My Two Cents for December 24:
The Players Have Spoken- In a vote to consider possible dissolving of the NHLPA, the players have voted overwhelmingly by a 706-22 margin to request disbanding of the union and file a disclaimer of interest. Basically what this means is that the NHLPA will no longer negotiate on the behalf of the players once the disclaimer of interest is made official. This also means that the players will basically be able to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the National Hockey League, and seek to have the lockout ended possibly through the courts. Ofcourse, the NHL last week filed suit against the NHLPA to try and prevent them from filing the disclaimer of interest and have the lockout declared legal and binding. Commissioner Gary Bettman does hold the hammer still and has threatened to void all contracts should a disclaimer of interest be filed. Union decertification has been done in the NFL and NBA, so the move itself is not unprecedented. Shortly after these actions were taken in pro football and basketball, their lockouts were soon resolved. This however might not necessary be the case with the NHL.
If the players successfully file the disclaimer of interest and are able to go to court to try and get the lockout lifted, their could also be the possibility of over 700 contracts being voided by Bettman thus creating chaos that would takes months to resolve. Should this happen, the likelihood of any NHL hockey being played in what is left of a 2012-13 season will almost certainly be slim or none. Ofcourse, Bettman and the eight owners who made this 100 plus day lockout possible in the first place are probably not looking forward to defending themselves against an anti-trust suit, which would be richly deserved against these owners. However, also consider that the majority of owners who did not want this lockout (including the Sharks ownership group) will also be dragged in as defendants should such a suit be filed. And for those who are familiar with the court systems in the United States (which I’m sure most of us are), it could be at least a year before an actually trail takes place increasing the likelihood of the NHL suspending all operations until further notice otherwise. The NHLPA has until January 2nd to file the “Disclaimer of Interest”.
The NHL Will Pay A Heavy Price No Matter What- There is very little doubt at this point that a season will not take place and the NHL will have in effect doubled down on 2004-05. Right now the question is will their be any hope for a season in 2013-14. It really all depends on how fast the legal system moves on this because the league is almost certain to try and keep the players off of the ice as long as they possibly can. Right now it’s become strictly a battle of egos between two men who have never played the game, and eight owners who likely have never played the game either. The NHL is going to have a very huge public relations nightmare once things finally do get resolved and the league resumes play regardless of when that might be. Getting sponsors to come back could be a problem, especially in the United States where a lot of sponsors who did stick with the NHL through the first lost season may not be as willing to do it again in the event of a second lost season, or even an altered watered down attempt to salvage a season and make it look half-ways legitimate. With this latest round of game cancellations thru January 14th, 2013, a grand total of 625 games are now lost and gone forever. This lockout is starting to mirror what slow torcher must be like for the average and most die hard of hockey fans. The odds are now that this likely will be the last round of games cancelled before Commissioner Bettman officially calls off the 2012-13 season.
The net result of the first NHL shut down in 2004-05 was the loss of ESPN, which basically has vowed not to come back. They have since become a mainstay network for the NBA and have no need for the NHL, and have stated as much. The NHL is almost ignored completely by SportsCenter while the season is on going. After this finally lockout finally ends ESPN may report the end of the lockout and do an “Oh by the way” mention on who won the Stanley Cup for that season in June, and that’s about it. NBC Sports Network has invested heavily in the NHL, and right now they have to be second guessing their choice as they really did not foresee another disaster such as what happened eight years earlier. If NBC Sports decided to pull it’s contract with the NHL, the only coverage you will see for years to come may be of your local team through it’s local facilities. Since NBC owns Comcast, they could also pull the NHL off all Comcasts networks which effects markets such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and ofcourse San Jose. It will be tough for the NHL to secure another network in the US for years to come. Those who may consider the NHL might also mention the leagues recent history and take the attitude of “Call us when Bettman is no longer the Commissioner”. Honestly, you can’t blame them, or for that matter NBC Sports either.
The ultimate effects of this lockout may very well result not only in what is highly likely another lost season, but also chaos that will hurt the NHL and even a number of franchises for years to come. Also, you’ll have the largest free agent market in the history of any professional sport. Players who basically have all but given up on cooler heads prevailing here have moved on to either the European Leagues or the KHL. The loss of NBC as the sports network of the NHL in the USA could happen, especially if NBC was wise enough to put in an escape clause in the event of a catastrophe such as this. As far as Canada goes, both the CBC and TSN networks will be effected some however will also do fine once the sport comes back, though they should also expect low rating for at least a year. Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have certainly accomplished something that even a year ago at this time did not seem possible given the events of 2004-05. They proved most everyone to be wrong here.
Coal In The Stockings of Bettman and Fehr- One has to be thinking as the lockout has stretched past 100 days that the tag team of Bettman and Fehr have done much to destroy the NHL in approaching the new CBA with their egos instead of their heads or anything that even remotely resembles any kind of business sense. It’s obvious from both of these men that the league can just burn and it will never even begin to matter to either one of them regardless of what they might claim otherwise. I’m guessing that the homes in which Bettman and Fehr reside in may not have any kind of central heating, and need the heat that only coal can provide. Both men have earned a truck load of coal from Santa this year. They are not only on the “Naughty List”, they are one the s&%@ list as well. Both deserve coal and they should get plenty of it. If you feel so inclined to send coal to Gary Bettman, you can send it to him c/o the NHL Headquarters at 1251 Avenue of the Americas, 47th Floor, New York NY 10020, Attention Commissioner Gary Bettman. And lets not forget about Donald Fehr, he wants his fair share of coal too or he will ruin the NHL even further. Send Mr Fehr’s coal to NHLPA at 20 Bay Street Suite 1700, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5J 2N8. It would be highly justifiable too. Let’s be just as giving to them as they have been to us this Holiday Season.
The reason for this suggestion is a simple one. All Commissioner Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have done for the last 100 plus days is stare at each other to see who will blink first. The battle of wills and egos have done nothing but take the NHL away from both the players and fans. The damage this time may be irreparable for some time and these men, or at least Commissioner Bettman will be still in power for years to come (he is under contract thru the 2016-17 season…providing there is one). Bettman will not leave this game better than he found it. If there ever is another commissioner (not named Bill Daly), he will have one heck of a job ahead of him trying to fix a league that Bettman and Fehr have effectively destroyed. For whatever good Bettman has supposedly done for the NHL, all of the lockouts that have happened under his watch have basically negated any of that good. Neither Bettman or Fehr have even so much as tried to negotiate in good faith. Both have neglected the tradition of this league and what this league means to both players and fans. Neither man is capable of negotiating with nothing more than the one objective of trying to “one up” the man on the other side of the table. Over 100 days later, this silly battle of egos is still going on. The players, they are going away. The fans, many are starting to go away. Many have already left and have gotten on with their lives. When you lockout the players a teams, you have also locked out the fans as well.
On The Farm- While the NHL nightmare moves on, so do the San Francisco Bulls in the ECHL, as well as the Worcester Sharks in the AHL. The San Francisco Bulls this past weekend dropped a pair of games to the Ontario Reigh, losing 3-1 at the Cow Palace Saturday Night, and 4-3 in an overtime shootout Sunday Evening at the Inland Empire city. In Saturday’s affair the Bulls promotion was “End Of The World” night. Thankfully, the Mayans were wrong with their December 21st prediction. However, it was the Bulls loss that though was not the end of the world was still a tough defeat. Bulls goalie Thomas Heemskerk made 19 saves. Marek Viedensky scored the only Bulls’ goal in the third period to bring the Orange and Black to within a goal at 2-1. The final goal was an empty netter by the Reign where the puck crossed the goal line just a split second before the final horn sounded. On Sunday Night it was the Bulls who would have a two goal lead at 3-1 after two periods. The Bulls capitalized on a 5 on 3 power play, and scored again with a one man advantage on the same series of Ontario penalties. Jordan Morrison scored the two goals which were a 65 seconds apart. Justin Bowers added a power play goal for the Bulls in the first period. However, the Bulls and goalie Thomas Heemskerk could not make the two goal lead as the Reign scored twice, the second goal coming with just 2:57 remaining in the third period. The game would go to the tie breaking shootout where the Bulls would be outscored 3-1.
The Worcester Sharks meanwhile played one game over this past weekend, where the Sharks would be victorious over the Providence Bruins 5-4. Jon Matsumoto scored the game winning goal with 10.5 seconds left in the third period. The game was a feisty affair as 134 penalty minutes were issued. This game marked the ninth time this season that the AHL Sharks have been involved in a one goal game. The Sharks also got goals from James Sheppard, Bracken Kearns, John McCarthy, and Matt Tennyson. Alex Stalock 32 saves and picked up his 10th win of the year. The Sharks currently are in third place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, but only trail the first place Portland (Maine) Pirates by three points, and the second place Providence Bruins by two points (34, 32, 31).
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays- I along with the entire Blades of Teal staff want to wish all of our readers seasons greetings. Blades of Teal by the Fansided Network has steadily grown to become one of the main resources for NHL news though all of it’s affiliate sites. Though we focus mainly of the San Jose Sharks and most recently their farm hand affiliates, we also focus on things that are relevant to what’s going on in the world of hockey. Sometimes we even focus on other sports events where relevant regional interest. The writers here put in a lot of hours and are more or less a volunteer army. However it is the readers of this site that keep us going all year around, lockout or not.
We at Blades of Teal along with all of you readers of ours eagerly await the end of the NHL lockout so we can start our unique coverage of San Jose Sharks hockey, and also not lose sight of what’s going on with the Worcester Sharks, and San Francisco Bulls. We will even resume San Jose State Spartans hockey coverage when their club team resumes play in January. We miss the NHL too and are as frustrated as you are about the going’s on which are denying us the game we all enjoy during the late fall, winter and much of the spring. We all want to do the best job we can for you and will continue to make that our goal here. Your input is not only encouraged, but wanted too. Without the readers, there is no Blades of Teal. Thanks for reading… and stay tuned, there is more to come as we press forward into the new year and hopefully soon a new NHL season too.
…Just My Two Cents…
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