Yesterday Gary Bettman made an “announcement” that if the players union and the owners do not reach an agreement on a new CBA by September 15th there will be a lockout. This is not a shocking revelation nor should it be considered news. Bettman better not let there be another lockout because the wonderful sport of hockey can not survive another work stoppage. If the owners lockout the players in September, it will be the third work stoppage under Bettman’s watch. If it wasn’t for Bud Selig, Bettman would be a runaway winner for worst commissioner in all of sports. As of now, these two incompetent boobs are running neck and neck for that distinction.
The NHL is in the best shape its been since the last lockout. Next season is a very important season for the league and it needs to start on time. The 2012 post season brought in the highest ratings in the United States ever. The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, which means you have one of the largest markets in the work excited about hockey. The New York Rangers have added Rick Nash and for what seems to be the 15th year in a row, have finally added the piece to put them over the top. Right here in Chicago, the interest in the Blackhawks is at an all time high. The NHL has a big interest in the 3 biggest market in the US, don’t ruin that over a few million dollars. The Minnesota Wild have become major players by adding Zach Parise and Ryan Sutter. Minnesota has a rabid and loyal fan base that can not wait for the 2012-2013 season to start. The Carolina Hurricanes have loaded up to make a run for the Cup by adding Jordan Stahl and Alex Semin. That is a market that is building up quite the fan base and is excited about hockey.
All the wounds from the last lockout that cost us the entire 2004-05 season have all but healed. If Bettman and the owners screw this up the damage will be catastrophic. If there is another work stoppage you can count on contraction not being far behind. There are too many small market teams that are struggling enough as it is and will not survive a lockout. I want to believe that the owners and the players know all of this and will reach an agreement without costing us any playing time, I really do. The problem is, I have no faith in anything that Gary Bettman is in charge of. So my message to Bettman and the owners and Donald Fehr, of the players union, is to do the right thing. No body makes money when there are no games being played. If the momentum of the NHL continues going in the right direction there will be plenty of money to go around for everybody.
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