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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

In this case, it's that of an oncoming train.

First, they canceled their season.

Now ESPN is canceling them.

What will happen next? (See Off-Wing Opinion for some of the best blog coverage on ice hockey).

It's unclear, but with no players and no TV contract, what else can go wrong for the NHL?

Looking at it another way, what could go right?

Some say that if you're going to have a fracture, a clean break is the best because it's the easiest to heal. I'm not so sure that this adage is applicable to fractious relations between ownership and players in a major sports league. Because in the NHL's case, a clean break means there's a big chasm between the two parties.

One party can't handle the hits to its top and bottom lines that its teams are taking. The other party's membership hasn't full fathomed the ramifications of driving beer trucks in Flin Flon and Medicine Hat for a living when they could be sipping champagne at Four Seasons Hotels around the league, even with reduced wages. Until both sides feel some pain or anxiety, the NHL will continue to drift. . . into an abyss for which there doesn't appear to be a bridge.

If I were the powers that be in the NHL, I'd make a solid play for televising college hockey, which has a big following. A friend of mine and his family go to the Frozen Four every year, and they've come away each year marveling at the spirit of the event. It could well be time for most of America to marvel at it too.


Anonymous SCJ said...

Nice post. I'm all for more coverage of college hockey.

12:33 AM  

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