5 Reasons There's a Good Chance the NHL Won't Have a Season This Year
The Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs is the latest casualty of the NHL lockout. The loss of the regular-season’s premier attraction has dealt a blow to the possibility of seeing hockey this season.
Throw in the cancellation of November games and it’s no wonder that there’s a growing sense of pessimism among knowledgeable hockey folk like Don Cherry.
Pulling the plug on the Winter Classic is only the most recent sign that points to the loss of the entire season. Here’s a few reasons why we might not see a single game played this season.
2 Months Have Already Been Lost
Approximately one-fourth of the NHL season has been lost. The most recent round of cancellations means fans won’t see the puck drop in November.
Casualties now amount to 326 games and every game canceled makes things bleaker and bleaker.
The game will really suffer from the loss of the November games. Among the games lost is the NHL’s first nationally televised game, a Black Friday meeting between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers.
The 2012-13 season is in a bad place if the NHL doesn’t think twice about cancelling big regular-season matchups like that.
No Prospect of Having a Full 82-Game Season
The deadline for a modified schedule featuring a full season was Oct. 25. Just prior to that cutoff date, the league made an offer to the players consisting of a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues. The NHL Players Association vetoed it, though.
A full season was a massive negotiating incentive for both sides. But now that possibility is off the table.
Now there’s no potential of salvaging a full season. With each passing day, there becomes less and less of an incentive to work toward saving what’s left of hockey in 2012 and 2013.
Widened Gap Between Owners and Players
It seemed like the owners and the NHLPA were taking steps in the right direction. After all, they’ve met plenty more times than they did around this time during the 2004-05 lockout.
The owners even made a 50-50 proposal to try and salvage the full season. That’s fair, right?
Not quite. The NHLPA didn’t accept the proposal. Zach Parise went so far as to label the proposal as a “publicity stunt.” Plenty of others subscribe to Parise’s theory. The owners made the NHLPA out as the bad guys by making an offer they wouldn’t accept so close to the deadline for a full season.
Don Cherry Says so
Like him or not, Don Cherry has been around for a while and knows what he’s talking about.
Other than his illustrious broadcasting career, Cherry was both a player and a coach. He understands plenty of the perspectives that make up the labor dispute. He’s also been around for the last two lockouts and has a general idea of how things work.
Cherry said that, if he were a betting man, he’d bet against there being a season. His lack of optimism, which is a complete turnaround from his prediction in August, speaks levels of the current situation the NHL is in.
If Don Cherry doesn’t have much hope for the lockout, things must be pretty miserable.
Cancellation of the Winter Classic
The NHL Winter Classic was the biggest wild card in this lockout. This year’s contest featured a clash between the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs with the University of Michigan’s Big House as the venue.
But even the mighty Winter Classic fell to the lockout.
If the marquee event of the NHL’s regular season wasn’t enough to inspire a quick resolution, what is?
The NHL pulled the plug on the event to avoid paying the $250,000 it owed Michigan on Nov. 2. The next payment would have been $1 million due Dec. 7, so it’s safe to say the owners aren’t confident we’ll be reaching a deal in time to save the December games.
There are plenty of regular-season games that are nationally televised that could draw good ratings and lots of money. None of those games compare to the gold mine that is the Winter Classic, though.
The last huge attraction that can serve as an incentive to getting the CBA figured out soon is the Stanley Cup playoffs. If they can’t reach a deal in time to save the playoffs, we may as well kiss the 2012-13 season goodbye.