Bettman plays the "Lockout" card: Thursday afternoon notes

May 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in attendance before the Los Angeles Kings play against the Phoenix Coyotes in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The words weren't a surprise to anyone, but it is sobering to see NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman finally come out and state that if a new CBA isn't in effect by September 15, the owners will indeed lock out the players. After weeks of cordiality and pleasantries, it looks like trench warfare is finally about to get underway between the NHL and NHLPA.

Updates from the CBA negotiations dominate your afternoon hockey notes, but hey, there's some good news in here, too.

48-Hour Sale knocks 25-40% off NHL apparel | Hockey Gear HQ
This is the perfect sale to jump on if you're looking for back-to-school hockey items like hoodies, t-shirts, or other team-related gear. But hurry, it expires on Friday at 11 a.m. Central.

Nashville Predators News

Well, here's one piece of good news they could trumpet whenever the Skate of the Union Town Hall meeting gets scheduled.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman updates CBA talks - ESPN
Yup, the tone is turning sour...

The Beginning of the Long, Slow March - The Spin
Damian Cox has written off the first quarter of the season already.

Spector on NHL: Dispelling some CBA myths - sportsnet.ca
Mark Spector bursts a few bubbles.

Why having character guys in the dressing room matters | Backhand Shelf
In case you didn't know.

Dominik Hasek, still looking for NHL contract, begins training with Czech club Pardubice | Puck Daddy
The Dominator rages against the dying of the spotlight.

10 bold predictions for the NHL season – USATODAY.com
Warning - this guy

Hockey at The Movies: Slap Shot | The Hockey Writers

Seriously, if you haven't seen this yet...

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