The exodus to Europe and other players plans.
- The first two days of the lockout saw many big names head across the ocean.
Joe Thornton – HC Davos of the Swiss League
Evgeni Malkin – Magnitogorsk KHL
Sergei Gonchar – Magnitogorsk KHL
Jaromir Jagr – Kladno Czech Republic
Rick Nash – HC Davos of the Swiss League
Ilya Kovalchuk – SKA St. Petersburg
Pavel Datsyuk – Ak Bars Kazan
Most of the signings were to be expected, but are still hard to see. The toughest pill to swallow is Geno Malkin going back to the team that wouldn’t let him come to the NHL in the first place. Remember him sneaking to the U.S. not all that many years ago?
- Not all players have gone that route and have opted to work out on their own. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been working out at the Penguins practice facility with a number of other players.
- While GM’s still had some control, many young eligible players were sent to the minors or their Junior teams. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn were among those sent to the minors.
The AHL has never been so talented.
Is the NHL too big for its britches?
With the NHL lockout 2 days old and having been the hot topic for months now, there is one major part of the process that is am noticing. The average person does not even blink an eye.
Sure, for months us die-hard hockey fans have hung on every word said by Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, but the casual fan barely notices that anything is going on. Not to mention that the media is quiet on it as well.
I spend a good portion each day in my car, and of course I am always tuned into the local sports radios stations. I hear baseball postseason talk, NFL week 2 talk, college football talk, and only every once in a while during a news update do I hear a 5 second blip about the lockout. I live in a pretty decent hockey market too, so I can’t imagine what is going on in the weaker markets.
Since the last lockout, and the emergence of a unbelievealby talented generation of hockey players, we have seen such growth among the NHL fan base. Obviously this has contributed to the spike in the coveted hockey related revenue that everyone is fighting over. Trouble is that the people who are squabbling over it, don’t realize that if you shut down the game, you may alienate those new fans and shut down potential future fans. Suddenly that revenue isn’t there anymore.
All of these people think themselves quite important in the sports world. Think again folks, this isn’t the NFL, MLB, NBA, or even NASCAR.
Leftover feelings from 2004?
I believe that part of this hard-line stance that Bettman and the owners are taking is the result of the last lockout. They bullied, pushed around, and got what they wanted out of the NHLPA and they think that they should be able to do it again. The last time around the game was broken and that stance fixed it. This time it isn’t broken and the only thing this will accomplish is to fatten their wallets.
On the flip side of that, today I heard a player giving the usual “we just want to play” line that they have been feeding us, but at the end of the sentence he added “but last time we gave a whole lot up”. Bitter much? I hope that the NHLPA has the right intentions in mind and not just getting back at the owners for the last CBA.
This is all very concerning and I don’t believe that either side has their intentions in a good place.
Till we meet again.
Tomorrow there will be a meeting of the second in commands. Bill Daly (NHL) and Steve Fehr (NHLPA) will talk shop, but the big boys will not meet until at least Wednesday. Though neither side sounds like it is ready to budge yet, but they sure are spending a lot of time trying to convince us that they other side is causing the problems. I’m not sure if they are really trying to convince us, or themselves.
Hold on tight everyone, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Until next time…..
Photo by s.yume flickr.com