As we reach a deadlock in the CBA negotiations, we’ve come up with a couple realistic scenarios that could show the start of the new NHL season. Note: This is all completely based on no insider information of the CBA negotiations.
Halloween: Just no. It’s not happening. Even the crazy optimistic NHL bargaining team doesn’t even think it’s possible, so what am I supposed to do? Nothing. Just no. Not happening. Besides, they’ve already cancelled the games till November 1st. I don’t think they can un-cancel them…
November 2nd: That’s what the uber-optimistic fan has in mind. The NHL is thinking that this is a possible date to start. However, if the NHL and the NHLPA start having intense negotiations and make a deal on the Hockey Related Revenue settled by let’s say next week (which in my opinion is highly unlikely) I would say November 2nd is a real possibility. November 2nd is the ideal date for everyone, but as a pessimist, I don’t believe it’s a possible solution.
American Thanksgiving: To all the Canadian readers, Thanksgiving this year is on November 22nd. Personally, I think this is a good start to the year. When the NBA was locked out, the league came back on December 25th because they wanted to start the year with a bang, and what a bang it was. The NHL can do the same thing with American Thanksgiving. How does a New York Rangers and Boston Bruins Thanksgiving Showdown sound? It won’t be the bang the NBA had, but hey, its good NHL hockey, and I’d be happy. Would you not?
New Year’s Day: Like the point I had before, what a bang to start the season The Winter Classic would be. If you ask a casual American fan who watches hockey once a year when he or she watches hockey, it’s always the same answer: Winter Classic. NHL’s main goal right now is focused on American growth, which makes the annual Winter Classic that much more important. Another point brought up by Sportsnet’s John Shannon on the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast is that the only reason why the NHL had a Winter Classic was that NCAA football no longer had a bowl game on January 1st and asked the NHL to fill up a three hour timeslot. However, after next year, the NCAA wants its January 1st date back. So to tie it all back, if the NHL wants Americans to keep tuning into the Winter Classic, they have to make that day a spectacle. And you can’t make that day special if there’s nothing going on. Besides that, the NHL makes a boatload of money of the Winter Classic. Who doesn’t want the money?
Next Season: Yes. A whole season lost. That sucks. From what I’ve read, nobody wants this to stretch all the way till next season. I don’t think this is a very realistic scenario, because unlike before, the two sides are talking. In the 2004-2005 lockouts, neither party was talking to each other, until three months in to the lockout. Ask anyone who has knowledge of what’s going on and they’ll all tell you, it’s not the same. This time, they are way ahead of last time. The NHL and NHLPA both know that if this drags out long enough, many top players won’t come back, especially the European players. They’re playing in European leagues for good money and hometown fans. In the words of Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, “I said it before, before I sign a contract, if the league decides to cut out salaries and cut our contracts for what they want, I don’t know how many guys will be coming back.” That’s got to have a few owners scared.
What I think: I personally believe they will start the season on American Thanksgiving; the amount of money they can get from Thanksgiving is just too promising. The two sides aren’t working fast enough where they can do November 2nd as a start day. I also don’t believe the Winter Classic will be cancelled because Detroit and Toronto, two Original Six teams, that will bring in boatloads of revenue dollars from both sides of the border. There’s just too much money at stake. At the end of the day, it’s all about money. And when there’s that much money at stake you just suck it up and take it.
Written by Alson Lee, you can follow me on Twitter at @FutureInsider, @SkipThisChapter
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