*Cue sad music from Arrested Development*

Well, that was pretty much the opposite of a birthday wish.

In case you missed all the fun tonight, People Who Know More Than MeTM are here with a recap.

How it began:

But then:

It gets better:

And then The Bett Man came roaring in:

 

And in case you were wondering:

 

Furthermore, here’s a statement from one of the guys who was supposedly behind all this progress – Pittsburgh Penguins’ owner Ron Burkle

The idea to put players and owners together in the same room was a
refreshing idea. Commissioner Bettman should be thanked for proposing it
and the Fehrs should be thanked for agreeing to it.

The players came with a strong desire to get back to playing hockey.
They were professional and did a good job of expressing their concerns and
listening to ours.

We wanted to move quickly and decisively. We have all spent too much
time without any real progress at the expense of our fans, our sponsor and
the communities we serve. It was time to make bold moves and get a deal.
Many people think we got over our skis and they are probably right, but we
wanted to do everything we could to get back to hockey now. We didn’t hold
back.

We made substantial movement on our end quickly, but unfortunately
that was not met with the same level of movement from the other side. The
players asked us to be patient and keep working with them. It’s not what
they do and they wanted us to know they were committed. We understood and
appreciated their situation. We came back with an aggressive commitment to
pensions which we felt was well received. We needed a response on key items
that were important to us, but we were optimistic that we were down to very
few issues. I believe a deal was within reach.

We were therefore surprised when the Fehrs made a unilateral and
“non-negotiable” decision – which is their right, to end the player/owner
process that has moved us farther in two days than we moved at any time in
the past months.

I want to thank the players involved for their hard work as we tried
to reach a deal.

I hope that going backwards does not prevent a deal.

So, yeah, we just went from, “we’re close to a deal,” to, “there is no deal, oh my God, why can’t I stop shaking,” so quickly, it almost felt like this much progress should have been made three months ago. After instilling so much hope in fans to begin the evening (I actually smiled while going to get dinner), two men at a #Podium dashed those hopes entirely.

Now, it’s totally possible that this was all as much a PR move as everything else we’ve seen so far in negotiations but I honestly can’t tell. Tonight was absolutely amazing from a “what the hell is happening” standpoint. It wasn’t as amazing from an “I like the NHL” standpoint. If you want my opinion (and I know you’re all dying for it), I think Fehr pissed off the owners, and Bettman especially, by painting himself and the players entirely as the good guys and that their concessions are what has moved this process forward. I’d like to believe that the two sides are actually closer to a deal than Bettman would have you think, and Burkle’s statement kind of supports that, but the owners want to “win” this on their terms and want to come out of this whole mess seeming like the “good guys.” Or everything went completely to shit tonight and we, as fans, are screwed.

At least we can take comfort in the fact that, while all this was going on, NHL.com’s Dave Lozo had more important things on his mind.

Preach on, Dave. Preach on.