The Death of the NHL

11 07 2005

It is not often that an entire sport commits suicide. In the past year, one did. The NHL is over. Yes, there might be a hockey season next year. There will be one person happy about, my former roommate. But no one else in America cares. Funny thing though, no one in the hockey capital of the world, Canada, cares either. If you look at today’s Toronto Star, there is not one headline about the NHL and its possible return. Yahoo! Sports doesn’t list any NHL headlines either. There are headlines for the NBA, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, Cycling, and NCAA Football. But nothing for the NHL. Looking at the NHL page, there is a claim that negotiations will end with a contract this week. But the next headline is Manny Legace claiming that they lost an entire season for nothing. Mr. Legace, you are wrong. You lost an entire season for something. You threw the season away to lose many of the few fans the NHL had.

The NHL was the first professional sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute. And they are also the professional sports league that could least afford to do so. Baseball, America’s game, had a tough time recovering from their strike. How can a sport that wasn’t that popular to begin with weather this storm? The answer is simple: It can’t. The NHL is dead. Yes, it might continue. It might even see a surge in attendance this coming year if they have a season. But it’s not coming back. They’re going to try. The owners are even lowering ticket prices. But there’s not a chance in the world that the NHL is going to overcome this strike. People can’t name NHL players or even NHL teams. The only player people can name is Mario Lemieux.

Let this be a lesson to professional sports. If you can’t sort out your financial differences and play the sport you love, you might just kill the very thing that supports you: the dollars of the fans. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see who’s pitching in the All-Star game.


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4 responses

13 07 2005
30 07 2005
Anonymous

Hi. it’s me, the one person in the United States and Canada who cares that there will be an NHL season next year. To say that I was happy when I heard the news is a bit of an understatement. And today I am here to announce to you the rebirth of the NHL. In the late 80’s the NHL began to get popular. By the early 90’s it was more poular than the NBA and it had a chance to rival MLB. There were two reasons for this: the NHL of the 80’s and early 90’s was offensively minded. Then in the late 90’s neautral zone traps began all of the rage. As the Devils and Stars captured the cup by game after game 1-0. Other teams copied their systems and the game became less exciting with a subsequent drop in attendence. The new NHL will be offensively minded.Dramatic new rules are being implemented. Two line passes are gone. The goalies equipment will be smaller. The neutral zone is smaller and the offensive zones are bigger. And we’ve been promised that obstruction and interference penalties will be called. All of this equals more offense. THe second reason for the NHL’s popularity in the 80’s and 90’s were the stars that populated the NHL at that time, some of the best to ever lace up the skates. Players like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Raymond Bourque, Patrick Roy, Mark Messier, Luc Robitaille, Jari Kuri, Steve Yzerman and Mike Bossy dominated this era. Then they got older. Their skills diminished and most of them have skated off into the sunset and subsequent inductions into the hockey hall of fame. When they left no one took their place. But that’s all changing. A new group of talented youngsters Nathan Horton, Rick Nash, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jay Boumester, Ilya Kovalchuk, Danny Heatly Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Eric Staal (look at that someone can name hockey players other than Lemieux) will all rise to stardom in the next year or so and stay there for ten years. They are going to be worth watching and they are going to bring the fans back to the game. But that’s not the best part. The best part donned a Penguins sweater for the first time today in Ottawa. His name is Sydney Crosby and he’s the next big thing. He’s the best prospect since another 1st overall pick of the Pen’s, one Mario Lemieux. He’s got the vision of Gretzkey and he can score. Imagine what Gretzky could have done with no two line passes. Well you’re going to see that in Crosby. When it was announced that the Pens had the first pick there was a ticket buying frenzy. People were waiting on the phone for almost an hour to order tickets, and they were happy to do it. October 5th the NHL is back and better than ever. Let’s drop the puck. I’ll see you on the bandwagon in March when the Pens are making a playoof push, Super Mario is vying for another Art Ross trophy, and Sidney Crosby has the Calder all but sewn up. When you hop on the bandwagon just remember some of us never got off.
Jason C.

21 08 2005
Anonymous

I am of the opinion that the 2 line pass still exists. The center red line has been removed, right? So now if you pass from your defensive zone to the other team’s defensive zone, there is a 2 line pass. I think that’s right…I’m too lazy to check if they actually removed the center red line. Also, they moved the goalie red line closer to the end wall by a few inches to increase the size of the offensive zone and decrease the likelihood of the icing calls.

A few names? Let’s go CAPS: Robert Lang, Jeff Halpern, Dainius Zubrus, Bredan Witt, (Ovechkin), Olaf Kolzig to name a few. Others? Bill Guerin, Brian Leetch, Doug Weight, Brendan Shanahan, Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, Sergei Federov, Paul Kariya, Marian Gaborik, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Valeri Bure, Luc Robataile, Jeremy Roenick, Eric Lindros, Simon Gagne, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Recchi…when should I start to name everyday players? Seriously Jiggity James, don’t bash my NHL.

-Joe W.

6 12 2005
Anonymous

derek A.
well Mr. Beetman got his wish, a ballet on ice devoid of checking and now confusing the best players in the world with inconsistent phantom goals,calls and unwarrented suspensions. Mr Beetman made it easy for an already mentally challenged officiating crew by taking the judgement call out of the job…so they call everything every way to the buzzer…which is a joke to set up the circus shoot out which has rendered the most significant exciting play in hockey,the penalty shot,to post game gay corn! and no points if you win or lose the spectacle. in the team standings, once again rendering the event insignificant!Not a bad start considering half the world doesn’t give a flying dump about the NHL and notto mention finding a game on any local network station is a fairy tail or for that matter any cable or dsl feed, oh no that will cost you extra”premium pricing”you need a package…right! Bye Bye NHL you’re right behind lady’s pie making ,tennis , water polo and the march of the Penguins,the movie not the actual NHL team! yes the future looks bright indeed!

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