Let’s Hope the NHL and NHLPA Can “Jerry Maguire” This Thing Real Soon

Okay, quick… you have to imagine that the NHL and the NHLPA have suddenly started talking again, like a girlfriend who doesn’t slam the door on her ex even though she caught him changes the shoes of that one girl you just know he has eyes for. (What?) You have to imagine that the NHLPA is heading into his girlfriend’s house, and that the NHLPA has to play nice so she won’t throw him out the door, or head into the kitchen to grab the knife, or run into her room crying. Do you have that picture painted? Can you imagine what the NHLPA might say?

Is it like the, “I’m looking for my wife!” scene in Jerry Maguire? Is it like the part where Patrick Fugit chases Kate Hudson’s plane down the runway in Almost Famous? Is it like the, “I think she is the saddest girl to ever hold a martini” line from Vanilla Sky? (Man, that Cameron Crowe guy really cranks them out.)

“We have things to tell them,” said the NHLPA this morning.

Oh. That’s not what you were picturing, is it?

With the 2012 season teetering on the brink, and with a second year-long lockout since 2004 suddenly a very real possibility, both sides are continually sitting on the ski lift with the bar down. Chicken, they call it.

They won’t back down. They won’t even play nice.

They’ve left the negotiations to YouTube wunderkinds from Finland, who have inspired more than Gary Bettman’s bobbling head ever could.

This is the only league that seems to put fantasy above reality. It’s the only group of owners who seem to believe they deserve compensation for money lost. It’s the only network of players who stand in solidarity with each other, even after they intentionally break each other’s wrists only a few months prior.

(Well, not intentionally, but Crosby had to know that repeated and increasingly more powerful slashes would cause the kid some permanent damage.)

The league generates $3.3 billion. That’s a lot to the guy behind your dumpster, but not a lot to the National Football League. The NHL is somewhere in between, but it’s unaware of its place.

And now, we all have to wait. Again.