How well I'm known.......
Seriously, I agree with Fletch. I think that one of the main reasons for this, is for Bettman to pursue the impasse. Which, if implmented will allow scabs (something that will ultimately backfire on Bettman, IMO). The other reason, is while it is not quite as dramatic as Dedalus makes it out to be, but yes, I do believe that the owners are beginning to feel it. No, I would not characterize them as desperate, however franchises ARE loosing value. And with that comes loss of sponsorships and failure to sell season tickets and luxury boxes. I do not think that the owners planned on the possibility of having to try to sell season tickets and luxury boxes for scab hockey.
I think the owners' position is such: they will go with scabs at worst in October if there isn't an agreement reached. They will look for an impasse, as they will not come anywhere near an offer that the players will like. If the players want to come back, it will be on very bad terms as revenues will sink dramatically next season (they're worried about what happens to season ticket subscriptions if there's no draft - imagine if there's no players!).
My thought if I'm the players is I watch this plan fail. Unfortunately they'll have to sit out perhaps another year because the owners have a warchest to keep going for a bit. But further, if I'm the players, I hope that some owners (Rangers, Wings, Toronto, and others) start making a stink as their arenas are near empty (and the balance isn't made up of season ticket holders who aren't attending) and the revenues are significantly off.
If I'm the owners, I go with the scab plan and hope the players crack and come crawling back and go with what will then look like a real crappy deal compared to what they could've gotten in February. At this point, the owners need that plan.
If I'm an indpendent analyst, I say hockey's basically dead. The owners can hold out another year if the big clubs don't make a lot of noise. But it will be a disaster. Sponsorhip will be minimal without marquee names to market. Imagine, Colorado/Dallas, friday night, and you're not saying Sakic, Forsberg, or Modano. Imagine no Heatley or Kovalchuk in Atlanta - that translates into zero attendance. Imagine no Lecavalier or St. Louis in Tampa. It'll be a disaster. Players will feel like they've won, but owners won't budge.