It’s that time of year again.
The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing color and the junior hockey players have already begun their showcase tournaments.
With its new cable deal, $3.3 billion in revenue and rejuvenated interest now that the odor from the 2004-05 lockout is beginning to dissipate the league has never been in a better place:
Parity across the board: seven championships in seven years.
Success in non-traditional markets: the Sharks drawing large crowds, Tampa Bay ready to bounce back, the Stars looking like a playoff team and Los Angeles winning its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Action in Canada: the Canucks looking to avenge an early exit, young talent on the rise in Edmonton, a new team in Winnipeg and a rebounding franchise in Montreal.
There is palpable anticipation for this season.
So say it with me puckheads:
Lets. Play. Hoc—
What is that you say?
Oh. That’s right. The National Lockout League is on sabbatical again.
When do you think they’ll be back?
Black Friday? Winter Classic? 2014?
I mean, take your time NHL.
Never mind that the casual fan gets to enjoy October baseball, the beginning of an intriguing football season or a full basketball season.
Never mind that the die-hard fan might not renew their season tickets.
Never mind most of your fans, regardless of if they catch a game or two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs or subscribe to NHL Center Ice, are feeling the wrath of the Great Recession while you guys squabble over billions of dollars.
No, we understand. You want “a little time apart.” You want to be “just friends.” I mean, “It’s not me? It’s you?” Right?
We loved you NHL. We really did.
But by the time you want to get back together again, we might have moved on to something else.
The following is an analysis of how each franchise will be affected by the lockout.