NHL Lockout – Please Stand By..
This weekend was “D-Day” for hockey fans.Â It was made official:Â the NHL is in a lockout.Â Instead of seeing the players of the NHL gear up to hit the ice, they will be going into a 3rd lockout in just 18 years.Â The most recent NHL lockout was not too long ago in 2004, which not only devastated the fans, but in my opinion almost ruined the league itself – shutting down for an entire season.Â At least the lockout in the 90′s was only for a few monthsâ€™ time.Â What is all this NHL lockout hoopla about anyways?Â I imagine most of you won’t be terribly shocked when I say – money.Â When is money not the center of a controversy, especially in sports (see NBA and NFL lockouts).Â The owners want to cut the playersâ€™ salaries from 57% of league revenues to about 46%, and to drop the salary cap from the now $70.2 million to $58 million.Â As well, the league wants to reduce playerâ€™s contracts from giant upfront long term ones and limit them to only 5-6 year deals (cough Sidney Crosby and his 12-year $104.4 million deal starting in 2013-14 cough). This is a huge change, and has been in the dealings for months now with no agreement.Â The most recent talks over the last few weeks and days amounted to nothing, leaving us here baring witness to yet again, another lockout.
So, if we’re being honest;Â it shouldn’t be terribly bad for the home viewer right away.Â The regular season is not expected to start until October 11, leaving about a little under a month to deliberate and get settled on any agreement.Â If anything would be greatly effected it would be the training camps, which are scheduled to begin around Sept 21.Â Around here at the FansEdge building there has been much conjecture as to what exactly will unfold.Â Many co-workers seem to say the NHL lockout will only run a few more weeks over the Sept 15 deadline, with some saying at the very latest, by the end of the year.Â No one seemed to have faith that a lockout would be avoided, the only question now is, for how long will it last?
My perspective is that the NHL and Gary Bettman (the commissioner of the National Hockey League) need to realize how terrible a lockout is for the league.Â After the lockout in 2004 until now, the league grew tremendously.Â Without having exact numbers at my fingertips, it is undeniable to dispute the increase in dollars and viewership over these last few years the NHL has acquired.Â To now have another extended lockout, for however long it is, would destroy any progress theyâ€™ve made on becoming a popular league.
For now, we can only hope and cross our fingers that the lockout wont drag on for longer than it should, and we get to see our favorite players back on the ice.