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?
Mar 2, 2015, 11:23 PM EST
Kimmo Timonen and Antoine Vermette made their debuts.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:49 PM EST
San Jose beat Montreal 4-0 on Monday.
Mar 2, 2015, 9:56 PM EST
An impressive effort for a team going all-in.
Mar 2, 2015, 9:03 PM EST
Then again, Taylor Beck’s helper might have been better.
Mar 2, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
He’ll pair with Sergei Gonchar to start.
Mar 2, 2015, 7:31 PM EST
Adding versatility in a tough West.
Mar 2, 2015, 6:49 PM EST
Quite a rebound from a scary lacerated arm.
Mar 2, 2015, 5:59 PM EST
“We were looking to upgrade, add more of a veteran presence.”
Mar 2, 2015, 5:49 PM EST
“It’s just hard to get a deal done, and you see the prices are so high.”
Mar 2, 2015, 5:25 PM EST
Was it just a sellers’ market?
Mar 2, 2015, 5:10 PM EST
He gets a no-trade clause in the first year of the deal.
Mar 2, 2015, 5:09 PM EST
“Devastating” news for the Calgary Flames.
Mar 2, 2015, 4:47 PM EST
He was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season.
Mar 2, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
All the latest leading up to 3 p.m. ET…
Mar 2, 2015, 3:57 PM EST
They were “adamant” about bolstering their blue line.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:44 PM EST
Second trade of the day for Boston.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:38 PM EST
Former 13th overall pick.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
A 31-year-old for a 23-year-old.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:15 PM EST
For the price of a second-round pick in 2017.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:07 PM EST
Busy day for Montreal.
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- Lovejoy returns to Pittsburgh for Despres 50
- Wild get Stewart as Buffalo-to-Minnesota pipeline continues 53
- Jordan Leopold’s daughter may have orchestrated the Minnesota trade 17
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