NHL Memo To Officials Could Signal End Of Lockout Nearing

The NHL send a mundane, policy filled memo to video goal judges and arena technical coordinators, but close followers of the NHL lockout see it as something different — a strong sign that hockey will return soon.

The memo contains information about technical changes for “the upcoming season,” and in the note it specifically mentions that the NHL and NHLPA are working toward a resolution so arena personnel need to be “ready to go.” This is the first time all year that officials have received correspondence from the NHL, leading to optimism that the NHL lockout will soon be over.

From the Yahoo! Sports blog Puck Daddy:

“Another factor for optimism: déjà vu. During the last shortened season, off-ice officials received a similar notice and the NHL was ‘playing games in less than two weeks,’ according to the source.

“This type of chatter has picked up lately. Teams have been sending messages to their managers and staffers ‘all hands on deck’ messages for the last few weeks: Be prepared to head back at a moment’s notice. In some cases, they’ve been false starts, as the NHL and NHLPA talks have teased a resolution. But that’s what’s been communicated.”

The NHL took other strides this weekend to end the lockout. Owners budged off the five-year limits for player contracts they had been insisting on — and at one point called “the hill they die on” — to offer six-year limits, or seven if the player resigns with the same team. The proposal was seen as a compromise for owners and a positive sing that the NHL lockout negotiations were moving forward, NJ.com writer Charles Curtis noted.