General view of an empty Pepsi Center before a Colorado Avalanche game. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

NHL Opening Night; The Night That Never Was

As any NHL fan knows tonight would’ve been opening night for the NHL and I could’ve been watching the Boston Bruins travel to Pennsylvania to play the Philadelphia Flyers or any of the other 3 matchups scheduled, but instead I’ll be watching a lopsided NFL game with a terrible Cee-Lo Green intro song or “Prometheus” (if my girlfriend even lets me decide what to watch).

I tend to lose power of the TV when hockey is not on, it’s one of the things she lets me have. Every relationship has compromises, you need to pick your battles (something the NHL and NHLPA apparently never learned). So, now not only is the NHL losing money for everyone involved directly and indirectly by not playing games, but now it’s shifting the balance of power in my own home.

At the very least I have my own mens league hockey game to play in tonight. It’s a non-checking league (everyone has to go to their real jobs in the morning people) but I’m guessing I’ll be a little more aggressive than usual tonight knowing I’m paying to play glorified pond hockey and the NHL can’t figure out how to get a league that generated 3.3 billion dollars last year running in a way that makes everyone happy and wealthy.

In other awesome NHL news, the NHL and NHLPA met today to continue CBA talks and possibly get the season started sometime this year. But according to NHLPA head Donald Fehr, the discussions weren’t about the core economic issues. By core economic issues he means the stuff that is causing the biggest hiccups, for example player contracts, salary cap issues and how to share the $3.3 billion we were talking about earlier.

“We had no discussion of the major economic issues or system issues, so that continues to be a disappointment from our perspective,” Fehr said. “I think we’re making progress in a number of the areas that were discussed, which include health and safety, drug testing issues, medical care. They were good discussions. It’s a shame that they are going on in the midst of a lockout when we could be doing it while we’re playing, or we could’ve been doing it a month ago or two months ago”

If you don’t remember or missed it, the players proposed to the NHL that they could start the season on time and just play under the now expired CBA until a new one is drafted. However NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners weren’t having it and decided its best not to play any games and meet once or twice a month to discuss “non-economic issues”. It’s a decision I’m sure the NHL made with its fans, you know the people who support the NHL and whose money they are arguing over, in mind.

Finally, at least in the United States of America this weekend there will be youth hockey games played, mens league games, college games and AHL games. Most college (big Hockey East fan) and AHL games can be streamed online (legally and illegally) or watched on your local sports news station. Also in Canada TSN will be airing AHL games this weekend. Not to mention you’ve always been able to stream the games NHL players are playing in overseas on your computer, although I must say KHL games are brutal to watch.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again right now, commissioner Bettman and the owners can kill a hockey league, but they cannot kill hockey.

Tags: Donald Fehr Gary Bettman NHL NHLPA

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