In This Corner: Hockey gets iced
There’s no other sport that comes close to the excitement of hockey. The speed of the game, the constant action, the crushing hits, hard shots and gorgeous goals, this is what makes hockey special.
In no other sport is it encouraged to drop the gloves and have a full-on fist fight in the middle of a game. In no other sport can a player score while falling on his back. In no other sport does a player lose half his teeth and not miss a shift.
But thanks to the owners of the NHL, most fans will still be without this sport until December.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday that since an agreement couldn’t be reached between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association, games are cancelled through Nov. 30.
The owners’ most recent proposal, which some say should have been their first, granted the players and owners a 50/50 split of revenue. The revenue split was something that players had been asking for since negotiations began.
The owners also proposed that American Hockey League contracts should also count against the NHL teams’ salary caps. The owners tried to keep pushing the idea to have contract rollbacks.
The only part of this most recent proposal that would appeal to the players was the fact that if any agreement was made by last Thursday, then the league would start Nov. 2 and it would be a full 82-game season.
Needless to say, the players did not meet the deadline and declined this proposal, particularly the continued effort to roll back contracts.
If AHL contracts count against NHL salary caps, that’s less money that can be given to the NHL players, which obviously makes them unhappy.
With the rollbacks, as long as the owners keep trying to make this a part of the negotiations, there will be no NHL. Simple as that.
Nowhere else can a player, or anyone for that matter, sign a contract, agree to a salary with their boss and within months have their boss come to them and say they won’t pay that full amount.
A contract is a contract and there should be no reason why an owner, or any employer, cuts back on pay.
If owners can cut back on the salaries for players’ contracts, then the players should be allowed to decide, whenever they want, that they would like to cut their contract short and stop playing earlier. That’s basically what this is saying, right?
The longer that there is no hockey, the more the teams that aren’t in strong hockey markets suffer.
Take Washington for instance.
Last season, Capitals games were packed with fans, most of which fair weather and bandwagon, who had rallied behind the team after previous seasons’ success. However, as the lockout seemed more definite over the summer and the neighboring Nationals started playing better and better, fans started to change fan bases.
With big names like Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman highlighting their lineup, Nationals games started to become packed tighter with new fans and hockey interest dwindled.
Now with the Nationals’ season over, people are starting to pay attention to RGIII and the Redskins. Throughout all of this, fewer and fewer people have cared about hockey. There are almost always other sports to look at and care about that DC fans don’t necessarily need hockey to make them happy.
This is not to say that there are no hockey fans in DC showing remorse over the lack of the sport, but the numbers are going down slowly but surely.
There are some that say that the NHL will never return and they may be right. There’s no doubt that the relationship between players and owners has been damaged.
Especially with social media, fans are more in tune with how well, or how bad, negotiations are going. While there are more players on Twitter than there are owners and the fans are getting a biased view of he talks, the point is that fans are not happy.
The more unhappy hockey fans there are, the more money that owners will lose anyway from fans not showing support and boycotting.