemate with the NHLPA continues.
"I think that we can move forward and plan to play a season however it happens this coming year," Edmonton Oilers chair Cal Nichols said when the governors wrapped up their meeting at a Manhattan hotel. "I think that in itself is what our fans want to see, so we'll just see how it works out in the summer. I think everybody still has a preference to work with the union and try to negotiate something and hopefully that's where it takes us."
Read between the lines. The doomsday clock is ticking, again.
The NHL desperately needs to strike a deal with the NHLPA to avoid what certainly would be its worst nightmare. Canceling the 2004-05 season is akin to a walk in the park compared to what lies ahead for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The pressure points for Bettman to strike a deal with Goodenow are many.
First and foremost is the fact that the NHL's deal with American television sports giant ESPN is in play. ESPN has the option to decide by mid-April whether it will carry NHL games next season and why would you commit to carrying a product when you have no idea what the quality of that product would be like?