Saturday, September 15, 2012

On the Topic Of the NHL Lockout

The lockout is coming.

That isn't news to anyone and shouldn't be news to anyone.

While the NHL says they were ready to meet at the All-Star break, the talks didn't start until July. They did meet frequently at least, giving hope to the hopeless-- then dashing those hopes when they had their press conferences when the meetings were over.

The bitterness and vitriol the fans will spew is going to be heightened as the social media movement is one that will ultimately show its worth in this work stoppage. They have began protesting outside the NHL Store in New York and maybe it could spread. And while they do have a right to do it-- it does bring out the worst in people; both attitude wise and in dealing with them when they're steadfast in their opinion and nothing will make them let up from it. Though, the overly pessimistic attitude is something that is a sign of the times in every aspect of life.

You can see the player's side of it-- they don't want to have their money taken away from them, especially since they feel they earned the contracts and shouldn't have it taken away from them. Sure, most of them will have plenty left over and will get a lot for their next contract for playing the game they love-- but it's the principle behind it that makes them fight and gets people on their side. My brother-in-arms Jonny P made a great point about how Fehr was going to be a tough negotiator and there would have been trouble when the NHLPA brought him onboard in the first place.

The owners are always in the wrong and there's few people who will defend them. I, for one, can see their side of it a lot more than I can see it from the player's side of it. The owners want to protect their investment. Sure, them giving insane contract because of "market value" isn't the smartest idea when trying to defend their point, but you have to give your team the best chance to win. Plus, to be in the position the owners are in, they had to take risks and that's how they made their billions and allowed them to actually have the money to own their teams.

Derek Zona wrote a piece about how much the owners are worth. One can assume it's to show that no one should support the owners because they aren't like the common man due to their riches. However, they had to work their way up the ladder in order to be in a position to make the money they did-- and they did a lot of things that maybe the common person would love to do: have financial freedom, be their own boss, own their own sports team. Let's be honest-- how many owners have actually made their fortunes from owning a sports team?? Plus, you can say that the investment in the NHL is a fool's bet-- if it wasn't, the Coyotes would have had an owner three years ago and we wouldn't have the amount of franchises changing owners as we have seen in the past two decades.

On top of that, when you hear many teams would lose less money without a season than with a season-- shows that the economic nature isn't the best in the world. Whether that means new owners are needed, less teams are needed, or whatever-- it seems that some people pass over that point. Not to mention, the owners have their hands in other things as well, which means they'll still make some money while the NHL is locked out.

No one will look good at the end of this. Owners are already hated, regardless of what they do. Players will get plenty of people on their side, but as things wear on-- they could lose some support depending on what they say and do while being locked out. The fans suffer, the arena staff suffers, writers suffer, the industry of the NHL suffers.

The game of hockey will only suffer due to its main league being out. Yet, it will continue to live on that the minor league, junior, and college teams would love for you to spend your entertainment dollar there. That's why I've done my "Better Know A League" series in order to enlighten people who may think the NHL is the only game in town. It'd be great for the health of the game if the lower leagues were supported and when the NHL comes back--maybe fans will be more inclined to go to a minor league game rather than NHL games-- which will really show the owners what you can do with your money and your choice.

And even with the lockout-- it could be a good thing for fans. Buddy Oakes at Preds on the Glass has a spectacular piece about how the lockout could be a good thing for some fans and how the last one was a good one for him personally. That's a kind of story you'll start to see if this lockout drags on for any amount of time. We all want the NHL to come back quickly, but a break from it all may not be the worst for some people out there.

In the end, the NHL will be back. People will go back to it, though it might be a little thinner than it once was. It's times like these where you can really tell that sports isn't about a game anymore-- it's a business.

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