Friday, October 19, 2012

The NHL Is Fucking The Pooch!

The NHL has never meant much to me. Perhaps it is because I am a San Diego kid. People here do not play  hockey, and I honestly cannot say I have ever met a native San Diegan who loved the sport. Since we cannot play it shirtless, or in flip-flops, we push it to the wayside.

Last year, I attended a Bruins/Kings game at Staples Center. Everyone has always told me that one must see hockey in person to truly appreciate the sport. They were right.

My birthday was about as epic as they come last year: I saw a Clippers vs. Grizzles game in the afternoon, followed by a hockey nightcap. I honestly think I had more fun at the Kings game -- this coming from a guy who has a raging hard-on for Blake Griffin. There were big hits, exciting action, and the game actually kept my interest. I missed two goals when I was picking my nose and scoping out the babes. I had a blast.

My interest in the NHL has never been higher. I was hoping to check out a few Ducks games this year, and perhaps adopt a team to call my own. I watched much of the Stanley Cup Finals on television, and I found it to be intense. I do not understand all the nuances of the game, but I feel like I could learn, and fall in love with the sport.

However, the dips that run the NHL are in danger of losing another season, due to greed. Interest in the NHL has never been higher. The Winter Classic has been a boon for the league, and the NHL has no choice but to pimp the sport, since they lost the rights to the MLB and NBA. It seems that the NHL and NBC sports need each other.

Ratings were pretty solid last year for the playoff games, and the West Coast actually got involved with the success of the Kings. If the Kings become a power in the NHL, it will only benefit the league. However, the league has committed a series of boners that make a novice fan like me scratch my head.

First, why the hell has the league expanded into so many weird towns? Nashville, Columbus, Raleigh, Tampa Bay. I do not think hockey when I think of these towns. Hell, the Atlanta Thrashers failed and moved to Winnipeg. Too many damn teams in the league.

The owners got over on the last labor dispute. The salary cap was reduced by 24% and salaries were dramatically reduced. The newest rejected proposal had the players and owners disagreeing to a 50/50 split. Some sources say that the owners would still have 57% of the revenue, and it would gradually decrease over a five-year period.

Hockey cannot afford another black eye in my opinion. The sport is growing, and has a huge following in many East Coast towns. A California native like myself is interested in the sport. A missed season would likely make me apathetic. The sport needs new fans in order to continue to grow.

The NHL is missing a golden opportunity to keep the momentum they built in the playoffs last year. Another missed season could kill the sport for good.

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