Saturday, September 1, 2012

NHL Picked The Wrong Time To Have Labor Issues

The NHL is about to go into another nuclear winter as it seems as if there won't be a CBA agreement anytime soon.  Here we go again.

That means for the second straight fall, we will get to see SportsCenter updates involving court rooms, negotiators, arbitrators, players wearing suits walking in and out of glass doors or conference rooms.  Lawyers stepping in front of microphones railing on about how they are being fair and the other side is ridiculous. 

In 2011, it was the NFL that did this all spring and summer long.  They finally cracked a deal and didn't miss much but some preseason action.  Then the NBA had their deal, missing over a month of the season and nearly the entire campaign.  Now it is the NHL, the league that canceled the entire 2004-2005 season due to a lockout.

You know that Bud Selig and Major League Baseball is loving the fact that they seem to have complete labor peace for nearly 20 years.

The NHL picked a really bad time for this.  A really bad time. 

First off, the NHL isn't the NFL or NBA.  They don't have the following and there isn't the outrage from fans and media types.  Sure, Barry Melrose will go off every once in a while and those hockey-centric anchors will chime in, but it won't grip the headlines like any of the other sports.

I mean ... the NFL's labor issue with their referees will get ... and has gotten ... more press.  More people will be irate at the NFL situation after a bad call during a Jaguars-Colts game than the fact that we have no hockey on our TVs.

Oh, yeah.  There is that, too.  We won't miss the NHL because we seemingly haven't already.  The NHL used to be a mainstay on ESPN back in the olden days.  I started watching it because it was always on.  Not anymore.  ESPN dumped the NHL during the aforementioned lockout and the league has been stuck on Versus, which is now NBC Sports Network.  Smart move for ESPN since they do better showing NBA and college sports during the week. 

Finally, the NHL is in this spot because they had canceled a season.  If you go through and cancel an entire season, the agreement that comes from it better be one that locks in what you wanted.  Nope.  The NHL is filled with 17 year contracts for players who make about half a team's payroll (okay, an exaggeration).  But if you screw with us once and then say that deal was crappy and you'll have to do it again ... well, a lot of people ain't buying it. 

I am one of those casual NHL fans who pretty much left it when it left ESPN during their 2004-2005 lockout.  I haven't come back.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.