When will we get to see what the Parise and Suter deals have wrought? Who knows?
Apart from on-ice issues, there is the economic issue. No NHL means lost sales tax revenue, job losses for hundreds of people (not just players) connected with the team, and hard times for bars and shops that depend on hockey.
Insiders tell us that Bettman is playing a game of his own. He remembers that after the 2004-2005 dispute resulted in an entire season being lost, the fans returned. He expects them to return again, and his gambit is that the players will ultimately cave just as they did then.
But the players remember 2004-2005, too. They know that if they make it a habit to capitulate, the league will become even tougher on them in the future.
That may lead to a longer work stoppage in 2012. And all bets are off for the fans, who may just decide they’ve learned something, too.