Admittedly, this is a crack-ass theory (see, we can totally swear even earlier in the posts!). The NHL inhabits a different atmosphere than the NBA or NFL, and whatever applies to them probably doesn’t apply to the NHL. But let’s just have some fun with this, because we’ve got nothing else to do here. And this has nothing to do with how whatever agreement they come to will affect the league and teams.
Both the NFL and NBA have had work-stoppages in the past year. When both leagues returned, they did so to record TV ratings and interest. And the NFL never actually missed anything, other than a free-agency period, which isn’t quite the frenzy that the NBA or NHL has on July 1st.
Why? I’m sure there are plenty of theories. The NBA has the whole Lebron and counterbalance drama, as well as a fascinating young team in OKC that you pretty much had to watch. The NFL is the insatiable sporting monster of this country, gobbling up eyeballs and interest and brains at a rate that’s pretty hard to fathom.
But I’d like to think that there’s a little more to it than that. I’d like to think that the threat of having it all taken away (in the NBA’s case) or having any of it taken away which hadn’t happened 24 years (in the NFL’s case) made it more special when it did arrive in the local arena/stadium or TV screen. I’d like to think that the start of the season was made more special because of the threat that it might not have happened at all, and thus made it more of an event you had to see. Like you don’t know what you got until it’s gone, if you happen to be listening to Cinderella at the moment (though why would you be? Except for Gypsy Road. That song wasn’t bad).
Granted, NHL fans just did this. And it’s pretty clear we aren’t going anywhere. But we don’t have near the numbers that the NBA or NFL does. But I wonder if having a delayed start and talk of possibly no season at all would make the more casual fan notice the opening of the season more. Let’s face it, even the most hardcore of us kind of regard October hockey with guarded enthusiasm, and for most people it doesn’t feel like hockey season until it snows.
But would a lot of talk of missing a whole season, and then the buzz of an agreement and a season saved put more eyeballs onto the first games? I wonder.
-While I think most of us side with the players in these discussions, even if both the NHLPA and NHL releasing videos trying to court us, there is one myth the players are perpetuating that should be cleared up. There’s this narrative that in 2004-2005 the players “gave up a lot.” And they make it sound like they did it out of the kindness of their hearts.
If that were the case we wouldn’t have missed out on a whole season, would we? Even though back then the system was completely cocked, the player didn’t exactly welcome the idea of a salary cap and a reduction in salaries with open arms. They were obstinate and confrontational. They were disorganized and uninformed. They didn’t “sacrifice” as you’ve heard. They were too busy trying to knife each other in the back, with their agents gleefully joining in. They had to be completely broken to get an agreement. This wasn’t an act of generousness.
So while they have come farther than the owners this time, they are not saints here.