As the National Hockey League enters the fifth week of its player lockout, some fans of the Nashville Predators fear the entire season could be a total bust without an agreement reached soon.
The league has canceled 82 regular season games, but there is a glimmer of hope.
The league's team owners drafted a new contract this week that could bring the players back to the negotiating table. The owners are now pushing for a 50-50 revenue split with the players.
And while the players union mulls over this latest deal, the Preds organization is pulling out all the stops to keep fans in the seats when the season starts.
The Predators' junior hockey team got a rare shot Wednesday to play on the Bridgestone Arena ice normally occupied by the Predators.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the locker room, the team invited season ticket holders to participate in a panel discussion, hoping to do a little damage control.
"The fans are just left out in the cold, and enough is enough," said season ticket holder Len Yuhas.
Head coach Barry Trotz joined other staff members in fielding questions from fans like Yuhas, wondering if there will be a season this year.
"We've paid our money. We want to get down here, and we want to watch the game. And they keep messing around," Yuhas said.
"There is some hope. We're optimistic," Trotz said.
That hope rests with the latest proposal by NHL owners to ratify and agreement and end the lockout.
"I think what the NHL has done is back the players into a corner to say, 'if you want a full schedule, if you want 82 games, you've got nine days to pull something off.' So let's get this thing going," said George Plaster, with radio station 102.5 The Game.
That plan is raising the stakes as the clock winds down on the NHL season.
"We're ready. We're prepared," Trotz said.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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