Thursday, September 27, 2012

0 NHL cancels preseason, makes Justin mad

By Justin Koehn

Another league, another season, another lockout. With the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA expired, the league today has announced the remainder of the preseason will be canceled. While they claim talks have been ongoing "around the clock," there doesn't seem to be much progress occurring on either side of the fence. 

With the regular season set to start on October 11th, the window to getting a deal in place before threatening to cancel the start of the 2012-2013 season is closing in fast. The NHL has been picking up a larger fan base over the last few years, and this latest debacle could very well pour water over the fire of a sport that has always been followed by a smaller audience in the states compared to other professional leagues such as the NFL and MLB. They have suffered their share of lockouts lately too, most recently with the NFL referees. After watching the Seahawks and Packers game, we all know how that turned out. A short time later the NFL announces a deal has been reached. Why can't the NHL and NHLPA work at this speed when there is a sense of urgency? My thought is they do not feel the urgency yet. Paychecks will still be flowing for a few weeks, as well as benefits. Will they move quicker to reach a deal once it starts hurting them in their pockets? Perhaps, but it won't come without hurting those who really matter: The Fans.

As said before, the league has just started to build a larger fan base with games on the national TV market, gaining major airtime on NBC and the NBC Sports Network including coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs as well as once-a-year games like the Winter Classic. This latest lockout becomes the fourth stoppage since 1992 for the NHL. I can only imagine this time around the fans are finally going to get to the point of fed up and finally call it quits.

No agreement, no games, no revenue, no fans. Nothing good can come from this unless an agreement is reached, and soon. Only time will tell how this one will play out, so as we get closer to the regular season schedule I hope the two sides can get a deal inked. If we could only know now what the final deal would end up being so we could pass that information along and get the contracts signed and get to playing hockey.

NHL Defenseman Barry Beck (1977-1990 with LA Kings, NY Rangers, Colorado Rockies) once said, "We only have one person to blame, and that's each other."

This quote summarizes the entire situation between the NHL and NHLPA. Quit pointing fingers, quit the whining, grab your stick, drop the puck, and LET'S PLAY SOME HOCKEY!

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