WARNING: This entry is a pure venting and ranting session for me. If you don’t want to hear me get mad over small-market team owners and the media, please skip this entry or come back later.
After Wednesday’s announcement of the cancellation of the season, I was sad and frustrated that they could not come to an agreement to save the season. After hearing the result of yesterday’s session, I am angry, pissed off, and really frustrated that an agreement was not made. As you could probably tell from previous entries, I always placed more blame with the owners, specifically Bettman for the mess we’re in. After today’s fiasco, my “belief” in who to blame has increased at least tenfold.
But first, I want to vent my frustrations over the media. I realize that many used sources who believed that this deal was going to happen, but then things changed at the last minute. When usually credible media like The Hockey News, TSN, and ESPN said the deal was imminent, I was excited but remained cautious. EJ Hradek kept guaranteeing a deal and said that in principle they had agreed and it was going to be done Saturday or Sunday. Same with Eklund. I wish they had reported them as rumors and to remain cautious instead of “the deal is going to happen this weekend, we’re just waiting for them to announce the un-cancellation of the season.” I got really excited around 3:45 about the prospect that in a couple hours they would be un-cancelling the season. In 30 minutes when the meeting ended, fans were in for a big surprise. The talks ended with sides further apart before and pissed off and angry players.
Talk about a roller coaster ride and I’m totally sick of it. If I didn’t love hockey so much and my Red Wings, I’d be gone from the sport forever. I’m truly worried about the state of this league whenever it returns (which who knows if we’ll even have it by this fall).
I feel that Bettman is pushing for a cap to “save” the teams in the non-traditional hockey-loving regions (ie. Miami, Nashville, etc.). Well after this lockout (and all that the fans have been put through in the past 4 days), the casual fan will probably be gone. That wipes out a majority of fans in those ‘problem’ regions putting us right back at square one even after an agreement is reached.
On top of that, these problem areas actually veto the only deal/chance we had to truly save the season! According to Fan 590, the owners of the Preds and Panthers totally opposed increasing the cap by $2.5 million to $45. They then whined to 6 other teams and convinced them to veto the deal. Now no further talks are scheduled and they are further then ever. Fellow Wings fans in the LetsGoWings.com forum voiced some opinions following that report:
– Further reason to contract the Preds and Panthers.
– How can two owners who don’t even deserve teams call the shots of the entire league?
– “It upsets me that hockey is canceled because owners who have no right to have a team are ruining it for fans who go out and support their teams. It’s not fair that owners like Carolina and Nashville, even Chicago can’t draw fans because of fan apathy have ruined hockey, possibly forever, for fans who can and strongly support their teams. So I apologize for my outburst, but I do hope you understand the anger directed at owners like Nashville’s who have ruined it for every hockey fan…over $2.5MM dollars no less.” (Barnes52)
I couldn’t agree more. I’m sorry that you two owners were stupid enough to agree to a franchise in an area that most likely wasn’t going to work- it’s not my fault. I’m sorry that you aren’t getting enough attendance and can’t afford the expensive payrolls. But hello- a salary cap of $45 million does NOT mean you have to spend that much. Seriously, that’s the MAXIMUM and not the minimum.
And I also have problems with some of the teams who were rumored to have also taken part in the “veto 8.” (1) Boston. Stop being cheap and deal with it. You are in a region that loves hockey and you can afford $2.5 more in a salary cap. Once again, you don’t HAVE to spend up to that limit. (2) Chicago. We all know Wirtz is not making the most of a great sports city, much less a hockey-loving one. If you actually made wise business investments, you’re franchise could be doing amazing. (3) Edmonton. I don’t mind as much that they opposed this. They do have many small business owners owning the team and are not rich like the single person owner who has millions or billions of dollars. But Canada loves hockey, why would you want do axe this season because of $2.5!? (4) Carolina. Even after they reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2002, attendance was still poor. I’m not denying there are some passionate fans there, but the region just doesn’t support hockey.
The result of today’s meeting only reaffirmed my beliefs for a need of contraction and my blame for the owners. I don’t really blame the Wings’ owner, Ilitch. Yes, he certainly most helped play a role in the quick increase of player salaries. However, he could afford to pay these contracts. Even if he faced a loss after the end of the season, he was willing to continue to cough up money for the star players. Owners who can’t afford to cover or aren’t willing to cover those expensive contracts (whether it be b/c of a bad region or poor attendance or whatever) should not get those players. It’s a matter of simple business, really.
“At this stage of the lockout, the fans are licking their wounds and trying to find some closure in knowing the season is cancelled. So all talks should’ve been via email, phone, and totally secret from us. There is no reason for them to be publically meeting right now…You don’t make your loyal fans believe something is going to get done when that is as far from the truth as we’ve learned. It is totally irresponsible and shows a lack of respect to the fans and everyone that cares. The damage they did by holding this public meeting this morning is huge. By waking up the fans and giving us hope again, we expected a result other than what we’ve seen for the past 9 months.” – Brian at On The Wings
After today’s bizarre roller coaster ride, I’m disgusted with how they (NHL/NHLPA/Media) did things. This only worsened the image of the league and crushed the (at the time) realistic hopes of thousands of fans. You ruined your chance at ESPN picking up the option to the TV deal or keeping some of your big advertisers. You’ve cost restaurants/bars/businesses based on hockey or surrounding arenas money and lost jobs. You’ve turned dedicated fans away from the sport and you even have players pissed off at the owners, not just frustrated anymore.
Why would you have a meeting only 3 days after cancelling it if it wasn’t to save the season (and be fairly confident to do so)? You know the fans needed time for closure and let the wounds heal. It’s like they put salt on an already open wound. Thanks a lot.