Here are some ways the league and its players can end a lockout that has put the entire season in peril. We can only hope that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, head of the players' union, are listening.
Appoint a mediator. Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner and Bettman's righthand man, said he and Fehr have discussed getting a mediator involved. But Daly claimed it is best to use a mediator only when the two parties don't understand each other.
"We certainly understand what their position is," he said.
That's twisted logic. Just because each side understands the other's position does not mean a mediator wouldn't bring some much-needed logic to the situation.
Bettman and Fehr are too close to the talks and need a fresh pair of unbiased eyes from someone who can steer the negotiations toward an agreement.
Fire Bettman and Fehr. No disrespect meant to these distinguished lawyers, but they are both out of touch with reality. And both have the league where it is today - in the dark. Along the way, these brilliant men have sounded like spoiled brats arguing about how to divide a record $3.3 billion in revenue.
In Fehr's last offer, the players would get 53 to 54 percent of the hockey-related revenue. That's laughable when you consider that NFL players get just 48 percent of revenue, and their league has a $3 billion TV contract. The NHL averages $200 million a year from NBC.
Even NBA players get just 50 percent, and their league has a $930 million TV deal.
As for Bettman - whose league has locked out the players all three times the collective-bargaining agreement has expired during his tenure - he is asking players to take a rollback in salaries, with estimates ranging from a 9 percent to 17 percent reduction, depending on which side is doing the spinning.
"The owners want salary concessions, and look at all the contracts that were signed a month before the lockout - and now they're asking for money back," said defenseman Braydon Coburn, the Flyers' player representative. "What would you call that?"
The owners signed players to more than $200 million in the final two days before the CBA expired. If that collective-bargaining agreement was so lousy for the owners, as Bettman contends, why did teams rush to sign players before a new agreement was put in place?
It seems hypocritical, to say the least.
Hire Jim Lehrer as moderator. Put Bettman and Fehr in a room with Lehrer and the negotiations are sure to improve.
Based on the manner in which Lehrer handled the presidential debate Wednesday, Bettman and Fehr would not pay any attention to him and would get all their issues in the open. From there, the NHL/NHLPA leaders might just find some common ground and do some meaningful negotiating.
Hire season-ticket holders as negotiators. Bettman and Fehr have led their sides down a road to nowhere. Put a season-ticket holder on each side - someone who thinks the owners are right, and someone who sides with the players - and let them lead the negotiations.
We have a feeling the season-ticket holders would get right to the crux of the issues and would not be so self-serving or greedy.
Contact Sam Carchidi at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter@BroadStBull.