Sunday, January 06, 2013

NHL Lockout Over; Now What??

Alright, well, the NHL Lockout is over.

What does that mean?? Well, plenty.

In a 50 (or 48) game season, it'll be a big rush for them to get to the playoffs. If a team gets on an extended losing streak, it could be curtains for their playoff hopes. These games will benefit teams who had a lot of players playing in the AHL or Europe because they won't have to shake off the rust. On top of that, it'll show how good the condition is, which means we could have a lot of injuries because of the short season.

Even before that, when the CBA is ratified; it'll be a rush for trades and signing free agents, especially restricted ones. It'll be a chance to see who gets bought-out for the 2013-14 season and to see if there's going to be quick chemistry between the new free agents with their teams in a short season.

The biggest things is whether the fans will come back or not. You see a lot of people who have mixed emotions on social media, many saying they won't come back. While I think the hyperbole of some is a little extreme, there's going to be some who have their interest of the NHL drop off because of this and that's to be expected. However, you can take the fan out of hockey, but you can't take hockey out of the fan. Most people will come back in some way, shape, or form, thus ending their arbitrary stand-off with the NHL.

How the NHL gets fans back will be interesting to see. While the NHL itself doesn't have the ruling power to dictate ticket prices or concession prices, they will need to somehow make the game a little more accessible, maybe urge the member teams to do something in order to get people back in the seats. Rumors of free Center Ice could be a good start, but who knows how likely that is.

The NHL is back. That's really all that matters. The battles can happen on the ice rather than off.

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