NHL agent suggests work stoppage could last year and a half

Darren Heitner writes the Sports Agent Blog, which is terrific but doesn't dabble too much in the land of pucks.

So it was a pleasant surprise to see him tackle the potential NHL work stoppage on Forbes.com, in a really insightful article about players becoming victims of predatory loans. Very much worth your time: Give it a read.

Alas, our attention was diverted by this exchange with NHL player agent Scott Norton, who represents Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown. Here's some sugar in your coffee: The lockout "legitimately" could wipe out a season and a half. From Forbes.com:

One report (based on "sources around the industry") says the general consensus is that NHL games will be played, but that the regular season will likely not start until some time between Thanksgiving (November 22) and the Winter Classic (January 1, 2013).

NHLPA certified agent Scott Norton of Norton Sports Management told Forbes.com that there is a legitimate chance it could be a year-and-a-half from the date the CBA expires (September 15) before hockey resumes. "The NHLPA, agents, and players are much more unified than they were at the start of the last work stoppage [in 2004]," said Norton. "We are all impressed with [NHLPA executive director] Donald Fehr's abilities, persona, and the way he has involved players and agents in meetings, and feel very strongly that NHLPA will stick together this time…if it means a missing a month [of games] or 2 seasons."

Oh. Dear. Lord.

There's more from Norton in this Rant Sports interview, where he clarifies that agents are on the "perimeter" of the CBA talks.

That alone should categorize the "missing two seasons" talk as hyperbolic saber-rattling, but who knows: Maybe there's actually the concept among players or owners that this quibbling over details in an established economic system could cost us another season.

If you haven't already, give Michael Grange's latest a read, as the Sportsnet columnist continues to offer the most balanced take on the CBA talks:

If the owners promised to pay the players the dollar value of the contracts they've signed them to and let the player's share of HRR shrink over time, the players would very likely sign up Wednesday afternoon. If the players were willing to let their share of HRR diminish to 50 per cent or so sooner rather than later, the owners might go for it, but the players are still trying to win battles they lost seven years ago.

There is no need to bring in labour boards to figure this out. There is no need for any of the posturing we can predictably anticipate later this week. There is no need to delay the start of the season.

And there sure as [expletive] isn't any reason to lose another season over it either.