There were times in the last few months that I was more confident that the NHL lockout was going to cancel the 2012/13 season than be settled. My confidence was at the highest when the Penguins owner, Ron Burkle, who is renowned for his negotiating skills joined the fray. He nearly single handedly struck a deal with the NHLPA overnight.
That, like many other sessions, fizzled when the players association reps wouldn't take the NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, offer. At that point I thought, "The season's doomed, we might see hockey in the fall of 2013."
A federal mediator joined the talks and after trying for 13 times, they finally hammered out a 10 year CBA that should benefit the league and players in many ways going forward. Bettman praised the mediator's efforts during the talks and I feel without government intervention, this deal would never have happened. Which is something I thought I'd never say out loud.
2013 is a new year filled with many surprises. Now, the Penguins have a legitimate shot at another Stanley Cup again. I'm looking forward to their games now the Steelers gently bowed out of this NFL season. All I can say is, Go Pens!