The longer this goes, the more pressure it is on the owners, and the players know it.
The players want to believe it does but in reality, the owners will win once again, just like every time we see a lockout in professional sports. Fehr has done a good job on convincing players that sitting out for a year or more will make the owners cave (Cleary's recent quotes are a good example of that) but it will not happen.
The owners have the upper hand because:
-majority of them have money coming in on other things besides hockey. they can afford to sit out longer than the players because the players income comes solely from playing hockey.
- the owners know that the fans will come back, just like last time. I remember in the last lockout, everyone said they were done with hockey for good. Guess what? the nhl had record attendance the year after the lockout. the same thing will happen this time. Hockey fans are by far the most diehard and loyal fans in professional sports and the owners know it. you guys can huff and puff all you want about abandoning the nhl if an entire season is lost but i gurantee all of you will be back.
I think the players are banking on the winter classic being the reason that the owners give in, but they will be in for a rude awakening when bettman pulls the plug in november. that's when the real negotiations will begin.
just my 2 cents