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NHL Lockout 2012: Players 'Prepared For' Lockout

This could get ugly in a hurry.

NHLPA head honcho Donald Fehr said that the players are "prepared for the eventuality of an owners' lockout," assuming a new collective bargaining agreement can't be reached.

The NHL, of course, last had a lockout in 2004, when the league cancelled all of its games for the 2004-05 season, becoming the first league in North American major sports history to cancel all of its games for a season because of a work stoppage.

According to Fehr, the players are well aware of history.

Players understand what is going on, understand what the issues are and understand how the owners' proposal will affect them, understand how this compares to what happened seven years ago. ... understand that this will affect their lives if we can't find a way through this in the immediate future.

Hopefully, cooler heads prevail and the NHL can avoid another work stoppage. A second work stoppage in eight years would be tough to recover from, for a sport that already has waning interest in the United States.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.