As CBA expiration looms, Ryan Miller warns that they “can’t alienate” the fans

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The CBA negotiations are set to resume on Tuesday and time is running out before the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.

If that happens, there might be a lockout, although NHLPA boss Donald Fehr has left the door open to the players continuing to play while a new CBA is negotiated.

The NHL has enjoyed tremendous growth since the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 campaign. Fans has embraced the post-lockout NHL, and, as Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller pointed out, a work stoppage might threaten that.

“The last thing (we) need to do is have some kind of a work stoppage, because we’ve made great strides with the positive spin hockey’s had,” Miller said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “I think the years coming out of the (2004-05) lockout, we got a lot of the fan base back, a lot of positive energy. Mix that with the Olympics here in North America, a couple of good playoffs, and we have a fan base that’s loyal and, honestly, the best sports fans out of any sport.

“We can’t alienate them. This is up to the NHL and the NHLPA to just get it right.”

Naturally, this is a complicated process that will take time. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that the mood between the union and NHL has been “good, very professional.”

Currently, the NHLPA is working on a counter-proposal to the owner’s initial offer. When the details of it are revealed, we might have a better idea of how far apart the two sides are.