You want to make a deal? You want to play hockey? You want to save a full season? This is what you don't do: If you're the NHL, you don't reject three proposals in minutes and go home in a huff. If you're the NHL Players' Association, you don't offer "three alternative ways to look at this," as executive director Don Fehr put it, and wonder why the other side says you aren't speaking the same language. You especially don't dangle your biggest carrot without thinking it all the way through.
"I am, to say the least, thoroughly disappointed," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Thursday in Toronto, after talks broke up and the league brass took off for New York.
"Today is not a good day," Fehr said. "It should have been, but it wasn't."
Finally, something we can all agree on.
By now, we should know spin and posturing and scare tactics when we see them, and we should know how quickly things can change.