There have been many words exchanged during the National Hockey League lockout and now it appears the end game has arrived with a mid-January deadline upcoming to save the 2012-13 season. If the two sides can decide by then, the season could get underway on Jan. 19 with a 48-game schedule. Does anyone actually see this happening though? I really can’t see it happening.
The NHL has found a way to cancel over 2,000 games in their last two lockouts including a lost season under a decade ago. It has become obvious that the sport is too big for its own good and huge contracts to free agents aren’t helping matters. If the sport wants to survive, it has to go back to its roots and give out contracts that aren’t as long or for as much money. The fans who do stick around don’t want to pay higher ticket prices to pay for the high-priced players.
If and when the lockout ends, the NHL has a public relations matter ahead of them in getting people back into the seats. I really don’t know how exactly they plan to do that because many bridges have been burned over the last decade. There are some fans that are still angry and bitter from the last lockout and television ratings for last year’s Stanley Cup were miserable. Could the NHL reduce teams or the schedule so the season ends while it is still somewhat cold in April? That has to be a solution somewhere but it appears the people involved right now can’t find it.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.