It is officially time to drop the ceremonial puck now. The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to ratify the new CBA and the players are expected to officially ratify the new CBA by Saturday evening….and training camps are open on Sunday. Following the ratification of the NEW CBA, Gary Bettman addressed the media. What stellar media bite did he share with the public? An apology. Yes, an apology. This apology was geared towards all those who did not want a lockout to happen[which is pretty much everyone!].
“To the players who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labour contracts, to our partners who support the league financially and personally, and most importantly to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I’m sorry,” said Bettman. “I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months but I owe you an apology nevertheless.” How did that sound to you? To me, it sounded as if those words came from someone else…aka someone wrote the speech for him. Following his apology, he also spoke of his confidence that he will remain commissioner for many years to come. I suppose, we shall see.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been involved in many rumours circling the league, but the most shocking move they have made since the CBA came into reality…firing Brian Burke. Brian Burke was let go, following four years of zero playoff appearances. Most people have said they were stunned he was fired, but the owners claim it was not an overnight decision but months in the making. Just as Burke was fired, his protege Dave Nonis [yes that Dave Nonis] was named as the new General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is curious that both Burke & Nonis worked for the Canucks together a few years back…and when Burke was fired back then, it was Nonis who was named his replacement. Nonis says that his GM style is similar to that of Burke, but he is more patient.
The closer training camp gets, the louder Luongo trade and Pronger retirement rumors all around the league become. The CBA will be ratified by tomorrow evening and as training camps open, teams will try to win back all their fans. Pittsburgh is having a few contests through their social media outlets as well as offering each fan attending the first 4home games: up to three free concession items and 50% off all Pittsburgh merchandise. Nashville is offering fans 2 for 1 tickets for the first game. The question remains, what will the Canucks offer to win back fans? What will the league offer to win back the fans that they drove away[following the last lockout, they created the shootout]?
Teams are still waiting to find out who their first opponents will be as the regular season schedule won’t be released until this weekend. All I know is regardless of who the Canucks play, that this kid is looking forward to digging out the jersey and getting pumped for game day next Saturday [January 19th!!!]. 30 teams are getting themselves ready for #gameday as the time to drop the puck is nearly here!
Until next time, as always, nuck said.