|Screen capture courtesy of NHL.com|
Kind of appropriate that the NHL shield appears in black on the NHL.com homepage.
The deadline is here, and what is the NHL doing to ensure that the fans have something to watch this season?
|Screen capture courtesy of NHL.com|
There was absolutely no sense of urgency from the owners to get to the table. I'm convinced that this lockout was going to happen all along. The summer did nothing to enhance my belief that there would be hockey this year. Gary Bettman announced during the Stanley Cup Finals that he was confident that there would be progress during the summer and that a deal would be reached to prevent a lockout. Bull shit.
I read an article on Yahoo! sports earlier this week in which an agent speculated that this lockout may last 18 months! I'm so fed up now with the NHL that they could lock the players out for the next 18 years and it wouldn't bother me. Yes, that is anger talking, but I'm so fed up that part of it is actually the truth.
The league finally gained some steam over the past few years, and has gained market share and revenue way beyond the dreams of anyone involved in the league. So what do the owners do? Cry poor and say that there are several teams that are losing money. Why wasn't this fixed the last time? Because the owners panicked when the players called their bluff. The players moved on to other leagues and endeavors, and watched as the fan's opinion of what was happening quickly move to their side. The owners took a deal that led to "cost certainty", but so many loopholes were in the salary cap structure that the rich teams just wound up outspending the poor teams again, and buried their mistakes in the minors without penalty.
Honestly, yes I am very upset that my favorite sport, my passion since I was a 5 year old boy is being taken away from me again. Yes, I may cheer for a team that hasn't won a Stanley Cup since 5 months before I was born, but it doesn't matter. I enjoy watching the Leafs as often as I can. It's akin to a car wreck on the Interstate, you don't want to look, but you just can't help yourself.
I don't see the sense in a 3rd work stoppage in less than 20 years. It makes the NHL look bush league.
This will also be the 3rd work stoppage since Gary Bettman became commissioner. Here is the NHL's legacy as far as games missed by league due to work stoppages since 1992.
|Screen capture courtesy of cbssports.com|
MLB's work stoppage in 94-95 cost the sport a World Series, and put a crippling blow to the national pastime that took years for them to dig out of. The NBA lockouts wiped out a good portion of the 98-99 and 11-12 seasons.
Notice the NFL. Not one work stoppage in the past 20 years. It is a juggernaut that is not going to be overtaken any time soon.
The graph shows that none of the other 3 major sports leagues have lost as much time (or money) as the NHL has. The league is on the verge of another breakdown, largely because the league has expanded/moved into places that it shouldn't have, and trying way too hard to create a fan base that just isn't there. The league has moved into places where it had absolutely no chance of making any money. The league has created an environment where taking in a game is way to costly. The last game that I attended (at least a game that I had to pay for my ticket) was 2 years ago. The seat I had in the old Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh cost me $105. I couldn't see the scoreboard without ducking my head. We weren't even on the lowest level of the arena. Really?
I hope and I pray that I will see NHL hockey this season, but I fear that I will not. Again.
This time, I have a feeling that there will be a lot of fans that will be singing this song to the NHL if this season is lost.
Say good bye, indeed.
Thank you for reading, and God Bless to those people whose families are affected by this insanity of a lockout.