NHL Roundtable – Alternatives, Lockout Victims and Hate
We are back for week 2 of the NHL Roundtable. Scott, Lauren and I each provided a question for each of us to comment on.
Question #1 (from Jeff) – With the lockout now officially on are there any other leagues/teams you plan on following?
Lauren Burg - I really am not sure. I'll probably try to follow our (Tampa Bay’s) AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, on Twitter and maybe even watch some of the Lightning players that end up overseas. However, I won't be able to attend any games because the only hockey we have near where I live is the NHL.
Scott Bluni - I'm actually a student at the University of Vermont, which is not too far away from Montreal and Quebec City. My roommates and I will definitely go to a few Ramparts games this year because Montreal is a fun place. In addition to this, I'd like to go see the Providence Bruins at some point. In addition, the University of Vermont men's hockey team is in the competitive America East NCAA conference. We play several games against BC, BU and other premier NCAA teams. I'll be going to those games frequently as well.
Jeff Lingard - I live in Peterborough, Ontario and we have one of the more recognizable Canadian junior teams here in town in the Peterborough Petes. The Petes have sent more players to the NHL than any other major Canadian junior team. I'm looking forward to following the Petes more this year as I am usually a NHL fan. I will also be paying closer attention to the San Antonio Rampage to see how the Panthers AHL prospects are doing this year.
Question #2 (from Scott) – Are the fans justified in their disapproval of Gary Bettman? If so, do you think a new commissioner should be hired?
Lauren Burg - I'd say that yes, fans are justified in their disapproval of Gary Bettman because he's had numerous chances. When you are commissioner for THREE lockouts there's something wrong with what you're doing. Plus, he and the owners are the ones responsible for this lockout. The players made it clear in the beginning that they were willing to play as long as negotiations were ongoing; Bettman and the owners shot that down. Right now, all fans want is to be able to watch NHL hockey. The players were willing to give fans that opportunity; Bettman/owners were not.
Scott Bluni - Alright this guy does not care about the fans at this point. He's a stubborn old man with a superiority complex who feels the dire need to lockout the league. It's either Bettman's way or the highway. I've been seeing the #ImpeachBettman and #NoNHLLockout12 hashtags all over twitter for the past 2-3 months and I think it's time for a new change. You can clearly see how everyone disapproves of his attitude and I think the fans are absolutely justified in wanting a new commissioner. Maybe Donald Fehr? He's clearly proven already that he wants to make moves that will benefit both sides of this disagreement.
Jeff Lingard - I think a fan is justified in their disapproval of Gary Bettman since there is no logical reason why he still has his job. I thought one of the consequences, salary cap or no salary cap, of the lost season was a new commissioner. He has been a failure much more than a success in his job with his history and the fact he is so stubborn and arrogant. My worry with the chance of a prolonged lockout is that the players do not trust the owners and do not like Bettman. One of the main reasons that a season was lost in 2004 is that the owners hated Bob Goodenow so much that they were willing to sacrifice a season. I am worried that the shoe is now on the other foot and the players won’t make a deal with Bettman in place.
Question #3 (from Lauren) - Who do you think loses the most during the lockout, whether it be fans, teams or both, and why?
Lauren Burg - My answer to that would be fans. We spend so much time and money watching this game. Also, some fans use hockey as their mini escape from all the stresses of everyday life. Teams, and players, can absorb a lost season by doing community stuff in order to gain fans. Plus, the teams could end up saving money over a specific period of time if they think something like this might happen. Fans, on the other hand, don't always have the same luxury. While we save money by having no games to attend it also drives many of us insane to not have the one thing that makes our life complete.
Scott Bluni - Everyone loses something. Just look at Mike Modano's recent tweets about the 2004 lockout. He lost almost $7M during the lockout season, which is a ton of money! The workers who prepare ice and work in concessions for the arenas and organizations also lose their jobs. The fans are losing their love, the game. Hockey is one of the most emotional and creative games in the world and we're all forced to lose it because some dumb millionaires want more money. When it comes down to it, it's hard to say who loses the most. We all lose something and that in itself should be a good reason for the owners and NHLPA to work out a resolution.
Jeff Lingard - Everyone loses with this lockout. Even if there are some financial advantages in the short term for some of the owners the potential long term damage that a lockout could cause probably outweigh these savings. The players have the most to lose from a gross amount of dollars standpoint but the real losers are the arena staff, ice workers, concession workers and other service industry people that will be laid off/lose their jobs because of the lockout. I'm sure restaurant owners have to have additional staff on game nights and now that need is gone and these are jobs that affect lower income people and families. If the owners really wanted to win the PR battle and do the right thing they would compensate these workers. The owners are locking out the players, not the arena workers or parking attendants or the guy that fixes the scoreboard and needs the money.
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