Thursday afternoon the NHL announced they will be canceling the first 2 weeks of regular season games. This means there will definitely not be hockey before October 24th, and the NHL will be losing an estimated 3 billion dollars in revenue. The most important upcoming date is October 15th, this is the first day players would have received their paychecks. Unfortunately, it seems this go round the players understand what they are entitled to. During the 2004-05 lockout it was the proposed salary cap that really held negotiations up, but this year there is really no huge issue.
The league officials claim this is about finding a solution for the long term benefit of the game. Interesting, because right now canceling 82 games seems like the exact opposite. I also would ask the league, why when the game is finally beginning to benefit and gain steam, are you jeopardizing the gained popularity that has already been accomplished?
I think the real issue is that the owners put a salary cap in place thinking it would inevitably benefit them in the long run. Instead it back fired and turned out better for the players than the owners. It is clear the players just want what is fair along with the opportunity to play the game they love, and play they will. The league has no real cause for this lockout, besides greed. The players are right to want what’s fair, I just wish it didn’t come at the expense of a season.
Unlike other regions Los Angeles will not be feeling the hit of the lockout, even though 4 of the Kings first 5 games were set to be played at home. Since the Staples Center is also home to the Lakers and Clippers, the show will still go on at LA Live. Other cities will not be a fortunate, inevitably losing a lot of their typical hockey related income. Hopefully the owners will open their eyes to the possibility that this lockout is not a good idea and is hurting more than just the players, but the fans and communities that depend on this game so much. Look for more information to come this weekend as labor talks are set to be resumed.