Lockout Limbo

This is a story about how we got stuck in limbo. Lockout Limbo. That is where the fans, players and NHL executives are trapped until this CBA business is all tied up. It was only a matter of time before the NHL announced to canceling of the remaining pre-season games of 2012. Who cares about the pre-season! Just please tell me that these next  three days of meetings between the NHL and the PA will finally amount to something in regards to the long awaited CBA. Could their agreement on secondary issues be a sign that negotiations are finally becoming that…negotiations?  After 5 hours of meetings yesterday…the two sides were scheduled to meet again this morning at 7:00AM [pacific time] and again at some point on Sunday. Only time will tell if this round of meetings hold any wait. I’d like to say that with both sides agreeing on some secondary issues that there is hope that there will be some progress moving forward[probably not as quick as all the fans would like…but progress of any kind right now is a step forward!]. Oh how nice it would be to hear that these weekend discussions have led to some serious progress!

In other news Mr.Katz [aka the owner of the Edmonton Oilers] issued a public apology to the city of Edmonton for not taking the fans and their passion into consideration when he toured Seattle as a possible relocation destination. Maybe good old GB[aka Gary Bettman] should consider issuing an apology to ALL the fans of the NHL for this THIRD lockout limbo he has forced upon us.

Oh Lockout Limbo…how I hope you end so very soon. I am tired of it already…and all we have missed so far is the pre-season. Yesterday was National Jersey Day in Canada…and well you all know how I’ve been itching to sport the blue & green again…so I couldn’t resist:

MY FINGERS ARE CROSSED that as the pre-season is officially off the table that SOON GB & Fehr will announce a new CBA and the re-instate the season!!

Its time for this ridiculous Lockout Limbo to end. None of us enjoy this state of uncertainty as the *pending season* hangs in the balance. This story of the fans, NHL executives and NHL players being stuck in Lockout Limbo is driving me crazy! I just want the season to freaking start already!! Who’s with me?! I know, I know…this lockout has many people down…BUT I’m choosing to remain optimistic. You can join me or decide not to, the choice is yours. There is always room for hope even when some say no. I say what is the harm in having a little faith? There is none as it is my choice. I choose to be optimistic because there is point in being negative about something that I have no control over. Just because we are stuck in this oh this so terrible Lockout Limbo…does not mean that my love of the game is stuck in limbo. My love of hockey will continue regardless of the length of this Lockout Limbo corner that Bettman has forced us all into until that new CBA is reached. I must say…this corner of Lockout Limbo is crowded….it is high time to officially reward the fans with the remainder of the 2012-2013 season.

Do you remember when fans all around the league razzed one another about their ridiculous loyalty to their teams? That is the usual practice. The ONE positive thing about this Lockout Limbo is that ALL fans from ALL different teams are uniting together [regardless of their regular season loyalty] to make their voices heard as one

Oh Lockout Limbo….how tired of you I grow every day! Oh Lockout Limbo…how I look forward to [SOON…I hope!] hearing that you are no more. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

We [the FANS] miss the game even more as October nears…

It is nearly October. My jersey is itching to come off the hanger as the calendars nears what is supposed to be the 1st game of the year. I do still have hope [yes you may think I’m naive but I choose to be optimistic despite all the naysayers!] that the season can be salvaged. It has only been 11 days since the lockout was officially enacted…but each day that passes as more players sign abroad and as players that are exceeding abroad is only making me miss the game even more. Yes there are other leagues…but none have quite the hold on me that the NHL or my Canucks do. There is a flickering of hope [yes hope…don’t call me naive, I’m only choosing to be optimistic rather than pessimistic!] as CBA talks are set to resume Friday between the NHL and the PA. It is time to just simply get a deal done. Will everyone be happy with the results when that day comes? Probably not…but someone is eventually going to have to cave before any progress can made.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it has forced its way into it…and refuses to leave as long as this war of words continues between the NHL and the PA. The puck is not going to slap itself…let’s get a deal done so WE can ALL watch the game WE ALL love!!

Check out the link below for an awesome video montage that perfectly captures the game we all love:). All credit goes to ‘allisonwearsorange’ for creating this collection of great hockey moments:). The players may be locked out, but we the fans simply miss the game and moments we love like the ones in this video. Plus who doesn’t love the Springsteen vocals backing the video? Warning…this video may make you miss the game even more!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGDwr_TNqeQ

The players may be locked out but that doesn’t mean we stop being fans of the game and all the great moments that it has brought. The players may be locked out but that does not stop me loving the game. I may not be a fan of the politics that are responsible for delaying the game, but I am a fan of the game. When the game returns I will still be a fan. I look forward to all the moments that a new season brings….moments that some may predict and others that will completely take us by surprise. I look forward to the season that still yet to come [albeit a shortened one] and all the moments that will make us gasp and say “Did that just happen?” or make an entire arena stand on their feet in a state of absolute joy as their team has just scored the winning goal in sudden death overtime! Does it really matter who is right any more in this war of words between the two sides? [maybe that Detroit exec is regretting his comparison of the players to cattle after his $250,000 fine? Seriously? the players are cattle and the owners are ranch owners? That was definitely an unnecessary low blow.] Stop throwing insults at one another and realize that the fans simply miss the game not your money squabbles. Just because we are stuck in lockout mode, does not mean that fans have forgotten just how awesome hockey is….just click to link above for a reminder! The season from the moment it begins is unpredictable, each team will have its own ups and downs, each will have a stretch drive to the playoffs, and 16 teams will fight tooth and nail to make it to the final before ONE team wins it all. Do not rob the fans who have ALWAYS been loyal to the game. Get a deal done so we can all once again race to the arenas or race to watch the games with friends and family. Once again we can all go crazy together as we always do when the game is on and our team or favourite players are scoring goals and winning games. Bring back the game. Bring back the unpredictability. Bring back the ups and downs. Bring back the season. Bring back the simplicity that was the game. Bring back a deal that will unite the owners and the players. Bring back the 2012-2013 season so we can ALL celebrate a great season into June.

October is around the corner and usually that means the city is taken over by blue and green everywhere you look. Game days bring out everyone in their game day attire and all the transit buses sport ‘Go Canucks Go’ alternating with their route number. With no games yet to be officially announced or canceled, my jersey is itching to come off the hanger and be worn. I’m ready for my October traditions to come into full force. Like any hockey fan, I just want to watch hockey again [not espn or tsn classics but new games]. I am not going to join those who have jumped onto the NFL wagon, each game is brutal with their replacement refs [their usual refs are in their own CBA turmoil] determining questionable plays that determine the outcomes of games. Just let me watch hockey again, please. I remain hopeful that a deal can be reached to salvage the season. The way I see it…a new deal must be reached before the Winter Classic[but hopefully sooner] in order for there to still be a season this year.

#11daysandcounting #thelockoutcontinues

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Did you watch that video yet?!! seriously check it out..it captures many great hockey moments!!

Back to you, Bob! Believe it ORR not…

If it’s not me of the Winter Classic trying to convince all the fans around the world that there just may be hope for the season yet…maybe you will at least consider hearing one of the all-time greatest defenseman to lace the skates voice his opinion on the matter. There is a statue of him near some arena in Boston. On a good night in some games, they say it seemed as though he could fly. His style and ability to move the puck from one end of the ice to the other almost effortlessly made him nearly unbeatable. He put the pedal to the metal in the setting of many records. How many defensemen in the league have won the Art Ross[most points in the regular season] more than once?! When was the last time a defenseman put up 100+ points let alone 139[the closest to that mark last season was Karlsson with 78 points]?? I am of course talking about Bobby Orr. Sincerely one of the greatest players to ever lace up the skates before his much too early retirement[at age 30!] due to injury. A career that was ended earlier than many had hoped…but in his 12 year career he amassed many NHL records….including 8 consecutive Norris trophies and 3 consecutive Hart trophies, 2 Art Ross Trophies, 2 Stanley Cups & 2 Conn Smythe Trophies. Not too mention that twice he scored the cup clinching goal. Bobby Orr knows hockey. Am I a fan of the Boston Bruins? NO. Will I ever be? NEVER. I am however a fan of Bobby Orr and the player that he was…how can one not admire his career an undeniable stats that by themselves nearly demand respect? Bobby Orr is one of the all-time greats that ever laced up the skates…and his opinion on the subject is one worth at least considering.

Bobby Orr was on the morning show “Breakfast Television”  Friday morning and offered up his professional opinion on the great debate that is the CBA debate. Orr said he absolutely “believes that there will be a season and that it would be outrageous not to have a season.” He also said that a fair deal can be reached and believes a new [and fair] CBA will be signed sooner than later. Orr also explained that is not only players and owners who are being affected, BUT the arena employees, businesses near the arenas, and minor league players who are losing their roster spots are feeling the hurt of the lockout.  Orr further stated his belief in the upcoming season by saying: “I think we’ll get most of the season in. Don and Gary are two smart guys, and there’s so much good in our game right now. There’s a lot at stake here. I think it can be done”

Believe it ORR not but I’m sticking by this Bruin[& only this Bruin] and his belief that a fair deal can be reached sooner rather than later and that we WILL get a season. It is too soon to cave to Bettman’s will and lose hope. There is still room for optimism. Just ask Bobby Orr and he will tell you that there will be a season…that is all.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Wake me up when September ends…

Well it’s official. Wake me up when September ends. The NHL has announced that there will be no pre-season games prior to or on September 30th. In the days that have followed since the lockout was enacted there has been no formal communication between the NHL and the NHLPA. Both sides are expected some type of formal communication to take place next week.The aim is for both sides to come to an agreement that will please everyone…but as we all know that is hardly ever possible. Most of the time, each party has to give a little. The NHL and NHLPA will only be meeting this week together with the Alberta Labour Board to determine whether it is legal for the Calgary and Edmonton players to be locked out. The Quebec Labour Board sided with the NHL so we will see how Alberta sides. Pre-season does not mean a whole lot other giving most prospects a chance to preview the NHL level. At this point only the pre-season that would have taken place in September has been cancelled officially.

It has been made official that many players have signed to play else during the duration of the lockout. Malkin, Datsyuk, Gonchar and Ovechkin have returned to Russia to play in the KHL. Thornton, Weber[Yannik], Couture, Nash have gone to Switzerland and many more have gone abroad to keep themselves game ready should the lockout be temporary. Alex Ovechkin has been more than willing to openly admit his dislike of the now real lockout and is sticking by his belief that many players will not return to the NHL should the lockout persist. He does think the players should have to endure the owners distaste of contracts and numbers as it was those same owners that signed every one of the players on their team. Ovechkin signed a one year contract with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow that could see him spend the season in his home country however there is an out clause[of the contract] if and when the season does in fact begin. If the season resumes and Ovechkin does not return it would violate his current contract with the Washington Capitals and result in sanctions from the IIHF[International Ice Hockey Federation]. It is hard to say whether Ovie would really go as far as not returning…but odds are he is just speaking out in frustration. NHL’s other face of the game, Sidney Crosby has yet to go abroad as he and his agent feel it is too soon to believe that the entire season is lost….me too. It is not over until someone named GB throws the hammer down on that final nail. I do hope that while some players get exposure to the game internationally that it will end soon and the season resumes sooner rather than later.

Where oh where have you gone, September? We have lost you to a lockout. In the very least September in Vancouver we have been blessed with an amazing stretch of weather…it still feels like summer in the city! Not too mention we do still lots of hockey to watch,not at the NHL level, but still some exciting games. We have the Vancouver Giants, Chilliwack Bruins and yes the Chicago Wolves[many #Canucks prospects a few veteran players will be on the team!] to cheer for as they all move forward with their WHL and AHL seasons. September may bring me new teams to focus on and be nearly gone but I have not lost all hope for the NHL season.

In the mean time wake me up when September ends and October begins! I want get out the jersey & get myself canuck’d up & to a game….so come Bettman and Fehr. Become that dynamic duo that will preserve the majority of the 2012-2013 season…otherwise Ovie[at least in his frustration] and others may not return to the league. There is sure to be drama as the Albertan Labour Board meets with the NHL and NHLPA through Friday and as meetings between the two sides eventually take place as early as next week. All we can do now is wait. Wait for the 30th to come and go and hope that when the Calendar turns to October all is not lost on the season. Wake me up when September ends. I will still cheer for the blue & green regardless of when they return. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Is This Reality? check. Still a Lockout? check. Bettman called out? check.

As the lockout is now a reality, it is time to shift and look at the costs and ripple effects of an NHL lockout. The cost of the lockout goes beyond players not playing, and fans not buying tickets/merchandise and owners losing money all around. The lockout costs people that work within EACH NHL franchise their work and salaries the duration of the work stoppage [whether its a delayed season or entire season lost]. With this decision of making the lockout a reality…Bettman halted[temporarily took away] many jobs. The lockout also costs local business the money they would have profited from airing the games in their establishments and often count on the extra profits they take in during the regular season and playoffs. The lockout also costs many young rising stars their positions in the ECHL, CHL, and AHL while an influx of NHL stars will be added to their teams roster and replacing some of them. The lockout costs players from other leagues [KHL, Swedish Elite League, and the European Leagues] as some locked out NHL players will be seeking temporary [or possibly full season] positions with their teams. Each team in the other various leagues can only add so many EXTRA players to their rosters. Bettman has effectively forced the players into a corner…forcing them to take roster spots from others or not to play at all. Do the NHL players want to steal positions from other players? Probably not…they just want to play hockey and unfortunately it may mean playing in the place of someone else. And what of the younger players or the players in the other leagues? Do you think they would say NO to having proven NHL talent come to join their team [if only briefly or all season long]? Probably not. The players of all the leagues could probably teach each other a thing of two.

The lockout also has more costs. Costs within the league itself. This lockout could force certain players to miss their ONE last year and force them into retirement should the entire season be lost. And that would be a tragedy…for a player to lose their LAST chance to go all the way ONE last time. Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson, Jaromir Jagr, Chris Pronger, and Tim Thomas all fall into the category of possibly being forced to retire. Mind you…Pronger may be forced to walk away from the game due to his ongoing concussion symptoms and Tim Thomas has given taken a self induced year away from the game. It may be a cruel way for Pronger to have to leave the game behind…but if he is forced to retire….he should have no regrets as he has succeeded at every level he has played [world championship, 2 Olympic GOLD medals, & a Stanley Cup]. Thomas if he comes back next season may have a hard time finding a team that will want him on their roster following his controversial antics that he has fallen privy to.  Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson and Jaromir Jagr however still have a lot of swag in their game and all three of them decided to come back for ONE more year and they may very well be robbed of that chance. Can you think of a more cruel fate than being robbed of ONE last chance to follow your dream all because of a numbers game. Well done Bettman…you may have robbed some of the best veteran players in the game of their ability to end the game on their own terms as you may have boxed them in a lockout corner. Job well done, really.

And if you didn’t think that these players are aware of just how delicate this situation is…Selanne dedicated a blog post to venting his vehement dislike of Bettman’s decision. Earlier today it was revealed that Selanne published a blog post…titled simply “What gives Gary Bettman?”. Selanne experience the last lockout and has seen what he calls ‘remarkable’ financial growth and that the ‘on-ice product of the game is more interesting than ever.’ Selanne further calls out the OWNERS as responsible for the front loaded long-term deals which are bad business decisions. Selanne takes a special dislike to the owner of the Minnesota Wild who has been full of nothing but contradictions since signing his prized packaged deal of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Following the signing of this duo…the Minnesota Wild owner was gushing about how excited the hockey world and Minnesota was with these massive deals. However shortly afterwards…the Wild Owner was then quoted saying “how incomprehensible the new long-term deals deals are!” Are you kidding me? He thinks the long-term deals are absurd….HE signed not one but TWO players to LONG-TERM…heavily front loaded $100 million contracts. This is the third lockout during the less than 20 year tenure of Bettman…who will be making $8 million salary…to which Selanne asked “Would BETTMAN be willing to give up part of HIS salary to the poorer teams as the the players suggested they would like to do?” It certainly is an interesting question for Bettman to grapple with…as he was part of the team in developing the last CBA and setting up the NHL salary cap system. He set the % of the pie slice [aka revenue] that the players would receive during the last lockout and now he looks to make that slice smaller.

To the fans, Selanne had this to say: “On behalf of the fans I’m really sorry. They really do not deserve this. The world’s finest sport does not deserve this. I’m disappointed, vainly waiting for better news.” You are not the only one vainly awaiting better news, Selanne. The fans will continue to hold on to that faint flicker of hope that is the Winter Classic in mo-town on New Years. Here’s hoping the lockout is not drawn out like last time and that Fehr and the NHLPA figure out how to solve a problem named Gary Bettman and his unwavering lockout determination.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2012 lockout here we come……….!!!

Merry Christmas Bettman…you got your wish! Question is..how much longer will you be at the helm of the NHL after this[you’re 3rd lockout in under 20 years]???

Merry Christmas indeed Gary Bettman. Are you happy? It is official. 2012 NHL Lockout powers activated. You succeeded in completing the hat trick of lockouts in your tenure and creating MORE dislike of you for the fans[who knew that was even possible?!]. WOW….it is quite a legacy you are leaving behind. Will people remember the changes you made to the game? No…but we will all remember the 3 lockouts you enforced on hockey. Now instead of looking forward to the training camps and pre-season games….in the next few days we will get the pleasure of hearing the league cancel training camps and pre-season games….leaving the rest of the season up in the air while many veteran players will be playing abroad and younger players will be playing for the AHL or junior clubs.

Rumor has it that the NHLPA was more than willing to re-ignite CBA talks today..but the NHL did not feel that they would say anything they found relevant. Funny how the players were willing to talk…but Bettman through Daly said it did not warrant any formal talks between the two groups today. It’s nice to know that the commissioner was so completely determined to have a lockout don’t you think? [ha!] Alright…Bettman, Daly, Fehr brothers, NHL owners, and NHL players….PLEASE do get to work on the new CBA stat.

I will say this of the current lockout….it has come down to the Winter Classic saving the season. I really do not see the league canceling a game that brings in so much revenue beyond the game itself that the owners all love…not to mention the 70,000+ fans that will be at the game live in Michigan. It would be an extremely STUPID move for the league to cancel the outdoor event that features two of the original six in Detroit and Toronto. The league has until January 1st to cancel the game…but as I said…it would extremely on their part to make that decision.

Until the NHL returns…it looks like I will have to add the cheering for the Chicago Wolves to my blog[not because I like Chi-town..but because they are the #Canucks AHL affiliate and many of the Canucks players will be featured…Lack, Corrado, Jensen, Ebbett, Schroeder, to name a few. The team with the current roster looks ready to contend!].

Are you happy Bettman? I’m not and neither are the thousands of fans that are also extremely disappointed. It is official…you have created even more distaste for yourself…your name will have even more negative connotations in relation to this 3rd lockout of yours. Job well done. If you want to change the way people will view your lockout legacy then fix it.PLEASE DO NOT LET THERE BE AN ENTIRE SEASON LOST….let’s get the NEW CBA done!! Get ‘er done for the fans!

As Donald Fehr said…”a lockout is a choice, NOT a requirement”. And now once more we shall await the repercussions of this choice that has been made. A decision that did not have to be made but was and now we shall see its many ripple effects. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

And now we wait…

United they stand. Unfortunately not together with the players on one side and the NHL on the other side. Now if only they could be united together. The NHL and NHLPA wrapped two days of CBA talks yesterday in NYC. 283 players were present for the meetings.
According to the Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul “the players are unified in this round of CBA talks and that he worries about the fans. There is a time when the fans will get fed up and both sides should probably apologize to them.” As with any war of words there is a difference of opinion between the two sides. One is adamant that there is a way for a solution and one is adamant that in order for change to occur is means putting the season on hold.  Fehr  says that the the players stand united. My favourite Fehr statement of the day “a lockout is a choice, not a requirement.” Bettman says that the owners also stand united. They all apparently have voted unanimously to lockout the players September 15th if indeed there is no new CBA in place. Question: did they really vote unanimously or did Bettman do a little leaning to force his preference? Did you also hear Bettman’s claim that the players solidarity is WHY the league lost an entire season in the last lockout? So question for Bettman….who’s solidarity will he blame this lockout on…the players or the owners? Well there is rumor of limited talks happening at some point today between the NHL and the NHLPA….but will they be able to gain any middle ground? We will have to wait…

In the mad dash scramble to the ever closer impending lockout many teams will be looking to lock in players to extensions before the expiration of the current CBA. Many teams have taken part in the last minute dash…everyone wants their intangibles locked in beyond next season while the current CBA still exists.

Speaking of intangibles. One of my very favourite #Canucks….ALEX “Mr.clutch” BURROWS has signed a 4-year  $18 million extension[an annual cap hit of $4.5 million] with the Vancouver Canucks. Remember how this guy was never supposed to make it to the ECHL let alone the AHL? Or when this guy was had his first 28 goal campaign and he was making $500,000? One day someone is going to write his biography…and hopefully it includes another run at the cup or two. Congratulations Alex Burrows! You have more than earned the new contract!!!

http://video.canucks.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=111580&cmpid=embed-share-video

BURRRRRRRRRRR…it’s cold in here…there must be some ALEX in the atmosphere!!! #Canuck4Life #ForeverACanuck #BURR #14

Will you believe that Shane Doan and the never ending off-season drama continues with a contract today?! He WILL sign a new contract and announce his FINAL decision today. Rumor has that it will be Phoenix[most likely]. UPDATE: SHANE DOAN has [surprise, surprise] signed a 4-year $21.2 million deal to stay in Phoenix. Wow. He took the entire summer down to the 11th hour to make a decision that EVERYONE knew was most likely to happen. Congratulations to Phoenix for allowing Doan to play his entire career for the ONE franchise…that does not happen for every player. So…now that Doan’s staying in the desert…does this mean the Canucks go after Jason Arnott [short-term…1-2 years]?

In the land of things that are so predictable, we are down to 1 day. 1 day before Bettman and the owners make the announcement of the looming lockout official. And now all we can do is wait. Wait for what we all know is coming when the gavel is thrown down tomorrow.

Please stand by. The regularly scheduled season will begin when Bettman says so and not a moment before…

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.