(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, November 25, 2012)
Stop patronizing me, NHL et al. I’m not patronizing you, but then you don’t have anything to sell. Your shop doors are locked.
So just don’t. NHL, don’t pretend you’re trying to avoid going broke. I know you’re just trying to get more on top of the very much you already get from the sport. NHLPA, don’t tell me I’d do the same thing in your position, I can’t even imagine being in your position. Media, stop telling me this lockout is such a bleeding catastrophe because it leaves me without hockey to watch. If you don’t know there’s plenty of hockey for me to follow, you haven’t done your homework. If someone is telling you you’re not allowed to cover anything but major league sports, I’m sorry. I can’t help you.
It doesn’t matter who I side with in the dispute. I have no say. Let me in the room, give me 20 minutes and a sturdy piece of lumber, I could probably sort it out for you but you wouldn’t like it. So don’t apologize to me, you don’t really care what I think. I’m going to watch some hockey.
The Bulls have won four in a row. The Worcester Sharks were doing just fine, so much so that maybe they won’t even call Viedensky back up in spite of those injuries they sustained last night. Okay, today isn’t looking so good. You could say they’re getting Crunched today.
I really desperately hope McCarthy is okay. And Reid, and Matsumoto and Petrecki. Petrecki was doing such a good job of proving the naysayers (including me) wrong before he got hurt. Get well soon guys, and don’t take Viedensky away just yet.
The truth about fans is most cheer for the logo. I’m sorry, but many of them wouldn’t know good hockey from a notch or two below. That’s not a terrible thing. They go to games to support the local team and have some fun. That won’t change. -Don Brennan, Ottawa Sun
Can hockey fans tell the difference between NHL hockey and other hockey? Does it matter? We know the NHL doesn’t have to worry about the “best fans in the world” but about the “yeah, I don’t have anything else to do, I’ll watch a hockey game” fans. (Newsflash: the second group has strayed, have fun rounding them up again.) The genuine hockey addicts can tell the difference between great hockey and good hockey. They enjoy it all and they are watching hockey while you bicker. They just aren’t watching your hockey.
What is the really big difference between NHL hockey and other hockey, in the eyes of fans? Television. That is it. It is a lot easier to watch a game when it’s on tv and you don’t have to buy some special cable package to see it. Hope the NHL is happy with their NBC/Comcast money, because that is the big difference between them and the rest of hockey, as far as I’m concerned.
If fans are so dedicated to the sport that we will come back whenever the NHL decides to let us back in, well, we’ll find our hockey wherever it is. We will listen to delayed audiocasts, we will follow Twitter game feeds, we will read up on the names and faces of the nearest team. And the process will be entertaining in ways that we might not have known for a long time. It’s sort of like training camp. All those faces flashing by, trying to guess who will stick and who won’t, remembering them all a little and rejoicing a bit when we see their names again somewhere else.
It’s as if hockey fans, genuine hockey fans, can find ways to enjoy hockey no matter what you do, NHL. It’s crazy how people go where the fun is without direction from you guys.
Joe Tasca had a take on the Brennan article too. I agree that folks need to dim the drama on the CBA discussions. Heck, maybe if we ignore them they’ll sort it out. But I disagree strongly with this:
When it’s all said and done, many of us will look back at the pouting we did in 2012 and laugh at ourselves for making such emotional outbursts, thankful we once again have something to cheer for on those cold and snowy winter nights. -Tasca’s Take
Hey, I have a team, more than one, to cheer for right now. I don’t have any snow, but believe it or not, the NHL has nothing to do with that. I don’t know what’s wrong with Marlies and Wolves fans. Maybe those teams need to buy some ad space on a few more billboards and buses. A hockey fan has to worry about the survival of their team, so attendance is a concern. But in the short run, how many people are at the game is a pretty small part of what I’m after. My requirements are simple: I want hockey, I get hockey.
The world doesn’t grind to a halt because one league has a tantrum, not even the hockey world. Quite the opposite, in fact. A little breakage mixes things up:
The AHL and the ECHL are not immune to the whims of the NHL. Some teams are seeing a bump in attendance. AHL Live was so unprepared for the jump in viewers that they still haven’t sorted out how to keep the feed flowing. Is it a coincidence that this happened during the NHL lockout? I doubt it.
Players are getting bumped down and out to make room for a few locked-out players coming in. That’s life on the edge. In the best of times AHL and ECHL players are a wrecked knee away from going down and out. They don’t get to spend a year or two or even the rest of the season on LTIR rehabbing or waiting for retirement. Personally, I find that compelling. Tragic and disturbing and upsetting also but still, it is compelling and a lot more sympathetic than the lockout squabble.
While the NHL sits, these other teams are winning me over. True, I was curious about them before the lockout but now I get to spend quality time with them. It’s a good thing a lot of NHL teams have affiliations with the AHL and ECHL. They get to share in the success of those affiliates, but the NHL will lose some ground as the favorite league, in my eyes and in the eyes of others. It won’t matter if they have a monopoly on the best players in their prime years. It doesn’t matter if you are the best when you don’t show up.
Don’t apologize to fans. There are people you should apologize to, people you are really genuinely hurting, but fans? Puhleez. We know your apology is just your way of begging us to come back when you have finished with your pissing match. Apologize to the people who are broke and unemployed because you felt like holding them hostage because… well, because you could.
The clock is running, the NHL is losing present and future profits by the minute, and a whole big lot of people just don’t care. Get over yourselves already. The line of people waiting to pat you on the back is getting shorter.