Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not this time

It is come full circle for me now. In 2004 it was bad enough watching the New York Rangers miss out on the playoffs for the 7th straight season but Gary Bettman locked the players out and canceled the entire season.

Gary Bettman claimed that the NHL owners were doing this for the benefit of the fans, making such claims as they were trying to hold the line on ticket prices. It wasn't true then and it wasn't true in 2012.

The lockouts have been about 2 things; a poorly managed league unable to practice self control on player salaries. The other was about a league that placed franchises in locations where fans support just was not there.

Don't believe a word when the NHL makes claims against the NHLPA because until this lockout, the NHLPA never was organized enough to stand up to the NHL owners. Every time the NHL demanded concessions from the NHLPA, they got them just like they did in the last lockout.

Don't for a second believe the NHL when they claim how many franchises are not making money as really the true value of a franchise comes when an owner sells the team.

Take a good look at how much each franchise is worth starting with the most valuable franchise the NHL has, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs who have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, who have not even made the playoffs since the end of the last lockout are worth a reported 520 million dollars. Wonder what they would be worth if they even made the playoffs?

What a surprise we get when we scroll through the list and discover that the New York Islanders (149 million) and Phoenix Coyotes (134 million) are at the bottom of the list. So which is it poorly run franchises or greedy players that are hurting the NHL?

And please don't take this as I am trying to get you to do anything because if you are happy that the NHL is back then by all means enjoy it. What this happens to be is a full circle for me as I find myself turned off by the nonsense the NHL just put their fans through.

Just as I was turned off by the lockout of 2004-2005; I find myself right back in the same situation. I love hockey, always have and always will but for me hockey is not defined by the NHL.

If anything no other league embarrasses this great sport as much as the NHL does. A 10 year deal between the NHL and NHLPA is supposed to keep the peace but I will make this prediction now in 7 years the NHL will exercise their option to opt out of this deal.

The NHL will tell you that it is once again those greedy players but the truth is this; not even before the ink is dry on this brand new collective bargaining agreement there is a NHL general manager who is looking for the loophole that he can use to get around this new CBA.

And I am sorry to say that once again the loyalty of NHL fans will once again held hostage. Once again the NHL will lockout their players and this ugly cycle will repeat itself.

So I choose to make a statement of my own; last year Center Ice cost me 169 dollars. I have had it every year that the NHL has offered it and I have watched the price of it rise with each season.

I know that there are fans who want the NHL to offer Center Ice for free this half season as a goodwill gesture but that won't happen. The cost and profit of Center Ice is split among those providers who carry it for their customers.

Those providers themselves have lost money on this lockout so asking them to take an even bigger loss is not fair to them. Don't even think for a second that the NHL will cover their losses either.

I took the money I would have spent on Center Ice and used it to pay to watch the prospects playing in both the juniors and the NCAA. Because the Rangers will be heavy favorites in this "sprint" to the Cup then I expect about 12-16 Ranger games to show up on the NBC Sports Network as well as NBC.

So this year I will pass on the NHL and Center Ice until the playoffs when every Ranger game will be on the 2 channels. It may not seem like much but to me it means the world.

I want to show my loyalty to those who have already given me a half a season of some exciting hockey. It is the least I can do in return for the enjoyment I have already received.

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