So, as many of you know the NHL closed up shop for the 2004-05 season. Gary Bettman finally pulled the plug on the season at about 1 PM ET on Wednesday the 16th of February.
Of course, this is a long time coming. No one really should be surprised that this was going down like this. The NHL wanted something to assure them that the 30 teams they have out there now could be strong and stay stable throughout the long haul. The NHLPA wanted to get their money without having to be restricted by the almighty dollar. From the start, the NHL wanted cost-certainty, which can be seen as linkage of salary and revenue; the NHLPA wanted anything but that and no salary cap.
Well, that resolve lasted until it got to the breaking point when everyone and their father folded like a cheap card table.
Why did it take so long for both sides to be in the same universe when it comes to discussing the CBA?? How come they couldn't do this five months ago when the getting was good and interest was still there and there was time enough for a season??
Looking at all the things that have gone on, is it better now that this season is toast as opposed to having a shortened, bastardized schedule??
Though having the schedule, many people would get up in arms that this was a sham of a season and that it would have made a bit of difference who won the Cup because it wouldn't mean much; it would get the NHL back into the mainstream. There also has been rumblings or thoughts of a NCAA tournament to determine a Stanley Cup winner, something that would be interesting to see how it would be set up and how it would come to be.
As for now, we can only assume now. There's not much else we can do now. The big question is what now?? As for this season, we can only assume it's done and that the NHL and NHLPA will try to hack it out in time to get a season started in October of 2005. But how soon will it happen??
You can bet that the NHL and NHLPA would need some cooling off time in order to go about this in another direction. Yet, now, with no season, the cooling off time could be as long as this lockout has been to this point. The NHLPA has nothing to gain because they aren't affecting any of their paycheques until October 15th. I'm sure they don't want to get to the table that quick in order to go around and getting the deal done in time for the '05-'06 season.
How about the NHL thought?? The owners have set their line in the sand and they have gone through with this, this season. I'm sure that the owners have other business ventures which is making them money and they don't need the NHL to help them make their money.
How about the replacement players that could come in?? You have to look at what happens with the NLRB and if the Board of Governors want to have replacement players. It's a tricky subject and an even trickier concept to sell to the fans. Sure, the talent will not be of what many are accustom to and some could be turned off by it, but some would welcome it. However, they have to get the "okay" by the NLRB and some Canadian courts. Right off the bat, you have 28 teams as the Provinces of British Columbia (Vancouver Canucks) and Quebec (Montreal Canadiens) will not allow "scab" workers in a lockout situation.
But in the end, the fans-- where do they go from here?? With the die-hard, you have to think they'll be bitter in the beginning, but as the season goes along, they will eventually come back to it. The fans that the NHL is losing out on is the casual fan that will be the one to start turning into the hardcore fan and will pump money into the business. I'm sure that the NHL has lost many of the of interest of the casual fans. Since it's really not a big four sport (and let's face it, it hasn't been since 1998), then you have to take what you can get when it gets to the point of the casual fan.
The cost that the NHL will pay is to be seen in the future. In the end, this will be the lowest point for the NHL. There's no other way but up when they finally get back to the game we all know and love. When that will be, we're still not completely sure in all of this.
In any case, you know the Face Off Hockey Show will be around for the long haul. We have enough stuff to keep you entertained week in and week out. We don't take a break from the game because we know you all have the passion out there to stick around. So stay with us, we'll stay with you. Deal??
This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!