Saturday, November 3, 2012

0 NHL cancels Winter Classic and completely ruins Jan. 1

By Justin Koehn

With this game being one of the most important games in the NHL season, why not go ahead and cancel it!?! I have been looking forward to this game since it was announced it would take place in Ann Arbor at one of the most glorious stadiums ever conceived.

You have the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs in an Original 6 rivalry game set in a freaking huge stadium, with solid national coverage that even the casual channel switcher would stop to watch. This game alone is a spectacle that must be seen. Sometimes it is snowy, sometimes it is sunny, but it is always an incredible game that brings hockey back to its roots. Outside, out of the arena, and into an entirely new category of must-see games.

I've tried not to make this sound like too much fun though, as it's been cancelled, as well as the regular season through Nov. 30. Will they cancel more games? Yes. Why not!

The ongoing battle between the NHL and NHLPA has no reason to continue talks at a brisk pace at this point in my opinion. Why would they? They have already wiped out over a quarter of the season, as well as dragged on long enough to make the reality of a full 82 game season a thing that couldn't happen.

I truly believe this time around, the casual fan isn't going to hang on for the two sides to resolve their differences though. Die hard fans like myself will stick around, even if it takes watching Stanley Cup Finals from 2006 on the NHL Network (which I did today, spoiler alert: Carolina still wins).

I would bet a dollar the "hey look there is a hockey game on" fan will be long gone well after this CBA is reached. Why would they stick around for a league that has lockouts more often than Tyler Perry releases a movie?!? They won't. NHL, you can kiss these people goodbye.

As for me, as much as it pains me to say, I will always be a dedicated hockey fan, through thick and thin. I will be there on game 1, game 82, and the Stanley Cup Final when Lord Stanley's Cup is held high above the ice in glory. I didn't miss one Predators game last season, whether it be on tv, or I was there chanting along with Cellblock 303 (http://www.section303.com).

What I am worried about most is the casual fan. I already think this year will be scrapped. What's the point now? It's hard to argue the NHL is the smallest major pro sports league in the United States. A complete season cancellation will not help that one bit. Lets just hope the small market teams can make it through a season with no revenue. This not only hurts the fans, it hurts the local businesses as well.

Lets just end this thing now and drop the puck. I'm tired of watching highlights and games that are ten years old. I know Patrick Roy has one heck of a glove save. He's one of my favorite goalies of all time. I've seen the highlight reels. I want to see current highlight reels. I want to see Pekke Rinne making a crazy save, Shea Weber sinking one from the blue line, or Brian Mcgrattan slamming some unsuspecting winger into the boards.

I've also seen what a lockout can do to a league. Nothing good can come from it. Prepare to be growing your "Movember" beard for a while as you may not be able to make use of it until the playoffs in 2014.

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