We’re at the beginning of what figures to be a critical period for the NHL and its players, in terms of determining whether training camps will open on time. The current collective-bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, and if a new deal is not reached by then, the league has already indicated that it will lock out the players.

There have been talks between the sides, but not particularly deep or fruitful talks. A small-group session, including commissioner Gary Bettman and players’ association executive director Donald Fehr, is scheduled to meet in New York throughout this week in an attempt to make some progress. This doesn’t figure to be easy. Remember that Bettman has already calmly sat through the cancellation of one entire season, and remember that Fehr represented Major League Baseball players when they went on strike in 1994, a move that led to the cancellation of the World Series. These aren’t men who will be scared or intimidated into making a move.

The issues are relatively clear. At the end of the 2004-05 lockout, the league put in place a salary cap, and tied the rise and fall of that cap (and floor) to revenues. If the league, in general, did well, the players would do well, by virtue of the cap ceiling rising (and their salaries correspondingly rising). Now, the league is asking that the players’ share of that revenue split be reduced, from 57 percent to something in the range of 43-46 percent (depending on which report you read). It’s a pretty staggering change. Seven years ago, the owners railroaded the players, absolutely crushed them, and got everything they wanted. Now, seven years later, they’re coming back to the table and saying, “It’s not enough.” Frankly, I’m having trouble rousing empathy for the owners. They got the exact system they wanted, with the economic certainty they demanded, and now they’re essentially coming back to the players and saying, “Yes, we got cost certainty, but we didn’t go far enough.” Whose fault is that? Seven years ago, the owners did make compelling arguments. They opened their books, showed how much money they were losing, and made convincing arguments that the current system was not sustainable. They were correct. This time around, I haven’t heard anything compelling. It’s not terribly far from me complaining to Amazon.com that they’re charging too much money to my credit card, even though I’m the one who made the purchases. Whose fault is it that the New Jersey Devils gave stupid money to Ilya Kovalchuk? There’s only one logical answer…

Owners argue that the 57-43 revenue split is far off, in terms of the splits that other pro leagues (NBA, NFL) have established. They’re correct, but on the other hand, not every league’s economics are the same. There are also debates about revenue sharing, contract length and free agency, but until the two sides start making progress on getting those revenue-share numbers closer, the threat of a lockout will continue to loom large. For a nice rundown of the situation and a preview of this week’s talks, check out Kevin Allen’s piece in USA Today by clicking here. Beyond that, we’ll hope for the best…

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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