NHL Lockout has ARRIVED!! | September 17, 2012
As of Saturday the 15th of September, 11:59 PM the NHL CBA expired. This is the 4th lockout since the 1992-1993 seasons, over 1500 games have been missed, most recently the lockout happened in 2004-05 when the entire season was cancelled, and Gary Bettmen sure does love a lockout.
Like the NFL and NBA the owners of the NHL want more balanced revenue sharing with the NBA and NFL having it much closer to a 50/50 split. Gary Bettman is suggesting that the league is making a loss but the latest figures show the league actually made $3.3 Billion dollars. It’s a real disappoint for the fans, a loyal fanbase to the sport who have been let down again for the 4th time, as well the workers, shop owners who won’t see any income coming in with no hockey.
Now begs the question what will happen to the players? No paychecks? Players give in? Possibly but the solution like in 04/05 players will go abroad and play their trade across Europe. Most players will get sent down to the AHL but major stars of the league will able to get paid abroad while the lockout is in place.
We are already seeing player movement mainly in the KHL (Russian league) with Malkin of the Penguins, Gonchar of the Sens signing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk as recent as the CBA deadline expired. The KHL have put in some rules in place so that teams don’t go crazy, trying to snap up every NHL players including 150 NHL games played, KHL experience, World/Junior championship experience, only allowed 3 import players and not allowed to exceed 65% of the players NHL contract. Expect plenty of more movement from the KHL with the season starting last week, players will able to come early into the season and fit into the season instead of middle of the season and finding it difficult to adjust. Players who were meant to get sent down to the AHL like Nail Yakupov has decided it would be better for him to go to the KHL with the league being more competitive. The main prize will be Sidney Crosby and with Malkin signed up, Metallurg will try and snatch him up. The Likes of Hudler, Ovichken, Kovalchuck will also have host teams after them.
In 2004/05 the Swedish and Swiss league were popular amongst players but currently the rules are unclear for the Swiss league and the Swedish league has already stated they won’t allow Elitserien(1st division) contracts for NHL players but I would expect that to change as strangely the 2nd division of Swedish Hockey will allow NHL players to come and ply their trade there.
It will be a interesting few weeks for teams across Europe as they fight for NHL players to sign with them. With the KHL having most of the money expect a lot of the players to go back home and play although other divisions across Europe are expected to be doing a U-turn on NHL players. The ball will be back in the owner’s court if the players are getting paid abroad and both sides’ will need to find a middle ground quickly. Another interesting fact is that the KHL is trying to get a TV deal in North America trying to capitalise on the lockout. Personally I expect to see some games missed due to the lockout and the season beginning in November, with both sides still quite a far apart. Ice Hockey is a sport that has seen far too many lockouts in its time and the loyal fan base does not deserve this treatment.