Neither side is "at fault." Respectfully, that is a somewhat naive question. This is a very basic, common collective bargaining agreement process between management which wishes to curtail spending and optimize profits, and a union seeking to protect its members' earning power.
The owners are at fault for the current situation.
However, the players need to accept that they've been living in the catbird seat with the prior CBA and need to make a lot more concessions than the owners do in hammering out a new deal if the league is to survive. They basically acknowledged this with their offer last week.
Where's the option for "both"? Neither party are innocent. Both need to wake up and address the disease before it kills the patient.
Guilty of what? Looking out for their own best business interests?
Not putting "the fans' interest" first?
They (owners, players) are in business. We simply pay for the entertainment. And, the hyperbole of the media, which is swallowed hook, line and sinker by some fans notwithstanding, eventually, the NHL will be back in business.
Sorry, "kill the patient," "the league is finished", etc. is such melodrama. This is a CBA negotiation, nothing more or less.
The owners have admitted to this system not working and really are serious about fixing it so it does work. NHLPA is worried about getting public opinion on their side with the big rollback in salary. But anyone who looks at the proposal can see it doesn't do anything long term. The salaries will be right back where they are now.
Owners know they caved in 94 and they aren't doing it now. The players system doesn't work. They know something has to be in place so that it gets better, not worse like it would with the players plan.
I'd rather wait and get the system fixed than to see this happen again in a few years.