On the official one month anniversary of the NHL lockout, I regret to inform my fellow hockey fans that there is very little good news anywhere. The Providence Bruins are 0-2. The Bruins went down 4-2 in their game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders. Max Sauve produced again for the baby B’s, and is making a series name for himself early in the season.
It’s not just us who are feeling the pain here. As of today, the NHL players have stopped receiving their pay. (Today was supposed to be the first of thirty seven payments made to each player.) The official waiting game now begins. How many paychecks are the members of the NHLPA willing to miss could easily determine how quickly this dispute gets resolved this season. In the 2004-05 season, the players were willing to miss all of them. Granted, this time the players are better united than last time. However, if the missed checks continue, the player’s unity will be sorely tested.
The owners are more than willing to trash the season. The lockout was their first weapon deployed against the union. In fact, the small markets that need that CBA are losing less money by not playing. The large markets know that if the league pressures the union into concessions, then any major losses will be more than made up over the course of the next agreement. Finally, thanks to the new series of bi-laws then NHL’s commissioner, Gary Bettman needs only eight of the thirty votes to veto any uprising. Does anyone else see the end of the season here?
Finally, the NHL elicited the help of a focus group to help win the fans back to their side. This focus group is giving the NHL a very clear picture of how much the fans loathe the Board of Governors. The players have been seen as the wronged party this time around, and the league is desperate to change it. Desperate enough to be hospitable with the negotiations tomorrow? Probably not.
On a slightly uglier note, we’ve started to politicize the hockey lockout. This quote, from a prominent hockey editor shows how ugly this has become.” The greatest irony in the National Hockey League pulling together a focus group to test its messaging in the lockout: That hiring GOP toad Frank Luntz to handle said focus group probably further tarnishes their image.” It gets worse. The editor then continues .”(This isn’t meant to be a partisan comment, mind you; rather a definition of terms, in that Luntz frequently works for the GOP and is, in fact, akin in his demeanor to an amphibious reptile that lives in a bog and devours insects for sustenance.)”
Well, of all places to throw down your opinion about politics, shouldn’t a hockey blog be up there with funerals and weddings for places not to share them? I just hope this lockout ends before politics and greed destroys this amazing thing we have all found in hockey.