This is Day 61 of the NHL lockout, 2012 edition. Every day, we'll serve up some CBA talk and help you get your hockey fix. Let's begin, shall we?
• We're 61 days in, and the games-missed tracker remains at 326, plus the Winter Classic. (That game doesn't get added to the total because it could still be played -- it would just be played at Joe Louis Arena as a regular game instead of an outdoor celebration.)
• Could mediation ever be in the cards for the NHL lockout? Both sides have hinted at some willingness to try it out, but that's as far as the idea seems to have gone. However, renowned mediator Judge Arthur Boylan, who sat in on the dispute between the NFL and its union in last year's lockout, would love a crack at it, and at a very reasonable cost.
"I'd volunteer to do it for free," Boylan said in a telephone interview with ESPNNewYork.com. "I'd love to get this thing done."
Serious question: What's the harm in giving this a try? There is no risk here whatsoever, but there is plenty of potential reward. Somebody give Boylan the commissioner's phone number, please. (ESPN)
• Whenever this lockout ends, the NHL is going to face a tough task in bringing fans back to the game. After the last lockout, the league introduced some new rules intended to increase scoring and, presumably, excitement. We've tried that before. Kevin Kurz says the NHL should throw another bone the fans' way, one that has already been discussed.
The realignment almost certainly won't happen this season, if there is a season at all. But the portion of the plan that sees every team visit every other team could, and should, still be on the table. There's still time for a 66-game season that sees each club play its current division opponents four times apiece, and faces every other team in the league twice.
It would be a small but significant token of appreciation in a league that is driven by the hardest of hardcore fans, and would help minimize the damage the two sides have already caused with this asinine game of chicken.
It still remains a mystery why this hasn't been part of the CBA discussions all along, anyway. Winnipeg can't stay in the Southeast Division forever. (CSN Bay Area)
• Everybody who was once involved with the game in some form or another has an opinion on the lockout, and the outsiders are usually pretty tough. That's literally and figuratively the case for Rob Ray, who believes commissioner Gary Bettman is playing a very dangerous game.
"I could sit and say Bettman is a jerk but he's done a decent job growing the game and with TV packages," said Ray, a colour analyst on Sabres' broadcasts on MSG. "You have to give him credit for that. But, when it comes to this stuff, it becomes all about him. In that way, he is making a bit of a fool of himself.
"He could be the hero with the game growing, the revenues the way they are and people in the buildings. I think he's a bit of gambler thinking that everybody is going to come back. I just think he's risking too much." (Ottawa Sun)
• We all know that it's not the superstars who feel the most pain from the lockout -- and who ease that minimal pain by finding jobs overseas -- but it's the grinders, the fourth-liners without the mega-salaries. The Paul Bissonnette's of the NHL, if you will. It's opening his eyes to what life will be like after hockey, as he explained to Sarah McLellan.
"It's kind of a wake-up call as far as preparing for the end of your career, because the fact that right now there's no hockey as if there wouldn't be, what am I going to do after that?" Bissonnette said. "I know it's a question a lot of guys struggle with, and there are a lot of guys who run through their money and they don't have any on the other end.
"I'm definitely taking a hard look at that, figuring out some things to see what I want to do on the other end of it." (Arizona Republic)
• This is an awesome story from the lockout. The Nashville Predators and some of their rowdiest fans pulled their own form of a flash mob by showing up at a kid's hockey game and packing the rink with spectators, including game-day operations staff, making the rink look and sound just like a Preds game, TV interviews and Barry Trotz coaching included. The best part of the story, or at least the funniest -- Trotz going to the penalty box to console a crying player.
"I had to go into [the penalty box] to console him -- that was my first time doing that," Trotz said. "He was a little teary-eyed because he didn't think he deserved one and I agreed with him on that call." (Nashville City Paper)
Speaking of Schneider, he's pretty good at this goaltending thing, as you might have heard by now. Remember this ridiculous save from last season? That's pure instinct (and covering one's own behind!)
The KHL finally resumed action on Wednesday, and Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals turned in a hat trick after the long rest.
• Games have been canceled, and your favorite players are overseas, but you can still see how your team would be doing. PredictionMachine.com uses its play-by-play technology to simulate each game from the original schedule and predict the outcomes. Just because the NHL isn't playing on the ice doesn't mean we can't play the games. So, here are the "results" from the games that were scheduled for Thursday night.
|Thursday night's schedule|
|Winner||Winner record||Loser||Loser record|
|Bruins 6||13-3-0||Avalahcne 1||2-14-2|
|Penguins 1||13-3-1||Maple Leafs 0||3-11-2|
|Red Wings 4||13-4-0||Devils 3 (overtime)||8-6-2|
|Canadiens 1||7-12-0||Jets 0||6-7-4|
|Islanders 2||3-14-3||Predators 1 (overtime)||7-9-3|
|Blues 6||10-5-1||Wild 0||9-7-1|
|Sharks 3||7-8-3||Stars 0||4-14-3|
|Flames 1||6-9-2||Panthers 0 (overtime)||7-9-3|
|Coyotes 1||10-4-0||Hurricanes 0 (overtime)||6-11-3|
|Canucks 11||12-5-1||Blackhawks 4||10-5-1|
|Kings 3||10-5-4||Blue Jackets 2||3-11-3|