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Here's why the NHL is headed for a lockout


Irishjim
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The biggest reason I have felt that a lockout was inevitable following last season has to do withyou, the fans.

You proved in 1994-95 during a lockout-shortened season, you would come back. And you did.

And when the league shut down again – for the entire 2004-05 season – you came back again. And in record numbers.

And you’re still coming.

Which is why the NHL’s business hit $3.3 billion last year – its best season ever.

And that’s what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is counting upon. That you, the fans, will come back again when he locks the doors on Sept. 15.

A week, a month, an entire season. He’s pretty confident you’ll come back.

How do we know that? The Commish all but said so today in Toronto at the CBA meetings.

After a brief, 90-minute negotiating session with the NHLPA in which nothing was really bargained and nothing was gained on either side, Bettman was asked about the damage another lockout could do.

“We recovered last time because we have the world's greatest fans,” Bettman said.

That, in a nutshell, is why the owners are willing to do it again. They know the sport will recover. They have past history to prove it.

Hockey fans are like addicts. They can’t resist the ice. They come back. Again and again.

Both sides agree they remain far apart on the core economic issues. Bettman wants salaries reduced dramatically across the board and contracts shortened, among other things.

The NHLPA, under executive director Donald Fehr, wants revenue sharing to multiply by leaps and bounds so the 10 poorest teams can gain stability. Share the wealth a little more. Learn from the NFL and MLB.

Cutting player salaries doesn’t increase revenue sharing. It only lowers club costs. A player who signed a contract in good faith this summer for a $5 million cap hit shouldn’t have to see that reduced to $4 million next fall before he even plays a single game.

What we have here is two very different philosophies at play, and there is no common ground for these CBA talks to really gather steam.

They’re at a stalemate, already. Unless games are lost and paychecks don’t arrive and buildings remain dark, no one budges.

But be sure of one thing: hockey fans will always come back. It’s their nature.

And that’s what the NHL and its owners are counting on.

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I, for one, am sick of being one of the lemmings. If Bettman dares to lock out the players this year, he needs to know that the fans are sick and tired of his high handed, bullying and we will NOT tolerate it again. If there is a lockout to start this season, I am cancelling my Center Ice package that I have had for over 10 years. My time will be spent doing other pursuits that will not support his dictatorship in any way, shape , or form. Someone needs to start a petition on-line showing Bettman and his cronies what is to come if they continue down this path. I am very certain they can get enough names on it to get the Owners and Players attention. Sacrifices are going to have to be made by both sides but if Bettman cancels a season just because he can, he will lose a larger portion of his fan base than he thought possible. We as fans need to make our voices heard and understood.

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I fully agree that fans came back in droves the last time around. BUT, one thing that I think the owners and Bettman need to consider this time is the health of the economy. In 04/05 we hadn't seen a financial collapse yet. This time, it's different. I'd be inclined to say that if there is a lockout, and people invest their hard-to-come-by-in-the-first-place entertainment dollars elsewhere, you may not see as many return. I'm not saying that a fair number won't, but the overall mood in this country (I can't speak for Canada) is rather piss-poor as it is. Watching millionaires and billionaires fight it out when many are struggling just to get by isn't going to appeal to casual fans at all. They'll spend their money elsewhere and, chances are, many won't return. So much for the growth the sport saw after the last lockout.

Anyway, just a few thoughts and opinions.

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I'd like to talk tough like rod, but the reality of the situation is, I'll come meekly crawling back, I can't stay away, love the game to much....but this stuff is damn disgusting!!

Oh, I hear you. I'll be one of the ones crawling back, too. I'll admit it right here and now. But I do think the league will lose some of the casual fans it picked up along the way after the last lockout if it happens again. Hardcore fans will be back, no doubt. At this point I'm not very optimistic that things will start on time, if at all. I'm usually a glass-is-half-full kind of person, but it doesn't look good at the moment. I hope I'm wrong and come October we're all on this board talking about games and not predicting when the lockout is going to end. :mellow:

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I'd like to talk tough like rod, but the reality of the situation is, I'll come meekly crawling back, I can't stay away, love the game to much....but this stuff is damn disgusting!!

It is not about not following Hockey, it is about telling the NHL to pound sand. If they cancel this season just because they can, I will be very slow to return...if ever.

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It is not about not following Hockey, it is about telling the NHL to pound sand. If they cancel this season just because they can, I will be very slow to return...if ever.

There are no options. The best players in the world are NHL. No other hockey is on TV here. I love playing in my men's league. I love coaching my son's team. I love the RMU games up the road. But there just isn't a substitute. I won't crawl back... I'll run with open arms.

Edited by Polaris922
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I won't crawl back... I'll run with open arms.

Well I guess that makes you one of the guys Bettman is counting on. I used to be an avid baseball fan but after their last strike I never returned. I can't even tell you what the phillies record is this year( probably a good thing from the names I have seen them move). On hockey, I will eventually cave but I intend to make damn sure I can do everything in my power to NOT support the beady eyed little troll.......

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I really hope there isn't a lockout. But if there is, junior hockey will be that much better. And considering I can see an entire seasons of Barrie Colts for the same cost as going to a single NHL game at the ACC (including dinner, beer and parking) it's a no-brainer for me for live hockey.

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I'll miss NHL hockey, but I can live without it. There is plenty of hockey, other than the pros.

I'll welcome the NHL when and if it comes back. However, whenever there's a lockout or stoppage, I lose some of my enthusiasm for for it.

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Well I guess that makes you one of the guys Bettman is counting on. I used to be an avid baseball fan but after their last strike I never returned. I can't even tell you what the phillies record is this year( probably a good thing from the names I have seen them move). On hockey, I will eventually cave but I intend to make damn sure I can do everything in my power to NOT support the beady eyed little troll.......

I've got nothing else to turn to. I could go to Wheeling Nailers hockey but that's ECHL... not too exciting. Closest AHL affiliates are in Erie, two hours away. I'm not going to surrender something I enjoy so much for something so little. I agree the principle of a lockout instead of negotiating in good faith is enough to piss everyone off, but I don't have a whole lot of options here. I too stayed away from MLB for a long long time... but you can see how much that hurt them. So I am going to deprive myself of hockey for what? Some multi-billionaire doesn't notice whether I watch or not. And I doubt Lemieux and Buerkle are going to be calling me anytime soon to apologize for the lockout if I let my half-season tickets slide. The next guy on the waiting list will be happy though.

I've learned by my "resistance" to losing baseball in boycotting Pirates games that a handful of us saying or doing the right thing won't change anything. A petition will get laughed at and used for kindling. If nothing else, history has taught us that protesting in the park and singing kum-ba-yah together does nothing but leave a lot of trash for public works to clean up and fill nurseries at local hospitals.

I wish there were a way to make an impact on the league that they notice. Something to influence and say "Hey, this is bullcrap and we're not gonna stand for it!"... but off the top of my head I can't think of anything feasible.

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@Polaris922

I understand the feeling of helplessness but you have to make a decision that you think is right. I can not in good conscience condone what that F.U.C.K.stick Bettman is doing. Even if it is something as small as me not paying 200 bucks for Center Ice, I will do it. At least for 1 year. Is that me cutting my nose off to spite my face? Probably, but it is still the right thing to do.

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@Polaris922

I understand the feeling of helplessness but you have to make a decision that you think is right. I can not in good conscience condone what that F.U.C.K.stick Bettman is doing. Even if it is something as small as me not paying 200 bucks for Center Ice, I will do it. At least for 1 year. Is that me cutting my nose off to spite my face? Probably, but it is still the right thing to do.

I don't do Center Ice because I wanted Comcast to burn in hell for years. I got into the habit of using the Internet to follow games. I got Verizon the minute it became available and just never changed my ways.

That leads me to the idea of all the posts saying Snider "built" a successful business. He was born to money, given the money to start Spectacor, and put a sports franchise in an enormous market. Hell I could be successful doing that. I hate Comcast with a passion. Snider isn't Comcast, I know, so my hatred doesn't jump to him. He's a smart businessman, and i resoect his accomplishments, but hardly built things against adversity.

Comcast are butt pirates. They were the ONLY option for years and raped us all. Thank God other companies grew and competed with them. I'll never use a Comcast service again.

Okay... Unrelated rant over...

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I can't stay away, love the game to much

Same here.

Plus, I'm not getting rid of my seat license and season tickets over it. For starters, they've been in my family for decades and I plan on eventually handing them down. I kept them when this organization resembled a minor-league hockey team after Craig Patrick's fire sale and I kept them after the last lockout. It's just not going to happen.

I'm also not dumping the NHLN or the Center Ice package, why bother if I'm already paying for tickets/parking/food/beer? lol.

Edited by Penguins-66
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