It is 6:30 am on a September Saturday morning. The date is September 15, 2012. The day Commissioner Gary Bettman has stated that if there was no new CBA in place the National Hockey League would lock their players out. For hockey fans, the reality of yet another lockout is seventeen and a half hours away. A deal will not get done. We do not expect hockey to begin in September, October, November, or December. Hockey fan frustration has started, but I think that it will be different this time around. Discussing the game with fans both north and south of the boarder we get the sense the game will in fact lose some fans… for good. People are pissed off. The people that purchase the tickets that buy the hundred and fifty dollar jerseys. The fight is not over hockey, it’s over money and in a world economy such as what we are in, what do you expect the “average hockey fan” to feel like.
Some of us have come to the realization that another full season of missed hockey is a strong possibility. The thing is with every missed game there is something that we will never get back. Marc Spector over at Sportsnet had another great post “Bettman Bad for Business“. We agree with a lot of this opinion. In the post, Spector asked economist and author Andrew Zimbalist about what it means, exactly, when a professional sports league is facing its third lockout in as many collective bargaining agreements. The response?
“It means it is poorly managed… Mr. Bettman, although he has some qualities that are admirable, has made a lot of bad decisions,” Zimbalist said this week, before Thursday’s confirmation that we are heading towards Bettman’s third lockout since becoming the commissioner of the National Hockey League in 1993. “He has not promoted effective management at the team level, and he is unwilling to admit his mistakes and walk away from them… Gary Bettman doesn’t want to admit that his southern strategy was a bad strategy, back in the 1990s,” Zimbalist said. “It is his intransigence around this issue that’s created this problem.”
We agree entirely. A number of the issues the NHL faces is a result of poor management decisions made under Gary Bettman’s tenure. Defiitely time for a change there. Gary Bettman is not a hockey man nor will he ever be. For many fans he is an annoyance and someone who impacts the sheer joy of being a hockey fan. He has not grown the game he has stifled it.
So here is but a few experiences that Gary Bettman will be taking away from hockey fans with the 2012 NHL lockout. Knowing that a lockout is set to start at midnight tonight, and we do expect it to be longer than shorter will begin today, the Hockey Fanatic has identified 30 missed opportunities (one from each team) the the hockey fans will be missing out on as a result of a lockout and potentially another season lost.
NHL Lockout 2012: 30 Teams 30 Missed Opportunities for Hockey Fans
Anaheim Ducks – the chance to witness the Finnish Flash fly again. 2012-2013 could very well be Teemu Selanne’s final season in the league. With every game that is lost the fans of the Ducks and of NHL will be missing an opportunity to see one of the games’ greatest talents from the past two decades. Not to mention Sheldon Souray’s blistering slapshot from the point as he signed with the Ducks in the off season as well.
Boston Bruins – the chance to see the emergence of young goaltender Tuukka Rask as a starter for the Bruins. One year removed from being the Stanley Cup champions, he torch has been passed to Rask. Fans will have to wait to see if this torch burns out or not.
Buffalo Sabres – the addition of super-pest Steve Ott. Sabres fans will not get to see whether the team has actually become a tougher team to play against with the addition of Ott, winger John Scott and potentially first round pick Mikhail Grigorenko.
Calgary Flames - player transactions will be impacted by a lockout. How will this impact the Flames ability to move a veteran player such as Jarome Iginla or Mikka Kiprusoff. Potentially a large missed opportunity here if the Flames are slow out of the gate. A condensed season will mean a slow start could mean missed playoffs.
Carolina Hurricanes – in 2005=2006 after a full season was lost the the lockout, the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers went to seven games with the Canes winning the Stanley Cup (I still lose sleep over this being an Oilers fan). This year fans may very well miss an opportunity to see the Brothers Stall play together in Carolina.
Chicago Blackhawks – fans might in fact get to experience a healthy Marian Hossa as he was recuperating from a concussion suffered from the infamous Raffi Torres hit in last springs playoffs. More team to heal should bold well for Hossa.
Colorado Avalanche – Avs fans will have to wait to see if Gabriel Landeskog, the NHL’s youngest ever captain is the real deal or if a sophomore slump is inevitable.
Columbus Blue Jackets – a long lockout may not be a bad thing for the Jackets as they enter life post Rick Nash. This will give Jackets fans times to meet the new players. However Jackets fans will not get to see if #2 overall draft pick Ryan Murray is the stud of a defenseman that everyone is making him out to be.
Dallas Stars – Stars fans will be missing an opportunity to see real life dinosaurs in Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr who both signed with the team in the summer. A long lockout could have seen these two players play their last games in the NHL.
Detroit Red Wings – the retiring of Nick Lidstrom’s jersey to the rafters of the Joe. Life after Lidstrom promises to be interesting as the Wings are in danger of becoming also-rans like they were in the early eighties.
Edmonton Oilers – Oilers fans are probably getting the greatest shaft with a prolonged lockout as the youth movement in Edmonton is on full swing. With the likes of Eberle, Hall and additions of Yakupov and Justin Schultz the Oilers are heading up the standings. Fans will missed an opportunity to see just what Ryan Nugent Hopkins can do with a full season in an Oilers uniform.
Florida Panthers – FLA fans will not get to see Roberto Luongo back in team colors.
Los Angeles Kings – Kings fans will have to wait to see the Stanley Cup banner raised at the Staples Center as the Kings won their first Stanley Cup since entering the league in 1967. The wait kust got a little longer.
Minnesota Wild – fans will not get to see what $196 million looks like with the identical signings of free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to 13 year $98 million deals.
Montreal Canadiens – fans will miss seeing if Erik Cole can follow up with his career high 35 goals. We predict not.
Nashville Predators – fans will miss seeing what type of vehicle Shea Weber drives to the rink in. All kidding aside, fans in Music City will miss seeing how the defense recovers with the loss of Suter to the Wild.
New Jersey Devils – Devils fans will miss seeing another stellar season from Martin Brodeaur.
New York Islanders – fans in Long Island will miss the opportunity to see if Lubomir Visnovski can regain his status as a strong offensive defensman and put up better numbers than an injury riddled season in Anaheim last year.
New York Rangers – are the Rangers for real? Are they Cup contenders? Fans of the Broadway Blue will have to wait and see what impact winger Rick Nash will have on the Rangers and whether he is enough to put them over the edge as Stanley Cup favorite. Rick Nash’s first season in New York may be a short one with an extended lockout.
Ottawa Senators – will miss seeing whether Swedish duo Captain Alfresson and Erik Karlsson can replicate what they were able to do with last year pushing the team into the playoffs when no one thought that they had a chance.
Philadelphia Flyers – Flyer fans and hockey fans in general will miss seeing the colorful commentary of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s comments with his interviews throughout the season.
Phoenix Coyotes – a chance to see Raffi Torres as he still has a number of games to serve on his suspension for his hit on Marian Hossa in last Springs playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins – will miss a chance to see what a healthy Sydney Crosby and dynamic Evgeni Malkin can do. A shortened season just may play in their favor will all of their fire power.
St. Louis Blues – Blues fans got a taste of the good life last season. Can they do it again? Fans will be missing out as the lockout stalls the momentum that the Blues generated last season.
San Jose Sharks – in San Jose time is ticking on a franchise that has been picked to be a top contender but has had issues in the playoffs. Fans will miss an opportunity to see which version of the team will show up in 2012-2013.
Tampa Bay Lightning – can Steven Stamkos hit 60 goals again? 70 goals? Not in a shortened season. Thanks Bettman.
Toronto Maple Leafs – fans will miss the smell of playoff hockey again without the Leafs even playing a game potentially.
Vancouver Canucks – ‘Nucks fans will miss an opportunity to see the Bruins/Canucks go at it hard again in a regular season match-up if the schedule has to be readjusted due to the lockout. Last years battle was epic and featured some questionable hits from Bruins on Canuck players.
Washington Capitals – Caps fans will miss seeing what new coach Adam Oates can do with a team that was streaky last season. Can the Great 8 return to form? Hockey fans will miss seeing the dynamic play of Ovie until a new CBA is signed.
Winnipeg Jets – fans from Manitoba lost their team for a decade and a half only to experience one season before this a Gary Bettman self imposed, third NHL lockout.
The mismanagement of the league means that the party that suffers the most is the NHL hockey fan. Does the NHLPA and NHL realize just how much they are slighting the fans? Jeez they (the NHL/NHLPA) should have to give paying fans a team jersey of their choice as a token of our appreciation of the game. Otherwise, just get together and put a deal together. Look at the NBA and NFL as examples. Win some respect back from the fans.
Sorry hockey fans, it looks like the lockout starts tonight. Do not expect any NHL hockey for the reminder of this calendar year. Both sides have not shown that they are efficient enough to get it done. We recommend checking out some junior hockey or going out and playing some hockey for yourself. This is a beautiful game. The NHL is not our only connection to the game that we love. Check out a great hockey movie or read a great hockey book. A lockout should not deprive us of the world’s fastest sport on two legs.