Today is Day 51 of the NHL lockout, and we’re just three days removed from perhaps the lowest point of this whole mess, when the league announced that the 2013 Winter Classic — scheduled for New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium — had been officially canceled. And so with reports that the NHL and NHLPA met on Saturday for the first time in two weeks and will meet again tomorrow in New York, we’d caution that you should get your hopes up at your own risk. We suppose this constitutes good news — the sides need to negotiate before the lockout can end — but forgive us if we’re not expecting to see NHL players back on the ice (well, on North American ice) anytime soon. There didn’t appear to be much urgency to get a deal done in time to save the Winter Classic, and now that the crown jewel of the regular season is off, we’re not sure there will be any real urgency until the rest of the 2012-13 season is in danger of cancellation, and we haven’t reached that point quite yet. So yeah, it remains a terrible time to be a hockey fan.
Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr.