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PHT’s top 13 of ’13: The lockout finally, mercifully ends

Dec 25, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr Getty Images

We always felt they’d work it out and there would be some semblance of a season.

But still, when Gary Bettman said, “Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement,” there was a huge sense of relief that the two sides were able to come together. Because there was always that slight chance they wouldn’t and the NHL would go into a deep, dark hole again.

Looking back, the thought of another canceled season so soon after the last one — as foul and obnoxious as that thought may have been, given we had no particular interest in following the KHL playoffs or going out and getting real jobs  — was in fact what kept us so optimistic. Surely they wouldn’t do it again. As we wrote last Christmas while the work stoppage was still in full effect, “it would be so unfathomably foolish” to let it get to that point.

As writers, the lockout was not an enjoyable topic to cover. It certainly wasn’t why we got into the profession; we did that to avoid getting real jobs. Sure, we got to write the odd funny headline, like “Wingels is KooKoo for Finland,” and we’ll always be proud of that. But mostly our days were filled with rehashing what was said or done by the key figures in the dispute, trying to figure out why they said it or did it, then reading angry comments from people who didn’t care about the what or the why; they just wanted their hockey back.

If there was anything that surprised us about the lockout, it was how quickly everyone forgot about it. To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t even seem like it ended this year. So much has happened since Jan. 6, and the league doesn’t seem to have been damaged whatsoever.

Maybe that shouldn’t have surprised us though. Maybe it was as simple as this: Hockey fans love hockey, and they love watching the best players in the world play it. When that was taken away, there was anger. And when it was given back, there was still anger, but not enough for fans to stay away in protest. Because why do that to yourself? To make some sort of statement? Suffice to say, there are better (or worse, as the case may be) things in the world to protest than a professional sports lockout.

That being said, the NHL better not shut down again when the current CBA expires. That right there would be the death of the league. The fans would rise up. It would be a disaster of biblical proportions. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together.

OK, so those last few sentences were actually quotes from Ghostbusters. We just really, really…really don’t want to cover another lockout. Or get real jobs.

  1. esracerx46 - Dec 25, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy Festivus everybody!!

  2. sportsfan69 - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Merry Christmas to everyone. Hockey is best sport in the world.

  3. joey4id - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    The best predictor of future behavior is passed behavior. Judging by how hockey fans have reacted to lockouts of passed seasons, and how hockey revenue has grown since Bettman became the commish I doubt the NHL brass will do anything that will hurt the future of the sport. Certainly the most memorable hockey moment of 2013 was when they announced the deal.

    2) Hawks streak
    3) Hawks SC win
    4)The trade that shocked Luongo and the hockey world
    5) Ovi’s awesome regular season performance & dismal playoff performance
    6) AVs PR blunder leading to Roy’s hiring thanks to Roy’s brother Stephane
    7) Alfie leaves the capital
    8) Nath McKinnon draft pick
    9) AVs season start
    10) Roy’s outburst against the Ducks
    11) Hertl’s 4 goal game
    12) Thornton’s suspension
    13) Concussion law suit

    • joey4id - Dec 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      14) Rogers Media/NHL deal

    • c9castine - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:08 AM

      I’m sure somebody will find a reason to criticize me for thinking that the Pens 15 game WINNING streak deserves to be mentioned as well. only the second longest streak ever…

      i feel like that trumps Roy’s tantrum, and the leaking of the news of his hiring.

  4. blomfeld - Dec 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    1) Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies ?

    2) Rivers and seas boiling ?

    3) Forty years of darkness ?

    4) Human sacrifice ?

    5) Dogs and cats living together ?

    “dear Lord, may these ‘terrible’ things never come to be, amen” …


    Dearest Brough …

    As usual, another excellent and well written article.
    Yes, those were dark times indeed, as even ‘eternal’ optimists such as myself were starting to wonder a year ago this time. All along I was convinced that the entire ordeal was a ‘premeditated and orchestrated’ charade, which had a ‘definitive’ time line based on achieving ‘certain’ financial goals. Yet there we were on Christmas day last year, contemplating the ‘apparent’ possibility that Bettman might actual do the ‘unthinkable’ and kibosh the entire season ? I was admittedly starting to wonder myself … could Stransky have been wrong ?

    But right then, when all seemed lost and people here at PHT were turning on each other like cornered vermin, the words which we all longed to hear finally came in the form of a quip by some commentator on TSN the following night … “NHL hockey will resume on January 19th at 1500 hours EST”. Our collective sigh of relief was louder than a ‘thousand’ claps of thunder and our outpouring of joy knew no bounds … hockey would be back and it would be better than ever ! And of course, Stransky had been right all along ! … :)

    In all seriousness Burrough, it has to be said again that you and your crew did a ‘terrific’ job during that turbulent and uncertain period. Somehow you guys took a very ‘negative’ situation and parlayed that into what I would call a ‘fascinating & entertaining’ period of online reading. You made something out of nothing (creativity) and you did it with a certain ‘panache’ that’s unique in the business ! So in the words of Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS … I say “good show … jolly good show !” :) :) :)

    Merry Christmas to PHT and all it’s ‘glorious’ followers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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