Owners have offered a new proposal in an attempt to end the NHL lockout and salvage the 2012-13 season. There is some optimism.
If the lockout ended Jordan Eberle, an NHL All-Star last season who is playing with the Oklahoma City Barons, would immediately join the Edmonton Oilers.
“When you hear they’re talking you get a little excited but I try to focus on our next game here,” Eberle said. “If it does come it’s going to be weird to leave here and get going back there.”
Weird for Eberle to leave the American Hockey League along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz, who have spent the past three months living in downtown Oklahoma City?
“Absolutely,” Eberle said. “It’s going to be really weird. But I’m an NHL player. That’s where I want to be. Hopefully they get started soon and Hallsy, Schultz, Nuge and I and some other guys on this team would go up there.”
Speculation is a new collective bargaining agreement needs to be signed by Jan. 15 to salvage the season and end the 105-day lockout.
The two sides were close to hammering out a deal in early December, according to NHL Players Association boss Donald Fehr. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman adamantly announced they were still far apart.
Now there are reports some owners feel it’s essential to salvage the season. Some owners believe the league can’t afford to cancel another season similar to eight years ago.
“I have no idea (what will happen),” Eberle said. “It’s the same as always. It’s nice to hear that they’re talking. But at the end of the day I try not to pay attention to it. My focus is here.”