Not much in the way of news lately as we await the next cancellation which is likely to be the Winter Classic, followed by the All-Star game. With the month of November down the drain, December 1st is a long way from now, but the next 30 days will go very quickly and unless the two sides start to sit down, nothing will happen. With the chaos created by Sandy, it’s understandable that many people may not be available to meet and that storm has presented a different kind of problem.
The way things stand right now, we continue to hear a bunch of posturing about how the players want to talk, and that the owners want to talk, but only when something is on the table worth talking about. Then of course you have the daily rants by agent Allan Walsh, who if nothing else must be commended for his persistence. But it probably stops there as his one-sided view now consist of a Twitter pissing match with TSN’s Darren Dreger. I fully respect Dreger’s analysis of any situation, and always find his information to be solid and trustworthy. On trade deadline day you all know that a trade isn’t official unless Darren Dreger says it is.
Elliotte Friedman also falls into this area of respectability for me. I have enjoyed hearing him on Hockey Night in Canada, and always look forward to his weekly column known as “30 Thoughts”. Wednesday however was one of his most interesting pieces as he wrote about the current stalemate of the CBA, including the negativity surrounding it. However he had two paragraphs that caught my eye, and should probably catch yours:
“The commish has three groups of owners: the ones who want to play; the ones in the middle, including Tampa and Nashville, who want a better collective bargaining agreement but recognize not playing is worse; and the hardliners. It would be a mistake to underestimate the last group. There are several who would rather cancel the season than accept a bad deal because they are hemorrhaging money and need immediate satisfaction.
While the players believe Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is calling the shots, an educated guess at the final group includes but may not be limited to Anaheim, Columbus, Florida, the Islanders, Phoenix, St. Louis, Washington and Dallas — enough to block any agreement from getting done (It’s tough to lock it down because owners are forbidden to discuss this stuff. Attempts to talk to a couple were politely shot down.”
When looking at that list four or five teams have been known to have struggled considerably lately when it comes to finances. We all know about the situation in Phoenix and where they stand, which despite their uncertainty, the players seem to be able to perform good enough to have made playoff appearances in the past two seasons. Credit the coaching of Dave Tippett for that. The Islanders have their issues, which ironically will now involve a new arena, and the Blue Jackets are suffering from poor management, bad free agent signings, and the inability to qualify for the playoffs except for one time in their existence.
The surprising team in the bunch is the Florida Panthers. While I am not going to butt heads with Elliotte, I am a bit taken back by the fact that the Panthers would be a team on this list. Coming off their first playoff appearance in a decade, and their first ever division championship, I find it hard to believe that they would want the entire season cancelled. I can understand that with less games played, no salary gets paid, etc, etc. We also know that there are a number of teams that have been losing money in the NHL over the past few seasons, and the Panthers have been one of them. This year however was a chance for them to potentially get out of that “rut”. With an increased fan base from locals that finally discovered hockey, and those that finally came back, the timing for a second consecutive “good” season was ripe for that taking.
However I can also see now where this may be heading. If we compare to last year, the only competition for Panthers was the Miami Heat. This year things seem to be slightly different. The Miami Dolphins seem to be much improved as their season is riding on the arm (or body) of a rookie quarterback who hopefully plays again soon. The Miami Heat is defending their championship and has added another star player in Ray Allen. Both of those things combined with a late start to the NHL season could be just enough for the fans on the fence to change their interests.
I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think Mr. Friedmann is too far off base here. He’s a very knowledgeable person in the media, and the longer this lockout goes, the more right his two paragraphs will end up looking.
For now, all we can do is wait. And that truly is the hardest part.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg, Kris Eberwein @RatTrickKris, Lori Carpenter @lmcangel13, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530. Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.