The NHL and NHLPA haven’t been talking over the last few days and that may mean a delayed start, fewer games and (ultimately) a lost season. If we’re honest, a season without hockey, while difficult, isn’t the worst result possible. When people are badly ill and dying, things like sports become less important by plenty.
I’m reminded of an old cartoon that ran during the first Gulf war (summer 1990). It showed a workman carrying a tsn sign with the brand at the time (“real life, real drama, real television, TSN”) sheepishly off the set. That’s kind of where we are right now, reality stomping over every page of the online newspaper. Be safe, that’s all that matters. Hockey will hockey when the millionaires and billionaires can figure out the money. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we’re staring at some tough times and difficult decisions. Perspective is required.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: How many ‘peak seasons’ can Oilers fans expect from Connor McDavid?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ increased focus on drafting skill is key to future success
- Lowetide: A short history of Oilers’ impact prospects at the world juniors
- Lowetide: Why Dave Tippett’s training camp with Oilers will be so compelling
- Lowetide: Oilers first-round pick Dylan Holloway’s fast start has fans buzzing
- Jonathan Willis: A brief history of Oilers teams with goalie problems, and how they overcame them
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers are better with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl apart at 5-on-5
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: The results
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: Goals against
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: The Goals
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN?
A season missed would allow the league to start in October (likely) and give fans a chance to develop some confidence about going out and spending time in public areas. That will be an adjustment.
An October beginning would allow many people to (hopefully) recover financially and to buy tickets (I can’t imagine what the NHL ticket offices are going through currently).
I also think we could see a change in “financial scale” for the NHL. The league has enjoyed incredible growth during the cap era and that has benefited both owners and players greatly.
The financial cuts could mean teams being sold. An owner carrying large debt would have a tough time with lower ticket prices, television revenues and other streams.
This isn’t to say it will happen, or that it’s all bad.
The worst outcome for the NHL: This pandemic, combined with a lockout, sets free the paying public and breaks the wand that has bonded Canadians to the NHL for over 100 years.
I expect we’ll see the NHL in 2021. I don’t believe the stalemate will last a long time. I also believe there are more important things for each of us at this time. There’s a time to reap and a time to sow, a time to heal, a time to laugh and a time to weep.
There is a time to every purpose under heaven. Perhaps events are forcing us, all of us, even those of us who prefer to dwell in the fantasy section of life, to take stock and to apply all of our powers to make sure our families flourish for another day.
A smart man once told me it isn’t what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show gets rolling at 10 this morning, TSN 1260. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will talk about the Oilers fourth line and an epic battle that will arrive when training camp opens. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will pop in to discuss a busy NFL weekend, NBA and the NHL season to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!