would consist entirely of crotch-chopping,
Gary Bettman gave up and went home.
The whole process has felt like one long case of one step forward and two steps back, with every positive sign immediately followed by a negative one. Here's a look back at the ups and down of the current state of negotiations.
Good sign: Two sides have essentially agreed on the definition of hockey-related revenue, with a few exceptions.
Bad sign: One of those exceptions is the service charge on season ticket cancellations, which currently projects to be the league's top revenue source this year.
Good sign: The owners have wisely suggested that the best way to move forward is to ensure that both sides are speaking the same language.
Bad sign: The players still selfishly insist on speaking one of those languages where the phrase "signed contract" has meaning.
Good sign: While the owners were widely criticized for their use of an expensive public relations firm, at least we know that the NHLPA would never waste time on annoyingly transparent PR spin.
Bad sign: We know this because, in an odd coincidence, every player in the league tweeted about it at the exact same time.
Good sign: There appeared to be cracks in the owners' solidarity during one meeting, when one of biggest lockout hawks got into a shouting match with one of the guys who's always irresponsibly throwing money around.
Bad sign: Order was eventually restored when everyone told Craig Leipold that he was talking to himself again.
Good sign: The players have been attempting to build goodwill by inviting the owners to spend leisure time with them individually.
Bad sign: So far, the owners have declined the repeated invitations to go for a nice walk in the woods with David Booth.
Good sign: The players responded to the owners' most recent offer by presenting not one but three different counter-proposals.
Bad sign: Those three different offers were created by Donald Fehr shifting his weight slightly while he sat pantsless on the photocopier.
Good sign: There appeared to be some frustration with the lockout among the NHLPA, as one player was spotted sobbing inconsolably on the floor.
Bad sign: It turned out to just be Roberto Luongo after reading reports about this rumored trade to the Maple Leafs.
Good sign: The league's public relations focus group was successful in identifying key phrases that average hockey fans are guaranteed to respond favorably to.
Bad sign: They're still figuring out how to work "Gary Bettman just tripped and fell into a rocket ship aimed at the center of the sun" into a CBA proposal.
Good sign: The two sides have reportedly made progress on a plan for improving player safety and reducing concussions.
Bad sign: That plan is apparently "never play hockey again".
Good sign: Bettman seems to already be thinking ahead to bringing back the post-lockout slogan "Thank You Fans", since he keeps writing that phrase in his notebook over and over again while smiling.
Bad sign: On closer examination, that first word may not be "Thank".
Good sign: Experts agree that the actual gap between players and owners has become so small that the league would have to be run by complete idiots to cancel the season now.
Bad sign: Everyone who says that immediately trails off, looks around awkwardly, and then mutters "So… see you next year."
2012 – Sean Avery appears as a guest judge on a modeling reality show called Project Runway, which is not to be confused with his appearance on the ice for any shift against a legitimate NHL heavyweight, which was called Project Run Away.
From Make his head bleed: A history of the NHL in pop culture, one of 24 chapters of brand new material available exclusively in The Best of Down Goes Brown.
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