One month ago, the NHL lockout predictably began.
Just when its unpredictable end will arrive is an answer not even Gary Bettman nor Donald Fehr could confidently provide.
And that’s worrisome, of course. There has been zero traction in talks. Neither side has made the next move yet, wanting to make the other sweat a little longer in order to gain some measure of leverage in talks.
So the standoff continues, although the fact the big four will meet again Tuesday in Toronto is a slim glimmer of hope. Getting Bettman, Fehr, Bill Daly and Steve Fehr in the same room as often as possible is the only way this thing will ever find a breakthrough.
Monday, meanwhile, also would have been the first NHL payday for the 700-odd players locked out by owners. Yes, escrow payments north of 8 percent from their 2011-12 salaries are due before the end of the month, and they will help ease that pain, but it won’t take long before Mrs. Player gets tired of her husband not bringing home the bacon.
Similarly, dark arenas will begin to annoy deep-pocketed NHL owners. Sure, they’ve got the financial wherewithal to wait out the players -- that’s a given -- but some owners are also smart enough to see the long-term damage this lockout is already beginning to cause.