With all the drama that surrounded the NHL and NHLPA’s Thursday night press conferences after the latest round of negotiations, information began flowing in regards to where this may end up and if the NHL season can be salvaged.

WHAT If the NHL has a legitimate reason to by holding out for a ten year term on the Collective Bargaining Agreement?

Not that too many people care, but the NHL is on the ball with their thinking. The term of the next CBA is ultra-important as a selling point to potential sponsors moving forward. If you were a business with advertising dollars to spend, would you buy into the NHL.

Allowing for such a long term on a new deal would allow the NHL to sell itself to potential advertisers at a lower rate. Such a strategy would help to insure the league’s financial stability over the long haul.

WHAT IF the NHLPA agreed to allow for a maximum contract length of five years?

Most players think that if there is a cap on the length of their contracts, they will miss out on future dollars down the road, but look at it from the league’s perspective for a minute. If a player signs a five year deal with a franchise, and they are happy with his performance, what stops them from resigning that player for another five to seven years while they are still under contract?

Not only does it guarantee teams that players will perform at their maximum, but doesn’t it also eliminates front-loaded contracts? Have we all forgotten how we feel about the Scott Gomez contract in this city?

WHAT IF the NHLPA membership understands the league position and is being told to hold out for more?

In our daily lives, we always strive to get the best return on any potential deal we make. Isn’t it normal for the players to do the same? Yes, they are paid handsomely, but like the late former MLBPA head Marvin Miller said, “Once you give something up, you’ll never get it back.”

Someone from inside the NHLPA said, “For owners, it is just about getting as much as they can, an understandable goal that most business owners would share.”

WHAT IF Donald Fehr’s end game for players has been to minimize concessions and slow the cycle of lockout mentality?

From what I understand, players were thrilled to be getting $300 Million on the make-whole provision, but Donald Fehr convinced them to keep pushing the league for a shorter CBA term, and not to allow a cap on player contracts. Has Donald Fehr instructed his membership to hold out until mid-December, and only cave after their own “drop-dead” date has arrived?

WHAT IF  the players are ready to cave in in order to save the season?

Sidney Crosby was visibly pissed off during the second part of Donald Fehr’s press conference on Thursday night. So it seems that even among the elite players, there is dissension. It’s not just depth players who are upset. After the effort that Crosby and his co-owner in Pittsburgh, Ron Burkle, put into this latest negotiations, he must be irate with Fehr over his pigheadedness.

WHAT IF the players ARE really willing to cave? What is their next move?

I’ve heard from a few people that players will secretly meet on Saturday to discuss an exit strategy and try to convince the NHL to reconvene on Sunday to strike a deal. Of course, we’ve heard this type of talk before, but, with the season hanging in the balance, really, WHAT IF?