We have all heard rumors of the NHL cancelling the Winter Classic. The first ones said the league would make an annoucnement by November 20th, in order to meet the timetable for HBO’s production schedule on 24/7. A couple weeks later, rumors hit saying the announcement could come as early as today. This past Tuesday, Mrs. Boomer’s Aunt, an Ann Arbor resident, said that local news was predicting a cancellation announcement the following day (that is not a joke). Now, today, TSN.ca reports the classic will be cancelled tomorrow because of a $250k payment due to the University of Michigan by November 2nd. The next payment is another $1M due to the school on December 7th, then another $1M due on December 28th with the final payment of $650k due after the game has been played on January 18th.
Wait, the NHL is willing to gamble on an entire season being lost but isn’t willing to gamble what amounts to half the league’s minimum salary for a month-long extension for CBA talks? I’ve heard of the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish” before but that’s a little crazy. The Winter Classic is the league’s marquee property, and if the season’s going to start on Gretzky’s timetable the game has to happen. Funny side note: the writer of that article on Gretzky’s last name is Gretz, Gretzky’s nickname. SECOND side note: The Great One’s logic for them getting a deal done? There’re two “smart people” working on it. Right.
Anyway, I’m not saying they won’t cancel the game, but doing so is the puck equivalent of taking an Al MacInnis slapshot off the shins without pads. If the league cancels the Winter Classic over $250k, the “smart people” running this show are a lot dumber than we all think.
UPDATE: As King Shark writes, the Classic cancelling is now official. They ARE dumber than we think. Sadly, I just cancelled the reservations we made for hotels in Detroit and Ann Arbor almost a year ago, when the 2012 Winter Classic was just a twinkle in Gary Bettman’s eye. Now its just a fading coffee stain on his soul.
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