Greetings Caniacs! As the lockout continues my frustration grows. For the NHL and the NHLPA wanting to get a deal done as quickly as possible, they sure like to drag their feet. The only thing that is moving quickly is our beloved NHL players! They are choosing to punch their ticket to play overseas instead of sitting in some conference room in New York City thinking of a new proposal that will get slammed by the NHL.
I have gone back and forth on my support for both parties involved. I agree with both sides on several of the key negotiation topics. It takes a lot of time and patience to fully understand the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). With that being said, both parties are guilty for not starting negotiations prior to 1 July. After all, the NHL should have smelt something funny after the NHLPA dismissed the projected NHL re-alignment for this year when the NHL went public last season on what the conference realignment would be for the 2012-13 season.
Both the NHL and NHLPA are digging in for what appears to be a lengthy lockout. Many hockey writers who are educated in the CBA have all pointed at their calendars for a deal being done just prior to the Winter Classic (which will be played at the Big House in Ann Arbor Michigan on January 1st ). It does make sense that the Winter Classic would be the breaking point for a season being played at all. If they were to start on or around that date, they could still squeak in a 48 to 54 game schedule. Along with a condensed schedule, the owners would still get their lucrative earnings from NBC and the additional revenue that the classic brings in. So with the Owners being stubborn on revenue sharing and the NHLPA holding their ground where do the Caniacs fit in this ever growing soap opera? It is quite simple, In the Penalty Box! Season tickets were at an all-time high this year. All of the hope that had surrounded Jordan Staal, along with Alexander Semin’s arrival in the capital city doesn’t matter now. Even the excitement of the Hurricanes starting the year with Kirk Muller is overshadowed by the gloom that surrounds the doors which are locked to all of us.
As pre-season games are already being cancelled, so are the hopes of many Caniacs in seeing our Hurricanes in action this fall. Regardless of which party you are siding with there is one thing we all have in common, we are all being penalized for a lucrative business being poorly managed. It happened in the 90’s, it happened in 2004, and it is happening now. Will this be the year that the NHL finally figures it out? A better question is will they figure it out in time for there to be a season?