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NHL Lockout Drags on; Winter Classic in Jeopardy

The NHL Lockout enters it’s 38th day today with no negotiating gong on between the two sides. In fact, there are no scheduled meetings to do any negotiating. As the lockout drags on, the season gets shorter and shorter. New Year’s Day’s Winter Classic may be on the chopping block if things don’t get settled soon. The season will be shortened if no deal is reached by Thursday. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement soon, the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, may be in danger of cancellation.

”There are multiple frameworks for a deal on the table,” Steve Fehr said Sunday. ”We gave them three good ones on Thursday. Each moves toward a 50-50 split of (hockey-related revenue) that the league wants. Each allows the contracts in place to be honored.

”Unfortunately, after considering these proposals for about 10 minutes the league rejected them and essentially said that they are not moving off their last proposal.”

A bigger problem for the league will be getting the fans back after a second lockout in less than a decade. The last one cost the NHL an entire season and the fans were slow to return. Another season-long work stoppage could be a death blow to the league, especially in this bad economy when discretionary spending is tight. All over the sports world attendance is sagging. An angry fan base is not a good thing to have right now. The NHL may find that out soon enough.

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