Saturday, 24 December 2011

Why NHL Fans Should Be Worried About 2012 - 2013?

With all Habs fans in a panic over the recent troubles of the team, some fans are calling for the tanking of the season and trading of some key assets in the hopes of preparing for a better 2012 - 2013 season. These fans need to be reminded that before the team gets a makeover starting at the trade deadline in March 2012, the league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires at the end of season which may hinder the future general manager's efforts.

A key element of the CBA that NHL and Habs fans should be worried about is the salary cap for 2012 - 2013. According to NHL insider for ESPN / TSN, Pierre Lebrun, there are rumblings that the cap is expected to fall. If this will be the case, expect the following:
  • Teams against the cap will need to shed large contracts (i.e., Scott Gomez will be placed in Hamilton.)
  • A lot of face time for Donald Fehr, the new executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association

As compared to former director, Bob Goodnow, Fehr is seen as a hardliner and will not have players cave in as easily as they did in 2005. With this being said, should fans be leery of not having a 2012-2013 season based on CBA posturing?

No; however, if there is going to be a "work stoppage" expect a shorten season (i.e., 60 games). Cancellation of an entire season will not be in the cards due to the following reasons:

  • The league has a solid television "paying" partner in NBC Universal which is attempting to "expose" the game to Americans
  • Positive momentum in key markets such as Toronto, New York and Florida with winning products on the ice
  • The league's willingness to move franchises that owners are abandoning due to financial distress (i.e. Atlanta to Winnipeg)
  • Revenues from Canadian franchises are increasing and will be able to compensate for lack of revenues coming from Phoenix, Columbus, Long Island and Dallas
  • Some owners that have a stake in NBA franchises may not want to go through the same bargaining process with their NHL franchise

The only thing that the NHL and Habs fans should be worried about is how much are they willing to pay for a ticket and beer in 2012-2013. The NHL is and will remain a gate-driven league and as a result, franchises in Canada can continue to milk fans of their money until fans decide not to show up at arenas. The chances of that happening is slim and none.

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  1. Be afraid, be very afraid... where there's greed and overvalue, there's a work stoppage.

  2. The question is will stupidity reign on the owner side of the equation?