Nov 5, 2012, 3:11 PM EST
For some, the cancelation of the 2013 Winter Classic was the worst moment of the lockout.
But could it also be the most important?
Friday’s scrapping of the NHL’s annual outdoor game was met with doom and gloom. The Winter Classic is, after all, the league’s signature regular season event and a television ratings bonanza.
Canceling an event of this nature was significant. In addition to the public relations nightmare and lost viewership, an estimated economic impact of $30-$35 million fell by the wayside.
So too did the Hockeytown Winter Festival and, at the risk of getting all schmaltzy on you, the joy and excitement of the 80,000-90,000 people that had already purchased tickets.
“If [Gary Bettman’s] willing to cancel that, I don’t know why he’d want to play a season after that, because that’s the highlight of the year,” he explained. “So if he’s willing to throw away that game, then the balance of the season, I would think, is definitely on the line.”
Bettman’s reputation precedes him in these instances. This is the third lockout of his 19-year tenure as NHL commissioner, and he remains the only commissioner in North American pro sports to lose an entire season to a work stoppage.
Fear that scrapping the Winter Classic would lead to a canceled season might’ve been very real for players. Perhaps that’s why, during Thursday’s conference call, NHLPA members expressed they wanted their leadership to do more negotiating.
Something else to consider…
We’ve seen past instances where labor negotiations were kickstarted by a significant event — a recent example came during the NFL-NFLRA lockout, which started in June and lasted nearly four full months, with replacement officials working all four weeks of the preseason and 48 regular season games.
Despite both sides appearing entrenched in their respective positions and far from a deal, the work stoppage was solved in 48 hours after a highly publicized incident during Seattle’s 14-12 victory over Green Bay on Monday Night Football.
A controversial, game-deciding touchdown call by a replacement official was roundly criticized — on-air, ESPN color commentator Jon Gruden called it “tragic and comical” — and within days, the regular officiating crews were back working games.
Now back to hockey.
On Friday, the Winter Classic was canceled.
Within 48 hours, the following happened:
— News leaked of the NHL making concessions to its “Make Whole” policy.
— NHL commissioner Bill Daly met with NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr for a lengthy discussion that “covered a lot of ground.”
— Reports surfaced that the NHL and NHLPA were set to resume meetings this week.
All of which begs the question: Did the lockout just have its Golden Tate moment?
Feb 1, 2015, 10:37 AM EST
St. Louis is 9-0-1 in its last 10 games.
Feb 1, 2015, 9:37 AM EST
A big hip check and three assists from the defenseman.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:41 AM EST
Got a little help, too. Quick whistle on Toews chances.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:55 AM EST
Stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:07 AM EST
No call. Got a little testy out there after that hit.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:17 PM EST
Boston maintaining their hold on a Wild Card spot.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:23 PM EST
Maybe February will be better?
Jan 31, 2015, 9:44 PM EST
Battle of Alberta isn’t what it used to be.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:57 PM EST
Scary moment, but he has stayed in the game.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:27 PM EST
Goal No. 715 of his career.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
Short-handed, too! *Thumbs up*
Jan 31, 2015, 7:43 PM EST
Starting Sunday, these teams will play each other three times in 16 days.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:16 PM EST
Obviously not smart.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:46 PM EST
Allowed five goals on 20 shots.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:19 PM EST
Two losses in a row for the Islanders.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:53 PM EST
Was put on waivers, cleared, and sent to the minors this week.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:22 PM EST
Took part in team skate on Saturday.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:47 PM EST
Detroit is forcing itself into the Stanley Cup conversation.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:08 PM EST
Montreal has put pressure on Tampa Bay in the battle for the Eastern Conference lead.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:48 PM EST
He has a degenerative back injury that might lead to career-ending surgery.
- Leafs scoring slump hits historical low 20
- Video: Rangers’ Lundqvist takes puck to the neck 9
- Zamboni driver arrested for DUI, allegedly cleaned ice surface while drunk 16
- Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL 12
- Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout 9
- Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis 5
- Bettman would be ‘kicking and screaming’ before NHL jerseys have ads 27
- Comparing the records of all 30 teams in the last two months 61
- Lightning ride Paquette’s first hat trick to Atlantic lead 8
- Price wins goalie duel vs. Lundqvist as Habs edge Rangers 4