Nov 5, 2012, 3:11 PM EDT
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?
May 23, 2013, 12:14 AM EDT
It initially made it look like he suffered an injury.
May 22, 2013, 11:40 PM EDT
Trent Whitfield has now been on the wrong end of history twice.
May 22, 2013, 10:59 PM EDT
John Tortorella would be proud.
May 22, 2013, 10:42 PM EDT
The Penguins “have too much depth.”
May 22, 2013, 10:15 PM EDT
Ottawa’s strong first period was wasted.
May 22, 2013, 9:02 PM EDT
He’s been reaching out to agents and players.
May 22, 2013, 8:20 PM EDT
Mike Halford and Jason Brough tackle that question.
May 22, 2013, 7:58 PM EDT
He also wants to express his gratitude to the Vancouver Canucks.
May 22, 2013, 7:17 PM EDT
Beau Bennett and Jussi Jokinen have been inserted into the lineup.
May 22, 2013, 7:04 PM EDT
Two swift playoff exits sunk the Canucks’ coach.
May 22, 2013, 6:16 PM EDT
His career has gone downhill since being part of the Hodgson trade.
May 22, 2013, 5:53 PM EDT
Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault joins the fray.
May 22, 2013, 5:18 PM EDT
“As long as they keep winning here, that just gives me a better chance for a return with every win.”
May 22, 2013, 4:20 PM EDT
“Will we look at them? Absolutely.”
May 22, 2013, 3:50 PM EDT
Pittsburgh’s power play is just 1-for-12 in its past two games.
May 22, 2013, 3:48 PM EDT
Vancouver cleans house.
May 22, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT
Decent goaltending depth in Anaheim at the moment.
May 22, 2013, 2:47 PM EDT
Click to read two good reasons.
May 22, 2013, 2:42 PM EDT
This should make the Keith Ballard buyout easier to stomach.
May 22, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT
Go have your say.
- Sens’ Alfredsson: We probably won’t win this series 9
- Discuss: Penguins overwhelm Senators to take Game 4 33
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting 49
- Gillis: Vigneault fired because results weren’t there 18
- Official: Canucks fire head coach Vigneault, assistants Bowness and Brown 31
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? 94
- Playoffs Tonight: Senators confident they can beat Penguins 38
- Video: Kings denied a goal after quick whistle 29
- Tweet from L.A. Kings Twitter account stirs controversy 62
- Discuss: Sharks take Game 4, even semifinal series against Kings 15
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (94)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (92)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Penner blasts refs for having ‘gall to guess’ on goalie interference call (64)
- LeBron stuns Pacers with OT winner in Game 1
- Pens overwhelm Sens, take 3-1 series lead
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful
- Bears great Urlacher announces retirement
- HBT: Canseco suspect in Vegas sexual assault
- Posnanski on Golf: Sergio shows disdain for Tiger
- OlyTalk: Coach K will lead Team USA in Rio Games