The National Hockey should be starting operations tonight, with four NHL cities opening up their 2012-2013 regular season schedules.
The Stanley Cup, while still in the hands of the Los Angeles Kings – should be once again up for grabs as 29 teams being a quest to raise 38 pounds of history over their heads. For the Kings, it should be a quest to become the first team in many years to repeat as World Champions.
Instead, the one ice battles that should be occuring on North American soil have been traded in for the board room, with on going CBA negotiations locking out players, forcing young NHL ready prospects back into the NHL, NHL superstars overseas – successfully delaying any sort of progress the NHL may have been making since the last lockout.
There are more questions than answers as we brace for what could be another entire lost season – as both the NHL and NHLPA refuse to discuss the core economic issues that have forces the cancellation of regular season contests.
It comes as no surprise to Buffalo Sabres fans as to what happens when you refuse to negotiate during the regular season. This team saw the loss of two of their beloved co-captains because the team refused to negotiate a new deal with them during the season – it cost them one if not both of those good players.
Why could the NHL and the NHLPA not have started to discuss issues during the playoffs or towards the end of the regular season? Waiting until after the draft put a serious time crunch on both sides – and despite both sides claiming to have more than enough time to finalize a deal – here we stand on opening night of the 2012-2013 regular season, without hockey being played.
I for one think fans in Philadelphia, Colorado, Calgary, and Montreal should show up at their respective arenas tonight as normal – to show the NHL and the NHLPA that fans are ready for hockey – and are still willing to support their teams. If sellout size crowds continue to show up to NHL arena’s around North America – it might represent in real time what the NHL and its players are missing out on – for every single one of those fans standing outside in solidarity against the lockout represents money that could be earned on a nightly basis.