Steve Belkin is a part-owner of the Atlanta Thrashers and has now become the new best friend of the NHL players association. In an interview with the Boston Herald, Belkin let the cat out of the bag as he talked about plans to use replacement players for the 2005-06 season. This could have an impact with the labour relations board as the owners will eventually try to show an impasse and the players will counter with a charge of unfair labour practices. It also shows the hardline views of the two sides and the little or no chance that the 2004-05 season can be salvaged.
The recent lack of negotiations over the ongoing NHL lockout have made it very likely that we won't have any hockey for a while. Canada's TSN network seems to have gotten this message loud and clear. They put on game four of the 1988 finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins during primetime. It was a refreshing change from the brand of hockey we would be seeing had the NHL season started (as originally scheuled) today. Those who doubt this assertion only need to take a quick look at the two lineups. Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, and Fuhr versus Bourque, Neely and Moog - all playing at the top of their games.