2012 NHL Lockout: "A Message to Our Fans" Not Enough, Another Let Down

Suraj Sukumar@Sukumar_S87Correspondent IISeptember 16, 2012

Two fans voice NHL fans' concerns over the continued 2012 NHL lockout
Two fans voice NHL fans' concerns over the continued 2012 NHL lockoutBrian Bahr/Getty Images

Prior to the September 15 NHL lockout deadline, the article "5 Reasons for a New CBA Deal Before the September 15th Lockout Deadline" was released on Bleacher Report to understand the importance of re-negotiating the current deal between the NHL and NHLPA. 

Sadly, it did not happen, and the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement has officially ended without a new deal in place, again.

The NHL released "A Message to Our Fans" on Sunday morning after the CBA expired. 

But is that enough?

The start of the season is still cloudy as ever, and the time has come for all parties involved to prepare for the second NHL lockout in eight years. Seems like only yesterday the Canadian Hockey League was like the new NHL, and finding Russian hockey games on television or the Internet was harder than beating Usain Bolt in a foot race.

Seriously, it was that difficult.

Alas, here we go again. 

Who's to blame? Is it the NHL, the NHLPA, or a combination of the two?

It really shouldn't matter, and this is why. 




The Problem

The NHL is a business, filled with very high-paid employees and, needless to say, overpaid executives.

When the time comes for discussing the "financial" aspects, both parties, meaning the league and the player's association, are going to fight for every possible penny, because that's just good business. 

However, when the needs of both parties reach an unsustainable level, it becomes bad business, because it starts to affect the business itself. 

No labour = no production; no production = no profit or revenue; and no profit or revenue = bad business.

That's about all the economics the average person needs to understand going forward, at least in regard to the NHL.  

They are fighting for the money after all.

While the NHL will obviously not lose its employees, it would have been nice to see a much stronger effort from both the NHL and NHLPA to get this issue resolved before the deadline. 

It seems, however, that both parties are willing to sit on the millions they've already made and take their time to discuss how they want to split future millions. If you haven't wondered why Gary Bettman has deserved approximately $8 million in the past, please start now.



So much for considering the fans and other people who make a living off the NHL. Now, for the second time in only eight NHL seasons, the league is on the verge of another cancelled season. 

In comparison to other North American professional sports leagues lockouts, the NHL resembles the ugly duckling from the Hans Christian Andersen classic fairy tale—the NFL resumed play on time last year, avoiding a lockout altogether, while the NBA season eventually began on Christmas instead of November 1. 

Hopefully the NHL can experience the same blossoming effect as the duckling in the fairy tale and turn into the beautiful swan it wants to be, but that doesn't seem likely in the near future.  


 The Consequences

For one, players will begin to find new places to play. 

According to the Globe and Mail, Ottawa defenceman Sergei Gonchar and Pittsburgh centre Evgeni Malkin have already signed with KHL team Metallurg today.

With the reigning league MVP taking his chances overseas, is it possible other great NHL players will follow?


Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan has openly stated that he will not leave North America to place elsewhere. According to Sportsnet, Ryan stated that "I know you'll lose guys right way. That being said, I'm an NHL player. I'm not going to take somebody else's job overseas."

On the other hand, Malkin's teammate Sidney Crosby had this to say: “Would I look forward to that opportunity of taking someone’s job? No. But at the end of the day I’m a hockey player.” 

If the players begin to give up, where does that leave the fans? 

It seems a little off-putting to read an insignificant three-paragraph apology letter from the NHL on the same day their best player from last season signs with the KHL. 

On a good note, there are several leagues around North America where many of the young NHL players can choose to play, and access to the overseas games has improved since the last lockout as well. 

Who knows, it might be nice to see something different. 

Personally, I'll be watching the Western Hockey League with hopes for a "Miracle off Ice." It won't be as nice as the original "Miracle on Ice," but a new CBA before a cancelled season will do just fine.