Wayne Gretzky started this month by saying that, in his heart, he believed that the NHL would be playing by Jan. 1.
Since then we’ve seen what would have been the start of the regular season come and go while the union and league made little outward progress towards a resolution. The two sides met recently, but the core economic issues weren’t even discussed.
So after all that, does Gretzky still think there will be a new CBA before the Winter Classic — and the season for that matter?
“Yeah, in my heart, I do,” Gretzky told 98.7 ESPN New York according to Sports Radio Interviews.com. “I think first of all you have two smart people in the commissioner and the commissioner’s office leading the ownership group and of course Donald Fehr leading the NHLPA. I really believe in my heart that in ’04, changing the landscape, going to a salary cap was a real big issue and a real big fight.
“I think this one is more of a numbers issue. I see them getting something resolved here.”
Gretzky also expressed a hope “that people understand that unfortunately sometimes business is part of our sport” and watch the NHL again when the lockout is over.