As you all know by now, the NHL has announced that it has canceled all games of the 2012-13 season through December 14th, along with the much anticipated All-Star weekend in Columbus.
That brings us up to 423 regular season games canceled thus far, including the Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. How much money has been lost thus far, too? Here are the status up to
Salary lost: $416,998,959.25
Days Lost in Regular Season: 45
Days since the Lockout: 71
By the time you read this, those numbers will probably have changed, which is absolutely unbelievable. However, with each day that passes, more and more players are becoming vocal about their opinions on the lockout at hand. The NHL and NHLPA will tell you that these players’ outbursts have nothing to do with the “progress” that the two sides have made, but it’s very clear that the players are getting just a frustrated as the fans at this point.
“(Bettman’s) the only guy in pro sports that likes lockouts. It’s ridiculous. The only people who have record revenue and try to cut everything from us are the owners. There needs to be a give-and-take. We’re willing to take less revenue. We’ll do a 50-50 split if they honor our contracts. That seems fair. When you sign a contract, you look the GM in the eye and you expect them to honor your contract.” – Jason Chimera, Washington Capitals
“I personally think (Gary Bettman’s) an idiot. Since he’s come in, he’s done nothing but damaged the game.” – Ian White, Detroit Red Wings
“It’s disappointing that the approach for Gary [Bettman] and the ownership group has been to make these hard dates and final offers and not budging and on and on. There’s no real answer to why except ‘We think we can lock you out and your careers are short and we can shake you down’. Not a good feeling.” – Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames
“The two sides are close enough to a deal that missing the bulk of a season is wrong and missing an entire season is not only insane, it is a blatant disregard for the sport, the fans and the culture we have grown over decades — just to satisfy egos, not the needs of either side.” – Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
“But not to be able to play, and for the fans, too – they pay our salaries, anyway. It’s not fair for fans not to have hockey right now.” – Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
And, let’s not forget our very own Sergei Kostitsyn: “Let’s put it this way – it would be better [for the players] if the lockout continues. Players want a definite answer. If the NHL season is lost – let it be that way. I would then play in Russia for the whole season.”
We could continue to add and add all of the players that have spoken publicly about the lockout, but it would make for one long, drawn-out blog post. It’s clear the players aren’t ready for another lockout, with the last one (in 04-05) still fresh on everyone’s minds.
The real losers here are both the franchise and city of Columbus. With an already struggling hockey market, the All-Star weekend was going to boost both the city’s economy and possibly push some life into the Blue Jackets’ sinking organization. And, to top it off, with Columbus losing their hosting duties at an All-Star game, the chance of Nashville hosting one in the near future will be pushed back as well.
Fans have also expressed their opinions on the lockout, with even a Flyers fan jumping at Commissioner Gary Bettman while leaving a meeting on Wednesday. To be honest, we are surprised it hasn’t happened earlier. So, the question is, how long will fans continue to let both the NHL and NHLPA drag the knife wound through their backs? The optimism is slowly but surely dying off, leaving just a heap of diehards clinging to the dagger. Even we are having a hard time keeping interest, as you can see our posts have been few to none.
How long will the NHL and NHLPA continue to drag the “supposed” season until they finally call it off for good? What good is a season that will start mid-December? We’d be happy for any hockey, championship-worthy or not, but even if the lockout ends tomorrow, the NHL is still the worst-run professional organization in the world. Bettman will still be the commissioner; Fehr will still be the executive director of the NHLPA. Will they just disagree once again and throw the league into another lockout?
Again, the optimism is fading fast and we’re pulling the dagger out at an alarming rate. Time to take notice, NHL.