The NHL Lockout
Wow, the first pro-sport to cancel an entire season, not the type of first you want to attach your name to is it? You never find anything to be proud of for these types of firsts. As a fan, its down right discouraging. I still don't see it as any worse then baseball though. Sure back in 94 they played most of the season, but they cancelled their playoffs which is the most important part of any game. If you don't have that then the season is pointless. Either way, if baseball teaches us anything, its that hockey is likely going to suffer because of this lockout.
Life has sadly went on without hockey. At first I thought it wouldn't, I thought it would magically just halt and an agreement would work out. It didn't happen though. I was left with a winter without my passion. Saturday nights were not the same this year, no Hockey Night in Canada, no Leaf games, no Don Cherry and no gambling. The one thing good that came out of this lockout was I finally understand what the big deal about football is. Its a great sport, great for satisfying my gambling needs and almost a sufficient replacement for hockey. Almost. It still lacks certain qualities that only hockey can bring. First, it is only 2 days a week for the most part, neither of which is Saturday night hockey, it also ends too early. There’s nothing for me when football ends until baseball starts up. 2nd its simply not hockey, not the sport I have grown a passion for that spans my entire life.
Who is to blame for millions of fans disappointment? Many point their fingers at Bettman, and many point their fingers at the players. I don't put fault more on either side. Not for the lockout and all the rejected proposals anyways. I do sort of side with the players though. It is the owners fault they make the money that they do, after all they could have said no to the demands they made. That is where I realized, it comes down to the team I love where the problem comes in. The richer teams can afford to pay players the big bucks and did, not caring who was worth the money they forked out. Plain and simple that these owners over paid for the players and are the ones to blame right? Wrong. They aren't the reason we have a lockout. If all the teams were rich then we would have no problem. As much as I enjoy the league with the 30 teams, the ones who can't afford to be there shouldn't be there. All this salary cap and revenue sharing crap is just that, crap. If Wal-Mart can't afford to keep things as cheap as Sears, do they stop working and negotiate a price cap on how much they sell items for? No! They are competing against each other just like NHL franchises are competing against one another. If you can't compete you go bankrupt and fold.
What saved Baseball? Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa, and their record chasing homerun races. There does seem to be an answer to hockey’s savoir if and when it returns. As if their wasn't enough pressure on Sidney Crosby being proclaimed the next Gretzky, now the fate of the game may rest on his shoulders once the game returns. We need him to put up numbers similar to Gretzky and Lemieux more then ever before. Not just because people think he can, but because we are going to need to put an interest back in the sport. That’s a lot to put on a young kids shoulders, but sadly it may just have come to that. Resting the fate of the game on an 18 year olds shoulders.
Friday February 19, 2005:
GAME ON... MAYBE...
The NHL season is expected to be "un-canceled" Saturday in New York.
A player close to the talks who asked to remain anonymous told The Hockey News the two sides have agreed to a deal in principle that features a $45-million salary cap. Asked if there was any way a deal won't get done, the player said,
"not that I can see. I couldn't possibly imagine the idea that somebody is going to try to make a name for themselves in the last minute here."
Following two days of media speculation that backroom talks between players and owners were taking place in an attempt to "un-cancel" the 2004-05 season, the NHL Players' Association issued a press release Friday night confirming it would be meeting with the league in New York on Saturday. If the two sides are as close as expected, an agreement in principle could be made public tomorrow.
Executive Director, NHLPA
Former Detroit corporate and labour lawyer joined NHLPA in 1992.
VP, Chief Legal Officer, NHL
Bettman's right hand man helps negotiate major issues and handles the media.
Chairman, NHL Board of Governors
Flames' governor is the voice for the owners in labour negotiations.