NHL Will Regain Past

There is only one good side to the NHL lockout and its effect in the United States….people here have no long-term memory! No one in this country is still “upset” over the 1994 baseball strike. However, hockey has do to more work since it is not “America’s past-time.”

But what WAS the NHL’s “glory?” Was it being called the “Next Big Thing?” So what! Who cares about being the Next Big Thing unless you turn out to BE the Big Thing. The NHL never did, it never surpassed the NBA in popularity (at least on TV) and it has only declined.

The NHL had “Glory years” where only hardcore fans paid any attention, goal scoring was up and the game was fast-paced and exciting. Well, by the looks of it, thats what the next few years should bring…new rules to open up the game and increase scoring and, well, less fans watching!

The NHL is primed to re-enter its “Glory Years.”

However, there are a few MAJOR differences between then and now.

1) The NYR, LAKings, and Blackhawks were perennial playoff teams. The Rangers were good, the Kings had The Great One, and the Blackhawks fans were able to watch games on TV. All of that is different and while they may make the playoffs, they havent been CONTENDERS in 10 years. I’m sure you in Detroit and Toronto are sick of hearing this, but its true. Look back at where the league was 11-12 years ago.

2) Whos the star? The General Public (GP) knew who Wayne Gretzky was. He was in LA, he was on Saturday Night Live and he was going to break Gordie Howe’s records. We knew this because we were bombarded. Nowadays, no one sees the Stars until the All Star Break. They arent on TV or radio giving interviews. They are only miked(sp) during a select few broadcasts. We dont know who these stars are, adn thats a big problem. If the GP doesnt know, the sport wont grow.

But the NHL can easily regain its “glory” and possibly push itself beyond the NBA. From what I’ve read in the papers, the amount of coverage the NBA Finals got was about 2 or 3 extra pages on average more than the NHL finals.

With fixing the game to bring excitement and energy to the arena and marketing the stars who DESERVE it, the NHL can get back to where it once was. It wont take one season, but likely the WHOLE length of the new CBA.

When it comes time to negotiate the next CBA, the NHL and the PA are going to have to make a decision. The league will NOT be able to afford another lockout/cancelled season. Hardcore fans will be sick of labor issues each and every time a CBA must be discussed. Another lockout will cause the NHLs major fanbase(the hardcore fan) to finally give up.

Whenever the new CBA is up for renegotiation, I hope both the PA and NHL have made significant profits that a few tweaks here and there can fix any issue. Give the players a few more % of the revenue, or change the salary floor and Cap. Whatever it is, there cannot be a lockout.

The NHL has had a strike, a lockout, and a cancelled season in 13 years. Each longer than the previous. The biggest change the NHL can make is that when this new CBA expires, there IS NOT a strike, or a lockout, or a cancelled season.

If they can avoid that, I think the NHL will be poised for bigger and better things.