Monday, September 24, 2012

Thinking out loud

Some thoughts on the lockout.

One I posted on twitter earlier today.

I wonder that, if the lockout drags on, there will be a bunch of European star players that decide that they've had enough of the NHL (thinking specifically of Gary Bettman and the hard-line owners) and choose to play out their careers in Europe. If that happens, that could be really bad for the NHL. It's one thing to go to Europe to play and stay in shape for when the NHL starts up again, but it's another thing to defect to Europe for good.

Once we reach the point of the NHL cancelling regular season games, the NHL and the NHL owners have no credibility when they say that all games are important. If all games really were important, they'd would have worked towards settling this labor dispute before the September 15 deadline. We're not there yet (of course, this happened in 2004-05 and in 1994-95 also).

What type of message would it send to the league if fans flocked to NHL arenas to stage a protest for the cancelled preseason games (as in, fans show up, wearing their team's jerseys, but there isn't actually a game because it was cancelled)? What type of message would it send to the league if, when the league actually does return to action, fans boycott the respective Opening Day/Night games?

I really do think the front that Gary Bettman and the owners are putting on is not as solid as they make it out to be. Bettman is a lawyer. I really think he has a big ego that's helping to drive this. The owners are primarily businessmen. Businessmen who are in business to make money by their teams playing in hockey games which right now, are not going to happen. Bettman doesn't see that. He's in it to beat someone.

In the end, both sides have to compromise, or one side has to completely break down. NHL players are mostly playing in the AHL, Junior hockey, and in Europe. NHL owners don't have those options.

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