Born out of dysfunction, the NHL has known nothing other than chaos in the ensuing 95 years since.
From the shady practices of the Norris family, to the Richard Riot, to the Canadiens' weighted drafts, to slanted expansion of 1967, to Alan Eagleson robbing the NHLPA, to John Spanos buying the Islanders and until the labor unrest of the 21st century.
Nothing but chaos.
Discussions between the NHL and NHLPA broke down tonight for a variety of reasons. Reporters far more connected than us have delved into those reasons via Twitter. We've retweeted a ton of them tonight and you can check out our feed @emptynetters.
We won't sift through the ashes of tonight's breakdown. Frankly, we're numb to it.
There is nothing to justify this lockout. The league and the players association, each equally guilty for orchestrating this mess, can offer nothing approaching a reasonable excuse for this disgrace.
As we've written before, as horrible as the 2004-05 lockout was, it improved the game in the long run.
This lockout? We wouldn't dare suggest there are any benefits to this circus. The NHL will not emerge stronger from this. In fact, damage has already been done and it will take a long time, if ever, to recover.
Talks which started on Tuesday offered promise. Sidney Crosby and Ron Burkle appeared to find a common ground each side could. Those talks were absent of the immediate influence of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
Then as Bettman and Fehr once again got immediately invoved, anything positive was incinerated in their ongoing pride-measuring contest.
Hockey is a wonderful game at its basic core. It combined athleticism, conditioning, toughness and skill unlike any of the other three "major" sports in North America. It demands passion on the ice and humility off of it.
Those elements are why we're all hockey fans. They're qualities we like to envision in ourselves. It doesn't matter what team or country you root for. We all like hockey at some basic level for the same reasons.
And yet we put up wth this mularkey from the very top level of this sport.
The NBA, the NFL and Major League Baseball each have their own issues which aren't adequately addressed by league hierachy.
But they play games.
At its most basic level, a sports league's primary function is to stage competition.
These stubborn dolts can't even accomplish that.
We still honestly believe there will be a 2012-13 season, even if it's only held during the 2013 calendar year. Based off the precedent of the shortened season of 1994-95 which didn't start until Jan. 20, there's still time to get a deal done.
But these are still the same flipping childish idiots who axed the 2004-05 campaign. They were stupid enough to do it once. What says they won't do it again?