The 2012-13 NHL season is now in serious jeopardy. For how long, and can the league recover? What do fans do while they wait.
Update 1pm: The NHLPA, instead of a written statement, has released this video
At 9am Sunday morning, the NHL issued the following statement:
"Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.
"Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum. While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League's economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players -- as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players' Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation -- not through rhetoric.
"This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans."
Several clubs have released their own individual statements. You can find these on the team's respective sites or through our Facebook page.
Well guess what? Ron MacLean's prophecy, that there would not be a lockout, did not come true. It's here!
So they had how long to realize that this contract expired at 11:59pm Saturday?
I mean these are highly educated. and highly paid businessmen and lawyers who are responsible for the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), not just your Joe Average fan.
What's their excuse? It's their full time job to represent their respective teams and union to get to business. Instead they procrastinate until the last minute and then act like selfish children. Donald Fehr picks up his puck and walks away, and Gary Bettman locks the door.
Instead of working on a deal through the season, the NHLPA and the NHL left it until late June to begin negotiating on a new deal.
There's the argument that management and player reps need to be made aware of all the information. You don't think that can be done in a world that practically runs on emails, texts, BBM, Skype and the like? It's absolute bullshit (sorry for the language) and totally unprofessional to the extent that players showed up in t-shirts and flip flops at the NHLPA's last press conference. Are they trying to show they are in the poorhouse? C'mon!
In the meantime player agents begin a feeding frenzy, as offers from European clubs begin to roll in. Allan Walsh is of course spearheading the campaign on Twitter. Yes he has to protect the needs of his clients, but he clearly is demonstrating that it's all about da money. It seems the agents know this will be a long-term situation, otherwise they wouldn't be jumping the gun so swiftly.
Who gets hurt in the end? The "greatest fans in the world", the workers at the arenas around the league and the surrounding businesses who rely on revenues (that they don't necessarily share or even keep) from the season.
Fans came back after the lockout and the "new" NHL. Will they be suckered back again? Will they buy the mass marketed items with their favorite team logos on it even more? Time will tell.
They certainly didn't seem to have any hope on Saturday, as planned protests in New York and Montreal drew little to no attendance. Hockey fans aren't stupid, so why waste a Saturday afternoon to fix something that won't be fixed in less than 12 hours, let alone two and a half months.
It's highly doubtful there will be any injunctions from the Federal government on this either folks. It's not like an airline, where air travel can be deemed an essential service. As much a hockey fan Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is, he's not going to impose legislation and waste tax dollars
The season is not dead, but it's not alive either right now, so for now we have to just sit and wait it out. Will the two parties suddenly coming to their senses and the season starts on time? Do we wait until December? January, or not at at all for 2012-13. Personally I think we're looking at the latter of those options.
In the meantime, there's lots to do of course, as the lockout progresses. The last time we saw a surge in pro poker television coverage, which spiked in popularity and may have led to a huge increase in personal debt and memberships with Gamblers Anonymous. I'm not speaking from experience there, but let's pass on that.
Here at EOTP, when not playing NHL13 and imagining what could have been, we will focus more on the Hamlilton Bulldogs and AHL coverage. Chris Ives and Justin Dahan and myself will be our team in that department as a flux of players are expected to get sent down.
We'll also continue to keep tabs on Habs players, wherever they are playing. Andrew will be completing his player review/previews to keep you informed on the team for whenever they return to the Bell Centre.
Be it you are optimistic or pessimistic on a season, you're always free to share your views here. For those royally frustrated with what's happened, I may have some fun planned for you so stay tuned!
Who do you side with?
The NHL (4 votes)
The NHLPA (19 votes)
They're both a bunch of greedy millionaires/billionaires (36 votes)
59 total votes