BRIGHTON -- Here's a blog post for your NHL time capsule, to be opened in 2020.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said during Tuesday's media day at Warrior Ice Arena that he doesn't see a lockout coming between the NHL and the NHLPA in the near future, and those words certainly count for something since he's also the powerful Chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors.
The NHLPA can opt out of the current collective-bargaining agreement ahead of the 2020-21 season, and many of the signing bonuses being paid out in current contracts indicate the players, given the current climate, may go that route.
There is constant speculation that the NHL player participation in the Olympics, the high escrow payments shouldered by players, and the skyrocketing costs of second contracts for young star players might be big factors that will lead to another work stoppage. But Jacobs stated when asked that it doesn't make sense for anybody to have another work stoppage just seven years removed from missing a half-season in 2013, and that's encouraging at the very least.
"I think the 2020 lockout, I don't know if that is going to happen," said Jacobs, 77, who is entering the Hockey Hall of Fame in the "Builder" category a couple of months from now. "I think it's way too much in the future right now. I don't see, necessarily, a lockout. It will not be constructive to the game, and it won't be constructive to the players, and definitely not constructive to us here at the Bruins."
All that being said, it's the NHLPA that holds the cards ahead of a possible 2020 work stoppage, and the players are as unified as they've ever been under NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. They have clear goals in mind during the next CBA go-around. Owners shouldn't underestimate the hard feelings the players have over the decision to skip the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, and the unflinching way both sides now approach these work stoppages since they believe the NHL will eventually recover from them.