NHL fans are forced into NO-hockey-vember…

In August, Bettman said that a lockout was probable. In August, Bettman gave the NHL world September 15th as a deadline before enacting an official lockout. In September, Bettman said a lockout was now a reality and it is a lockout of unknown length. In early October, Bettman said the lockout would endure for the month or longer unless the players decided to play the game HIS way. Now as we near the end of October…Bettman says the lockout will indeed endure throughout November [aka  NO-hockey yet-vember…..yuck!]. In the months since negotiations began that have past…each time Bettman gives the fans a tantalizing taste of what could be, only to cruelly snatch it away. It seems extremely cruel to tease the fans and players alike with false hope. Each day as Bettman pulls the strings a little tighter on the fading hope of the season, his legacy of lockouts grows stronger.

Following each statement[with exception of the latest one], the face of the NHL, Sidney Crosby was quick to believe that a solution still existed. Sidney Crosby expressed his great disappointment that yet again there is no deal in place. With the latest disappointment Crosby is finally conceding that it may be time to make the move to play abroad. Like Crosby…I  have held firm in belief that a solution can be made and I am extremely disappointed that yet again no real progress has been made on the CBA….[the NHLPA provided not ONE but THREE proposals that the NHL barely glanced!] My disappointment is great but I will hold onto a sliver of hope for a partial season[I refuseto fully go to the dark side of doom and gloom] even as not just a week, but the entire month of November was put on the chopping block by Bettman. Many players have reacted to the latest loss of games by stating that they believed that Bettman had these games through November canceled back in the summer but is just announcing them when the time seems right to him. The longer this work stoppage goes on…the more it seems the players are correct in thinking that Bettman had anticipated these games being canceled back in the summer.

There are whispers of the Winter Classic being next on Bettman’s growing chopping block as he holds all the cards. Rumor has that the NHLPA is and has been more than willing to meet up and negotiate whereas the NHL [Bettman and his minions] are holding them at bay refusing to negotiate a deal. Correct me…but did Bettman not at one point[September or earlier] say that his aim was to minimize the number of games lost? As of today more than 300 league-wide regular season have been cut. If any progress is going to be made…it will take more than ONE side being willing to negotiate. I, myself would rather that these meetings take place stat before we lose the Winter Classic or lose the rest of the season.

NO-hockey yet-VEMBER has not yet begun but already I loathe it. Halloween usually brings a night of unpredictable games and November is usually when teams start getting in a groove…and scoring streaks are begun. Instead of watching their teams take to the ice…fans are forced to hear each day how MORE and MORE players deciding to play in the European leagues. It is nearly November and we should be getting to see each team beginning to take shape and settle into a pattern. October and November mean I’ve got stats on each team memorized….but this year with no NHL there are no stats to memorize or debate. When I think of Bettman and all his ‘official statements’…the only word that seems to come out is ‘lockout’….it is all I will remember of time as NHL Commissioner…3 lockouts. October and November have been taken away…but in December, I hope we hear Bettman say that hockey will return before the new year. In short…all I want for Christmas is my hockey team and 29 others back on the ice.

#endthelockout

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

A day in the life…

A day in the life of a crazed hockey fan begins almost always the same. There is an air of excitement that can be felt across the city throughout the day. The city turns blue and green everywhere you look. Game day has over taken the city. Jerseys and teams colours are being worn by everyone. Local media from the radio, to the newspapers are making predictions for the big game and the production of certain players beyond the coming evening’s game. Fans all around the city are buzzing with excitement as they make their own predictions over the impending game and their favourite players. Every where you go people are discussing not just the game but the season to come. All around town whether it is at home, on the bus, walking down the street, at work or out for a bite…the game is being discussed. Some people cannot wait while others find the whole sport and the insanity it brings, ridiculous. Pre-game shows begin on the radio and T.V. to further analyze the game that has yet to happen and any incidents or story lines they think might relate to the impending game. [Personally, I like to skip pre-game shows as they usually make me irritable with their inane commentaries.] Game time dawns but that doesn’t mean the puck drops right away. There is the pre-game warm-ups for both teams and all the fans racing for the best spot closest to the ice to view their favourite players.

Then, there are the anthems and any previously scheduled pre-game ceremonies that take place. The lights go out in the arena and suddenly the team logo on the ice is in the spotlight. The horn goes off as the players are announced and skate onto the ice for the anthems and ceremonial puck drop.The entire arena is engulfed in silence as the crowd anticipates the coming anthem and outcome of the game. The anthems begin and an echo of the entire crowd singing in unison gets louder with each line. The excitement is palpable. The puck drops. The home team wins the draw. The crowd begins to cheer as one as the players race down the ice. The whistle blows. The puck is offside. Play begins again and there rushes back and forth as the crowd oohs and aahs. Close calls on both sides. Just as it looks like the home team might score, the whistle blows again. A penalty is being called against the home team. The crowd sends out a round of boos to very loudly to let the refs know they got the call wrong[even if they were right…!]. The crowd is on the edge of their seats as the visiting team spends an entire two minutes of the powerplay in the offensive zone swarming for that elusive first goal only to be denied by impeccable goal-tending and defensive maneuvers by the penalty killers. Each save and block is met with loud cheers for the home team. The home team kills the penalty and the cheers are deafening as the penalized player exits the penalty box and steals the puck for a breakaway. SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Goal celebrations ensue on the ice and those deafening cheers…well lets just say they reach a whole new level. Lines change and the resumes. Action goes back and forth amid cheers from the home crowd or boos when the opposition gets near the puck. The opposing team ties the game….met with a round of ‘terrible goal’ comments and boos from the crowd. The pace picks up as the clock winds down and the game could go either way. ONE minute left in the third period and the game is still tied. Over time seems inevitable. The away team ices the puck…play moves into their end for one last draw….the puck drops and the home team wins the draw back to the point. The defenseman on the point passes cross ice down to the winger on the side of the net who fakes a shot and blindly passes the puck to the forward screening the front of the net who with a quick backhand dekes it in the net just as the buzzer sounds….SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PANDEMONIUM ensues as the the crowd jumps from their seats erupting in cheers and applause as the team leaps from the bench surrounding the goal scorer. The away team skates away heads hung low in disbelief at the over time opportunity lost at final seconds. The home team celebrates the winning goal…three stars are named…the goalie, a very appreciated offensive defensive forward and the game winning hero. The crowd waits to file out as the players are interviewed. After the interviews are over the crowd files out of their seats and make their way through the arena…the home victory is feeding everyone’s mood…people are high-fiving all the way to their cars and public transit and everyone cannot stop talking about that last second goal.The feeling of victory is felt all throughout the city. The day in the life of one crazed hockey fan is one full of endless possibilities. Win or lose this fan will always support her team.

Game days ending in victory or even those ending in a loss are a part of the journey when you follow any sport…but in the this current lockout through today the NHL has taken away all league wide regular season games through Nov.1st robbing the fans of any possibilities that could have been. The players and owners may be stuck at a stand still…but the fans deserve better…please, let’s get that new CBA signed & sealed so that we can all go back to our crazy game day routines!

This crazed hockey fan just wants to hear that that lockout is over! #endthelockout #enoughisenough #thefansdeservebetter

As always, until next time nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

…three days, two days, one day, & then we will know…

As we all knew would happen…in a move that surprises no one, the next chunk of games has been cancelled. All games prior to and on November 1st have been cancelled. The good news is that it still leaves open the possibility for the season to start up on November 2nd.  Thursday has been set as the tentative deadline as the league would like there to be a week or so of training camp in place prior to the season beginning in November should a new CBA be reached. There is still hope following this week’s disappointment of no finalized CBA deal. There was finally REAL discussion and perhaps even paving the way for actual negotiation. Did we all think the players would sign a 50/50 split deal right away? No…but we certainly hoped that they would as we all miss hockey. We also hoped that the NHL would be willing to consider more than Bettman’s ‘my way or no way’ attitude. It is not all doom and gloom as most are determined to believe it to be…as BOTH the NHL and the NHLPA believe there is a deal to be made..that the framework is on the table. The question is will a new deal be reached in time before the entire season is lost in Bettman’s victory lap? Will Fehr and the players be able to communicate to the NHL that they really do WANT to play again?

There is one thing that is very simple…the fans who have always been faithful to this game just want the game back. The fans keep awaiting the very faint possibility that a new deal can be reached salvaging the season. The fans have already lost enough with the games that should have been and the this war of words between Bettman and Fehr. The fans do NOT care one iota about HRR[Hockey Related Revenue] percentages or who is more right….we just want to watch hockey again! Bettman once again has set a deadline…which is Oct.25…if a new deal can be reached by the 25th…that will give the league enough time for a short training camp before launching the season Nov.2. I refuse to give in to all the negativity that surrounds the CBA drama…I am determined to be open to the ever slim hope that a deal can be reached. I hope that instead of writing about the possibility of the upcoming season or the ongoing lockout that in a few days I will be over the moon ecstatic about a new season full of new possibilities. #fingerscrossed #endthelockoutALREADY #wewanthockeyback

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Gary & Don, you’ve still got work to do!

This is not the blog I wanted to write today. I wanted the words to jump off the page in excitement due to the lockout being called off….but it was not. The lockout is still ongoing as the NHL and NHLPA still do not see eye to eye. Once again…it comes down to a war of words. According to Bettman..the NHL and the NHLPA are still not speaking the same language and he is very disappointed. Wow…big shock…just two days after proposing a deal that on the surface changed GB from scape goat or the hope of the season, he once again has doubts in regards to the upcoming season. Once again…Bettman is full of words that only bring disappointment. Once again it seems as though rather than hearing out the proposals presented by the NHL all he did was shut them down soundly. Was his supposed 50/50 split proposal just a cruel hope for the fans? In comparison, according to Fehr, the NHL’s offer was a great starting point or in other words finally a real negotiation. Fehr and the players believe that there is still work to be done. The PA made THREE counter-offers…none of which were deemed acceptable by Bettman and his minions. The PA seems ready to negotiate…but have not been given proper time to make their presentations as meetings were adjourned after ONE hour. Fehr stated that TODAY was supposed to be a good day BUT in the end it was NOT as both sides are still at an impasse. In a glimmer of hope…Fehr has confirmed that the PA is available to continue negotiating and that the PA WILL go to 50/50 IF the NHL OWNERS promise to honour contracts that have already been signed [which honestly….if the OWNERS signed the players to said contracts…it makes SENSE to honour the contracts THEY initiated!].

Regardless of today’s disappointment on both sides #thefansdeservebetter from both sides. We, the fans DO NOT CARE ABOUT HRR or who gets more of it…WE JUST WANT HOCKEY BACK. In short…Gary & Don…you’ve still got work left to do to get me hockey back by November 2….get’er done! That is all, nuck said. #endthelockout

#wemisshockey #hockeyinNovemberPLEASE

Sarah E.L.

And now we wait…

Fans around the globe are holding their colllective breath as all eyes on are the NHLPA as they are expected to respond to the NHL’s 50/50 offer in today’s Toronto meeting. Today marks possibly the most significant stage of CBA negotiations. Today either the NHLPA will accept the new deal [with a tweak or two to insure that 50/50 really means 50/50!] or the debate continues. Rumor has it that BOTH sides are bringing in the big guns..for the players that group will consist of 18 players, including: Crosby, Toews, Doan, Iginla & Eric Staal. The meeting is now expected to take place at 11:30AM Pacific time[2:30PM Eastern time]. I hope that whatever the discussion that occurs between the two sides…that they come to an agreement that BOTH can live with and gets the players back on the ice November 2nd! #endthelockout

Perhaps one hopeful fan[Barry Murphy] has captured it best with his desperate attempt to get an audience with Fehr & Bettman. Perhaps this sign he brought will capture their attention or perhaps his twitter handle @hockeyfansunite will rattle them? good luck Barry!!

Desperate times make for desperate measures…one hockey hungry fan was camped out early at the NHLPA offices in Toronto this morning with this sign…calling Gary Bettman & Donald Fehr…can you hear us???

Here’s hoping that the meeting today actually produces a new deal with 82 games having been cancelled already…a season starting on November 2nd would secure an 82 game schedule for EACH team! #endthelockout #wewanthockeyback

Until this afternoon’s meeting wraps…hockey fans everywhere will all be anxiously waiting to hear the result. Will we get a full hockey season beginning November 2? Lets get this deal signed, sealed and delivered ….and now we wait. Back to you, Gary and Donald. #fingerscrossed

Until next time which is hopefully later today and we get that long awaited announecment of #hockeyreturning, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Congratulations to Zack Kassian & company in leading the Chicago Wolves to their 3rd WIN of the season! Those pesky #wolves are now 3-0 on the year…good luck in Abbotsford this weekend…#GoWolvesGo

50/50

Rumor has it that while Bettman’s number is up…that HOCKEY will be BACK by NOVEMBER!!! ….the NHL has officially tendered a NEW offer to the NHLPA that would give both sides 50/50 split contingent on an 82 game season that WOULD begin November 2 IF the players agree. The jury is still out on whether the PA will agree…but you can almost hear a sigh of relief that an ACTUAL offer was made in today’s meeting. PLEASE NHLPA…let’s really think about this…you could ALL be back playing in 2 weeks & still have an 82 game season!! I have been very vocal about my dislike of this current lockout…..this is the FIRST time that an offer made has REAL potential to be accepted by BOTH sides! THIS deal would last for up to 6 years AND it means a FULL 82 game season NOT a shortened one!

Did I [& many others!] not suggest many times previously that the only way to really negotiate this latest CBA would be a 50/50 split? Why…yes, yes I did. This is the first time since these negotiations began back in the summer that I feel there is potential for a new deal to be signed, sealed & delivered VERY soon. I think the players will want to take a closer look at this deal in detail before they consider it as a solution…but it is encouraging to see an actual offer be tabled. Let’s hope they do not take too long in their consideration as if they do sign…they could be back on the ice by NOVEMBER 2!!!! Come on…who doesn’t want hockey back soon?  The offer is on the table…your move NHLPA….please do not wait too long to get back to playing the game you all love.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it has forced its way into it…and FINALLY we have an offer that has potential on the table….time to get back on ice BOYS because the puck cannot slap itself….#isitNovember2ndYET

The word ‘lockout’ has been forced into the vocabulary and reality of NHL fans three times in the last 18 years….and each time it was GB with the announcement. One would think that if HE cannot get the players to agree to this latest offer or worse takes away the entire year….that his days are not only numbered but finished. There will be a push or counter proposal that comes from the PA soon…but this 50/50 split gives the PA a place to make real progress. I hope the PA realizes that the this latest offer is where things will eventually end up a 50/50 split. This offer also has no immediate rollback. This offer is the first one that is one that seems like real PROGRESS!!! FINALLY! Let’s get this deal & probably counter offer done followed by a new CBA PLEASE!!!!!!!! This is finally some real negotiating!!!!!!!!!! I know that this deal is probably not perfect….but it really is the first time that feels like hockey could be back SOON…as in NOVEMBER. I think it is best for all parties to get this deal done STAT. The PA now holds the cards….the question is how will they play them? Is this 50/50 split really a 50/50 split? If so, then it means that Bettman is finally taking one for the team and moving the league forward…if not…I think it is good-bye Gary!

There are still many questions that will be addressed regarding this latest offer and what is sure to be the PA’s counter-offer…but in this moment it is refreshing to hear of actual progress in the great CBA debate. I don’t know about you….but I really want hockey back..and this deal could get it back as soon as NOVEMBER 2 with NO games lost!…Rumor has it that the NHL is already in contact with all in teams in regards to getting additional dates in order to accommodate an edited 82 game regular season schedule. This offer would get the season sooner than most expected. The NHL has made their offer…and now its up the NHLPA as to how they will respond. Donald Fehr is expected to meet with the players this afternoon. Whatever happens in regards to a counter-offer…I really hope it is a short cordial give and take so that WE the fans get back the game we all love. This offer brings the opportunity to salvage not just part of the season but the ENTIRE season. I have never given in to the belief that the season was over…and this could be the move that makes the season a reality. Now, once again all we can do is wait. Wait and see. #EndtheLOCKOUT #BringBackHockey #isitNovember2Yet

As always, until next time[when hopefully I can be sharing the news of the 2012-2013 season being back on and no more lockout!] nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

28 days later…

4 weeks ago today when the clock struck midnight it was announced that the lockout had become official. 4 weeks. 28 days. The clock ticks a little louder each day as more and more players flock to play overseas. The American Hockey League has officially kicked off their season with an overhaul of NHL vets filling their rosters. There has been little progress [translation: NO progress] in the latest round of CBA meetings and you can almost feel the tension building everywhere you look. The media is constantly looking to break the lack of news first or fabricating a story out of nothing. NHL executives and NHL Players alike are never short of vocabulary to voice their varying opinions on the ever important topic. 28 days later. 28 days later and still the face of the NHL, Sidney Crosby has not lost faith that BOTH sides will agree to a new CBA before the year is over. So it shall be that the face of the NHL continues to wait for such an agreement to come into place along with the rest of us. It has been said via an article published through Sportsnet that “Crosby would prefer to believe that the owners are committed to making a deal, but like many fellow players he can’t help but wonder if the lockout was something they long ago decided to use as a means to coax a better deal out of the union”. Is this just how negotiations work? Let’s hope not. Like many of the players and executives involved, Crosby is keeping close tabs on the CBA debate and still confident that both sides will work out a deal sooner rather than later….wow, you still have ONE current player who still believes that the season WILL happen. Lucky for you higher ups…it is the face of your NHL that has yet to lose faith. The question is are you willing to take that faith away? Let’s hope not…because that would be a tragedy.

When will the game return? Like Crosby many fans are asking when the REAL negotiations are going to happen and just what is their target date for the season to get back on track? 28 days later and still the same questions remain. What will it take to get both sides on the same side? How much money is the NHL willing to lose? When will the game return?

“It’s still early,” said Crosby. “There’s time for decisions to be made and to make sure that nobody does anything that they’re going to regret.” Like Crosby, I will continue to hold out hope that in the end no one does or says anything they will regret.

28 days later and the NHL has still not returned. You know, as a Canucks fan it is embedded in my DNA to NEVER cheer for Chicago…NEVER….but this lockout has me cheering for Chicago….#theWolves that is[not to worry fellow #Canuckfans, I am not and will not be rooting for the #blackhawks….EVER]. It is nice to have at least a few games to watch…between the AHL and the WHL[Chiefs & Giants]. Congrats to EBBETT on getting the #wolves first goal of the year & congrats to the team starting the year 2-0!!

28 days later and we still miss hockey even though some may claim they will not return to the game [we all know you will!]. 28 days later and the lockout still continues with no progress on the core economic issues. 28 days later and things are more or less the same. 28 days later and I still remain one of the few who have hope….but the longer this lockout endures the fewer who think the NHL will return.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.