There are a host of reasons to be upset about the looming NHL lockout by the NHL owners. The silent arenas and inability to watch a sheet of ice be carved up for 60 minutes of the fastest game on Earth is going to be disappointing, but for two fan bases, it could be drastic.
The Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation is still rocky at best and I detailed the reasons for its potential contraction this summer. The ongoing saga has reached ridiculous proportions as it began in 2009 with the team filing for bankruptcy. To this point, the NHL has propped up the team as commissioner Gary Bettman refuses to admit his mistake in moving a hockey team to the desert. While the very small contingent of Coyotes’ fans howls for resolution, could the team soon be a casualty of the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement?
If the NHL is going to truly threaten to cut one franchise, they might want to add a second to the mix. Cutting almost seven percent of the NHL workforce would definitely get talks moving and put the owners back in favor. The Dallas Stars’ rocky financial situation and the Columbus Blue Jackets lack of management make them the most likely targets for contraction.
There are two reasons the league could consider the contraction option. Cutting the workforce by 6% would send serious concern through the NHL players union. It is most likely to be used as a threat, but if the players do not budge with the threat, the league would have no choice.
The second reason for contraction comes from the league’s proposal to shift from six divisions to four conferences. The Players Association vetoed the realignment because they said it lacked competitive balance since two leagues would have seven teams and two would have six. Contracting two teams would knock the players out on multiple levels. It could definitely come into play in the Nuclear Winter of the NHL.