A second lockout in 7 years. I think this thing either gets resolved in a couple of weeks and the season starts about on schedule or, and this is sadly what I think is more likely, the NHL is done.
I don't think fans are going to put up with this. No other sport has the kinds of labor issues the NHL has. Admittedly, the NBA has had a pair of lockouts since the late '90s, but never have they lost an entire season. Baseball hasn't lost a single game to a strike or a lockout since 1994. The NFL had its first labor strife in over two decades last year, but still managed to get it taken care of before the season was to start. For the NHL, this is the 3rd time since 1994 that the owners have collectively decided to lock the players out. The first time, when half of the 1994-95 season was lost, the league had trouble coming back and never achieved the same level of success that it had before. We all know that since the 2004-05 season was cancelled, the NHL has grown immensely in popularity, but that hasn't caused the greedy owners and players from once again fighting with each other over how to split the money.
I for one am sick of this crap. (Keep reading after the break…)
If the owners are really losing money, then quite frankly, they should stop giving so damn much of it to the players. No one is making the Nashville Predators or Minnesota Wild pay over $100 million to individual players over 12- and 14-year deals. If you cannot afford those contracts and will not make enough money at the gate to pay them out, then you should not be signing them. That is not how you run a business.
As for the players, I am so tired of hearing the company line of "We're fighting for our futures. How would you like it if your employer cut your salary by 24%?" It's not a legitimate analogy because I don't get paid hundreds of thousands or multiple millions of dollars a year to play a game. I get paid $21-50 an hour to do legal work, depending on who I'm working for this particular week. And if they wanted to cut my salary back, you know what, I would just have to accept that (or quit and hope someone else would pay me better) because in the real world we don't get to just stop working and have millions of dollars saved up. So cut the shit, you are all very rich 1-percenters, and none of us feels sorry for you (those of us who can think, anyway).
So continue on with your labor strife and see if anyone really cares. Oh, for sure I'll miss watching the Kings celebrate their Stanley Cup Championship and parading around the league as champs, but I'm sure I'll find other ways to spend my time. Everyone will find other ways to spend their time. The NHL may have grown a lot, but the fact is it's still the least popular of the major North American sports. It's actually pretty irrelevant. Remember when the NFL locked out last year and the federal government got involved with mediators and such to make sure they got their negotiations on track? Heard anything about the Obama administration stepping in to make sure the NHL works things out quickly? Me either. Because not that many people really care. And the longer this stupid shit goes on, the less they are going to care. The more time those rinks stay dark, the farther and farther the NHL slips into obscurity.
Let it go until January so we lose the Winter Classic and see if anyone really notices. Let it go until April so nobody is playing for the Stanley Cup again next spring and let's find out how many people pay attention, or are instead just watching the NBA playoffs. Even if they were to come back in 2013-14, what percent of the viewers will too? What's the point of all this fighting if you only decrease the size of the pie you're fighting over?
No league that carries on like this deserves to continue to exist. The owners want us to believe the NHL can't continue to exist with its current economic structuring. I don't think it can continue to exist period at this point.
Some teams will carry on and form a new league, I'm sure, but if this thing goes past Thanksgiving, I think the NHL as we currently know it is toast.
I joked that the Kings winning the Stanley Cup might be a sign of the Apocalypse. Little did I know…
At least when the NHL drove itself out of existence, it did so with the LA Kings reigning forever as the Stanley Cup Champions. I just wish I'd gotten to see their dynasty.