As of this moment the 2013 NHL Winter Classic is circling the proverbial drain. The question now is, will the NHL plug that drain or let the game slip away into the cesspool of stupidity that has cost the league more than a quarter of the 2012-13 NHL season?
Friday is a key date for the game, which remains booked for Jan. 1, 2013. If the NHL cancels the game on Friday, Nov. 2, it will walk away from the game losing only $100,000 in a deposit it made to reserve Michigan Stadium for the scheduled contest between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
If it cancels the game after Friday, according to the license agreement, the league loses that deposit plus any expenses the University of Michigan incurs leading up to the game.
So now the question is, will they cancel the Winter Classic? Will they say thanks, but no thanks to the 80-90,000 fans that have already bought tickets to a game that was easily going to break the NHL single-game attendance record? Will they tell the city of Detroit that the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park has been scrapped?
Will the Winter Classic be Cancelled?
For whatever reason, a decision may be made to cancel an event that will bring in millions of dollars for both the city of Detroit and the league. If they do cancel the game, what’s next? After the Winter Classic is off the books, it’s quite easy to speculate that the rest of the season will follow suit.
As the clock ticks down Friday, both sides really need to rethink this process. There’s no need to cancel the game on Friday, it can wait, as the agreement stipulates. Egos need to be put aside and that angry haze of red that both sides are viewing things through needs to be washed clear. Someone needs to reach out and say let’s get this deal done and done now.
This isn’t a win or lose game the two sides are playing. Right now both sides are losing, players are losing salary to the tune of $10 million dollars per day. As for the NHL side of things, the league estimates that they will lose $720 million if play begins on Dec. 1.
There’s a deal out there that both sides can live with, but first they have to get to the table and start hashing things out. There should be a sense of urgency on both sides to get this done before the Winter Classic gets flushed away.
Fans have been somewhat tolerant of things up to this point; my feeling is that will change if the Winter Classic disappears. There will be outrage and disgust and it will be focused on both the NHL and NHLPA.
I find it hard to fathom that either side wants to cancel the Winter Classic. Here’s hoping that pride and ego don’t get in the way of common sense and the greater good.