With the NHL lockout behind us and anticipation building ahead of a season that will start next week, a lot of the discussion surrounding the league has started to focus on actual hockey again. Not the business of hockey, but lineups, coaches, potential roster movement, the salary cap, and so on. It’s great.
But for a lot of fans there remains a sour taste in their mouths, brought on by just how ridiculous this whole thing was to begin with. Why did this have to drag on and wipe half a season for a deal that many people could see was there since October? Fans are still pissed, and I can totally understand.
While it seems like most have simply rejoiced at the thought of the NHL returning, some have decided to stick to their idea of punishing the league for locking them out of watching the game they love, whether it’s on television or at the arena. Many have said that the league basically isn’t apologizing enough, or haven’t brought forth initiatives to “win the fans back.”
Personally I could care less for that garbage. For a team to apologize to me in a statement on their website or an email means nothing, as it was pretty clear they all banded together to stop the game from happening in order to put together a business deal. It is what it is, or was what it was. The lockout was frustrating, but all things considered, we only missed out on 32 games of hockey or so.
Now, if people want to go ahead and punish the league by not returning to their seats or television sets, that’s their choice. I can understand if fans want to try hurting the NHL’s wallet. My only advice (which probably isn’t worth much) is this: don’t punish yourself to punish the NHL.
I was watching The Reporters on TSN yesterday and the crew on there brought up this issue. Steve Simmons mentioned that fans should perhaps just go to the games but avoid concession stands and whatnot. Hot dogs, nachos, beer, whatever. I could sort of see his point, making it by far the smartest thing Simmons has ever said. But then Cathal Kelly, who writes for The Star made a much better point; why rob yourself of your own in-game experience in an attempt to punish the NHL? And he’s absolutely right. If I’m at an NHL game and hungry for some nachos, I could take a few dollars out of the NHL’s hands by staying in my seat, but I’m still going to be hungry. I just don’t really see how I’m any further ahead. I guess I’m “sticking it to the NHL”, but again, I still want nachos.
The same goes for watching at home. I know many people have said fans should avoid the NHL for a week when it returns, to make a statement. Fair enough, make your statement. I’ll be hanging out watching hockey. If you’re fine with that, it’s all good. But if it’s going to make you unhappy, you should probably reconsider.
Maybe I’m a blind follower of the NHL. A sheep. But it would make me unhappy to be somewhere else while my buddies are drinking beer and watching the Leafs game, and I think any time you’re unhappy when you don’t need to be sounds pretty awful. So like the title says, punish the NHL if you feel you need to, but seriously look at whether you’re punishing yourself as well.
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There isn’t a lot to talk about this morning, as things on the NHL front have gone pretty silent. Other than that we’re (for the most part) looking forward to the World Junior Championships next week to get a look at some Leafs‘ prospects on the international stage.
There’s also, you know, the chance to cheer on a hockey team, which will be a nice experience as well. Though I’m not sure I even remember how to do it.
The schedule for this year’s tournament is pretty awful for us watching in Canada. Morgan Rielly and the rest of our national club will play their first three games at 4:30am Eastern, so unless you have PVR (or live in the Atlantic Ocean, like I do), you may as well just forgo sleep, pour another nog and rum, and stay up for some hockey.
The commercial TSN has running for this thing is “Wake up early, stay up late.” Which camp do you fall in to?
Oh, and I did manage to collect a few links this morning, so enjoy.
Despite this being “the most important week of negotiations”, there’s been basically nothing in terms of CBA/lockout news since last Thursday. It’s nothing to panic about; after reading the solid material Mirtle at the Globe and mc79 have pumped out over the past few days, I’m pretty confident that we’ll see a resolution to this whole thing soon. But until we do, let’s enjoy the news and notes from other leagues, as well as a few history lessons and another look at how the Leafs may fare when this lockout ends.
Michael at Vintage Leaf Memories asks “What’s your first ever true “blue and white” Leafs’ memory?”
According to the Gazette, Leafs fans have voted Bower the best goalie in team history.
Cam at The Leafs Nation discusses whether the team is well-positioned for the new NHL when this lockout ends.
Blue Chip Prospects takes a closer look at Captain Dion.
Photo: Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star
With CBA negotiations set to get going again today, a sort of bizarre chunk of news regarding the NHL’s public relations plans came about yesterday evening. The league has hired a GOP strategist to test its PR moves, including what’s being called the “shared sacrifice” pitch.
This space has previously detailed some NHL owners’ fondness for right-wing causes, now it transpires that the league office has hired a well-known Republican pollster who has advised conservatives from Pat Buchanan to George W. Bush to Stephen Harper to road-test its lockout message.
According to the fine folks at Deadspin, the NHL has retained the services of Frank Luntz, who brought such terms as “Contract with America”, “climate change” and “death tax” into the U.S. political vernacular.
Interesting that the league would go to such lengths to try and craft their spin.
It’s an interesting story, especially considering fans are again hopeful that this week will finally produce some meaningful discussions between the NHL and PA. While this type of news from Deadspin doesn’t really help in that regard, it does let us know that we were right about one thing: the NHL (and PA) are full of shit. It’s well worth the read.
On to some links after the jump.
The NHL and PA will get together again today. Nothing will come of it, we’ll complain about it on the internet, and there still won’t be NHL hockey. At first I would’ve said “there still won’t be hockey” but I’ve joined the folks who are pushing for other leagues to get attention. The NHL is the best hockey league on this planet, but it isn’t the only one.
The “best” part is enough to bring me back when the league eventually starts back up, but to be honest I’m not really missing the NHL like I thought I would. The IceCaps here in St. John’s are ready to get going, and besides that I’ve been finding more time for other sports, hobbies, whatever.
Maybe I was investing too much time in to the NHL anyway. And since they won’t invest the time in to the fans, why bother worrying about them? Same goes for the NHLPA.
This piece from PPP really knocked it out of the park yesterday.
There will be no talk of contraction or appropriate team locations. No sub-committee meetings on the failings of the sun belt strategy. There most certainly won’t be anyone calling for changes to the worst elements of the culture of hockey – cleaning up the nepotism and cronyism among NHL executives and employees. No debate over the importance of an impartial 3rd party for discipline and appeals processes. No consideration for some sort of ombudsmen to help mediate positive changes to the game.
Instead, we’re left with players vs. owners in an unfortunately adversarial system that’s willing to forego discussing how to improve the game (re-alignment, balanced schedules, Olympic participation, under 20 NA born players in the AHL, etc.) in pursuit of partisan economic priorities.
Whether you want to focus your efforts on another club from another hockey league, or a whole different sport, please don’t sit around waiting for updates from these CBA talks. It’ll get done when it gets done, and if the NHL/PA damages the league because of it, it’s on them.
On to some links;
- KHL highlights (Steve Dangle at TLN)
- KHL? C’mon (VLM)
- Scrivens could earn shot at Leafs while playing until lockout ends (The Star)
- Dylan Yeo adds depth to Marlies blue line (Kyle the Reporter)
- Biggs enjoying new digs (The Star)
- Leafs fans could suffer psychological symptoms due to lockout (The Star)
- Finding Milan (Canucks Army)
There isn’t much to talk about that hasn’t already been covered in the past couple days regarding the Leafs. But there are some good hockey links available this morning so take a look.
The OHL is looking to cut down on fighting, the NHL wants to identify divers around the league, and it seems like folks are really starting to embrace the upcoming hockey season one way or another. One league or another, I should say.
Oh for three (TLN)
Percy relaunches with Steelheads (The Star)
Biggs excited to get everything going (The Star)
Grabovski frustrated by the lockout (The Sun)
Leafs to play in Stirling-Rawdon in 2013 (CityNews)
Western Conference rivalries shaping up ahead of OHL season kick-off (Kyle the Reporter)
If you have a link of your own, drop it in the comments.
Everyone saw this one coming from a mile away, but we’ll take hockey news where we can get it: Nik Kulemin is officially heading to the KHL to join Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
Kulemin has played 142 games with the club in the past, from 2005 to 2008 before joining the Leafs’ organization.
There’s been some discussion over the possibility that, should the lockout drag on for months, Kulemin may not bother returning to the Leafs, though they’d badly need him. Obviously we’re far from that now, but it’s something to keep in mind considering he is playing in his hometown.
Regardless, a positive to take from this is that a young Leafs player will keep his skates on the ice against good competition and will move the puck with some good linemates. That may not be the case for all locked out NHL’ers this winter.
There are even rumblings that Sidney Crosby’s reps have contacted Metallurg as well.
A few links for your Monday morning after the jump;
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Hockey is in the air. Players around the NHL have finally started to take to the ice for scrimmages and practices, despite the whole lockout thing.
There isn’t anything to report on the CBA front, but hopefully with the sense that hockey should be around the corner, the folks in charge can buckle down and get something set up. Though it isn’t necessarily about hammering out a deal over the course of many hours, as Clarke MacArthur mentioned yesterday:
“It just shows there’s still some work to be done,” said MacArthur. “Maybe instead of going at it every day, it’s better to take some time. And think things over, and reassess.”
With talks stalled, maybe MacArthur is right and when the NHL and PA get back to it, they can do so with more reasonable proposals.
On to the links;