Here we are with November under way and the only excitement these next 30 days appear to be bringing, will be the mustache’s that the male population will sport for the annual Movember cause. Instead of 10 or so hockey games under NHL teams’ belts, each one sits not only even in record, but with seemingly less and less chance of having any games played this season. Not trying to be “Debbie Downer” here, but if the Winter Classic is cancelled, or maybe by the time you read this it already has, the balance of the season won’t be far behind.
The Winter Classic in the past few seasons has become the showcase game for the NHL, giving fans all across North America, and even Europe, an opportunity to see the beauty, grace, and charisma that hockey brings. Those of us who already know that, anticipate the game as though it’s another unwrapped Christmas present waiting under our tree. Your entire day is devoted to the build up which includes pre-game coverage, a look back at the previous season’s matchup, and of course the game itself. When this game doesn’t happen the damage to the NHL could be devastating. Too strong of a word? Think about the ramifications of not playing this game. Read the rest of this entry
Just our luck. We launch a new site with the confidence to go out on our own, and the NHL has a lockout. Not that we didn’t know that was potentially possible, but like you, we came into this new site and new season with great enthusiasm and excitement. Our hopes and dreams of watching the Florida Panthers defend their division championship have been put on hold, as we continue to find ways to keep the articles interesting for you our loyal readers. The ten minutes of the above video shows the frustration on Gary Bettman’s face, and that maybe he too thinks this will drag on for a long time.
Loving to write as much as we do, it’s difficult to write about hockey during the presence of a lockout. How many times can I, or any of the other writers tell you that there was a meeting to schedule a meeting, which resulted in more meetings, which lead to…….well……nothing. There are many other places to find the exact details of what’s been going on between the two sides, although I do feel it is our duty to give our opinion on the matter, it becomes a chore sometimes. We can analyze what we think we know, and provide what is hopefully a balanced opinion, but in the end, it gets monotonous. I would much rather be writing pre game posts, and reading post game writeups than what we are doing currently. It’s no fun.
One has to wonder who gets the credit for ending the lockout should it be settled. Is it Gary Bettman, who in the eyes of many may have blinked first, or will it be Donald Fehr who played a “rope a dope” style of negotiating to get the league to come back wtih something that may have been there all along? Also, let’s not forget the public reaction as this new deal was put on the table Tuesday which appeared very short of jubilation across many parts. My cell phone was lighting up like a christmas tree all afternoon as many of us hoped that the end was near. Or at least close.
Was it pressure from the owners, some of who may not have been 100% behind Bettman and Daly’s hard stance? Was there pressure from NBC who invested a gazzilion dollars to showcase the most exciting game on the planet? Or did the league realize that their intial deal was embarrasing, and took this an opportunity to redeem itself, and now put all the pressure squarely on the players union?
The proposal while handsomely better than where the two sides stood before, isn’t exactly a pot of gold for the players, but in the eyes of many, they would be scorned forever if this offer isn’t accepted. While a 50/50 revenue split seems fair, for the players there’s still a gap of about $200 million, but hey what’s a few dollars amongst friends. The deal also puts a cap of five years on player contracts, entry level deals are shortened by two years, free agency eligibility is at 28 years old, or eight years of service, and arbitration rights stand pat. Seems like an offer that can’t be refused right? I would suppose that after losing their first paycheck some players may feel that way, and in the spirit of this whole fiasco, by resolving the lockout by October 25th, the season can begin on November 2nd. In full. No one loses pay, all 82 games are played, we get the Winter Classic, HBO 24/7, and the Florida Panthers are able to defend their first ever division title without an asterisk. Just like the Los Angeles Kings get to defend their Stanley Cup Championship in the same way. But is that really the thing to do? For the union to accept this offer regardless of countering isn’t smart by any means, and how could this be done without some sort of vote from the players themselves?
As we enter the eve of day six of the NHL Lockout, it is being reported that the league (NHL) is seriously considering cancelling the Winter Classic in November as a negotiating tactic. The news reported in the Toronto Star by Kevin McGran, certainly comes as a shock to players, fans, and many others in and around the hockey world. What is more shocking is the fact that the two sides haven’t held formal meetings for days, and that apparently Gary Bettman feels that by pulling the game, the players would not be able to use it as leverage to force a settlement.