Fans remember what the last lockout felt like. 2004-2005 was before the explosion of social media and videos on demand. The advent of the modern sports era with bloggers and instant commentary was just beginning and so there was a ritual quality to finding out if the lockout was over. As a huge teenage Colorado Avalanche fan that year I went home every day, turned on my computer and clicked on the NHL Yahoo Sports bookmark. The page would load and some filler story about the lockout would appear. I still remember that defeat as a hockey fan. For the players, however, the feeling of not getting to play for their team will largely be new.
For the Colorado Avalanche, only three players on the current roster were locked out in 2004-05. With a young squad, this number is below the league average, but since the league average for an NHL career is just over five years, it’s not surprising that the youth is representing the league.
14 -year veteran Milan Hejduk was with the Colorado Avalanche during the lost season eight years ago. 16-year goaltender J.S. Giguere, was with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at the time. Chuck Kobasew missed his third season because of the lockout. And that’s really what these players lost, a year from their careers. Is the youth in the NHL willing to follow the same path?
The NHL was saved in part by the two first picks of the next drafts after the last lockout. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin welcomed in a new era for the NHL on two teams that benefited from the new system. The game had changed. This time around, will the players and the league see noticeable benefit from a lockout? On the Avalanche, most of the players won’t be able to compare.