Maybe it was the growing anger from the fan base.
Maybe it was the belief that the players weren't going to crack, at least not before another season was lost.
Maybe there was enough dissatisfaction within the ownership group as a second season in eight years seemed to be slipping away.
Or maybe it was just time for some common sense to enter a situation that had been entirely lacking from the outset.
The motivation is moot, so even the most cynical of observers have to credit the National Hockey League for taking what can only be viewed as a bold and potentially decisive step toward ending the month-old lockout and likely saving the 2012-13 season in its entirety.
The surprise offer delivered by the league to the players in Toronto Tuesday would see the players' share of hockey-related revenues drop from 57 percent to the 50-50 split observers have predicted would be the final settling place in a new labor deal.