So last we spoke a la circa May 26th, the Devils were about ready to enter the Stanley Cup Finals with, who I would learn to dislike, the LA Kings and, apparently, Matthew Perry (seriously who names a character on their new sit-com after their favorite sports team?). It was quite a matchup. I maintain for the record that I did wish dearly the Devils would be better, but I knew the Kings had a leg up on them. From the start, it seemed like this was going to be a sweep. Thankfully the Devils made things interesting, but alas still could not put up enough of a fight to fend off the Kings and their quest to a cup.
Truthfully I have no ill feelings about anything that occurred. I was thankful and very pleased how the Devils came back to force a game 5 and 6. But in my mind the strong team won the cup. I’m man enough to admit that, and everyone should be as well.
Now on to more depressing news. The season is a little over a week and a half away, and the top story on the official Devils web site is about an Albany Devils scrimmage.
Like it or not, we’re not seeing an on-time start to this season. And, in the event it wasn’t evident enough on njdevils.info, I blame the owners, the league, and most importantly, the commmish. Even just looking at pictures of him, this short round guy standing behind this oversized NHL podium, I can’t help but think to myself, “What a weasel.”
Wakeup call to all owners: you’ve missed the point! You have a gun in your hand, and you didn’t aim it at players or fans or advertisers. No, you aimed it right at your foot, and fired at least three times. Congrats. The sport started gaining cred amongst the pro-sports franchises. The NHL was finally starting to catch up to the WNBA and about to overtake them as the 17th most watched sport. Games were getting exciting. The shootout was no longer being mocked by everyone – most people still were, but not everyone. The Winter Classic has been a huge hit in every city it’s been played, and a national TV deal with a major network was, amazingly, obtained (started out as Outdoor Life Network, then OLN, then Versus, then Vs., and finally NBC Sports – what a ride!). Sure some southern states are finally succumbing to the fact that hockey will never work there – they’re too busy watching Honey Boo Boo to really care about real entertainment (seriously TLC, aka The Learning Channel, I’m disappointed in you).
Overall things are starting to take shape the NHL is starting to become credible in the public’s eye once more.
And then you pull this out of the bag.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I love hockey so much, that I’ve invested so much feeling, time, energy and – as you know so well – money, I’d seriously pick up another sport like Baseball or NASCAR. But unfortunately for me, the Mets suck and I lost interest when racing became “safe.” Oh and Pocono Raceway – a tri-oval? Really? At least add some cool banking to the turns or – ooooh better yet – throw in a chicane on the straightaway!
Huh? Oh yeah, Lockout! I guess my point is, folks, if you think the world is going to miss having hockey, think again. Most people I talk to don’t even realize there’s trouble brewing, let alone an immanent cancellation of opening night. I hate to say this, but I’m pretty sure no one would realize hockey is missing until about February or March when people start talking about playoffs. Get a deal done. Players may cave, but I have my doubts. Players want 57, Owners want 47, lets make it 52 and move on with our lives folks. Lets play hockey. Having your fourth lockout since 1992 is not helping the sport at all people, and you better not be blind and think it’ll bounce back. It takes time, years, and lost revenue before that’ll happen. It hurts everyone, including you.