3 Ways the Potential NHL Lockout Affects the League
The 2012 NHL lockout is finally official, and it could spell disaster for the league.
We are eight years removed from the beginning of the last lockout, and this one appears as though it could be on the same track as the one before.
FoxNews.com ran a story by the Associated Press that discussed how day one of the lockout went. A section of the story describes why the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has been so difficult to come by:
The core issue is money — how to split a $3.3 billion pot of revenue. The owners want to decrease the percentage of hockey-related revenue that goes to players, while the union wants a guarantee that players annually get at least the $1.8 billion in salaries paid out last season.
Basically, the players want their salaries to be equal to last year's or better. The owners want the players to make less so that more of the revenue goes to the people owning the teams.
There are clearly other reasons for not agreeing, but none come close to the issue of money.
So far no games have been missed, but if it gets to that point, then the league can expect to feel some effects from the lack of games.
Here are three potential issues facing the NHL if the lockout does continue.
The Potential Loss of Superstars
The longer the lockout goes, the more the NHL has to worry about its best players leaving and staying out of the NHL.
Starting September 16, 2012, players were allowed to speak and sign with other leagues.
Those players didn't waste too much time.
The biggest name is last year's Hart Memorial Trophy winner, Evgeni Malkin. According to Kevin Allen with USA Today, the Pittsburgh Penguins center signed with Metallurg in the KHL—a professional hockey league based in Russia.
Malkin cemented himself as one of the league's best players, and he leaves for a different league within hours of the lockout officially ending. That doesn't look too good for the NHL.
The players have to anticipate the lockout lasting for the entire season. Playing hockey is how they make a living, so they're going to clearly look at other places to play and make money.
There's also the potential for an even bigger problem to take place.
If the lockout lasts long enough, then maybe these NHL stars who left will be content with playing with their new teams in different leagues.
Every day that the lockout continues is another day for a star to sign with a different league.
Losing these players is like losing the faces of the league. There will come a time when the players have to make another decision about where to play.
Let's hope that they choose the NHL.
The NHL Could Lose Most of Its Momentum
I don't generally write my articles from a first-person perspective, but it feels like I'm going to need to devote this section to doing just that.
The NHL is one of the country's four big team sports again, and the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup Finals only helped to push the sport in a positive direction.
I first noticed the change about two years ago when I started to see much more hockey on national television. Unfortunately, I felt like I was alone in watching the sport.
That changed this year when one of my good friends told me that he had to see the Stanley Cup Finals. I was both ecstatic and shocked. It was the first time that a friend of mine had asked me to watch a game, and I couldn't have been happier.
By now, you can tell that my friends aren't hockey fans, but that is exactly the point.
The NHL finally has non-hockey fans wanting to watch a game or two. Over time, that will turn into wanting to watch more and more games. This begins to add up, and before you know it, non-hockey fans are absolute fanatics.
The NHL has a lot of momentum right now, and it would be a shame for them to have to start over. If the lockout continues, then that is exactly what will happen.
This Lockout Just Might Lead to Another One
The 2004-2005 NHL lockout was known for how long it lasted. So far the current work stoppage is known as the fourth lockout since the 1992 season.
It really doesn't appear as though they have a great track record.
Old habits die hard, and in this case, the habit is the NHL shutting down.
There isn't much evidence to suggest that the last season-long lockout has anything to do with the current one, but there isn't much evidence to say that it didn't.
The CBA that both sides agreed to in 2005 must have some issues if it's the same one that they are trying to currently rewrite.
It's very possible for a deal to get rushed out and for people to want to sign it so that they can get back to playing in the best hockey league in the world. Could that rushed deal lead to a future lockout?
It absolutely could, and nobody wants to be in this position again in a couple of years.
The current deal needs to be looked at from every angle.
Both sides need to understand that all of their work involved with getting a new CBA isn't just for the next few years. It's also for the future of the league.
The next potential lockout is years away, but negotiating on a CBA that is fair to both sides should help to eliminate any future lockout from happening at all.
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