After 113 days and a 16-hour negotiation marathon that wrapped up at 5am et on Sunday morning, a tentative deal on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement has been reached between the National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association
That means we will be talking Devils hockey RIGHT HERE starting this week!!!
NHL fans are angry, there is no denying that. I’m angry, I just want to watch some hockey, talk about hockey and heckle my Rangers fan co-worker but without the NHL playing, it is impossible to do any of that. We’ve lost nearly 45% of our season to this lockout and fans are getting angrier by the day. Is it a surprise that a group of NHL fans are advocating something called Just Drop It?
Here’s the video that was posted on YouTube:
So after watching, we are to understand that in 10 days’ time, if the lockout is still in effect, for every game we lose, we are supposed to take that from them when they do return to the ice. During said ban, we aren’t supposed to attend any games, watch any hockey (highlights included) on TV or buy any merchandise.
Would the hardcore fan actually do this? I would imagine the casual hockey fan might not return but those hardcore ones? Like I said, I am angry. And like I’ve said previously, I feel under appreciated by the NHL but the fact is this: Most fans, including myself are going to come back. We as fans are kind of stupid. We run up credit card debt in order to attend games or in order to buy the latest merchandise. I’ve know people who put watching a game on tv or attending a game in person above their responsibilities that have to their families. I’d argue that the bigger issue the NHL faces when play resumes is not fan loyalty but rather their sponsors. Will sponsor want to dump money into a league that doesn’t blink twice at locking out players and canceling games? What can the NHL offer to any of their sponsors that the NFL, NBA or MLB doesn’t already? I’ve digressed.
This mission that these very loyal NHL fans are on has a few problems:
1) We’ve been waiting for the NHL to end the lockout and return to the ice. If you lose 10 games between Dec 21st and the end of the lockout, you’re telling me that you have enough discipline to not tune into opening night? I’m sorry, I don’t buy it.
2) I don’t think there is any way that this will reach enough people that would follow through where it actually hurt teams. I’ve heard a lot of people willing to continue to watch on TV but give up their season tickets. That will be felt by the owners not a bunch of empty threats about not returning for a certain amount of time.
3) By saying you’ll boycott X number of games and not buy merchandise during your X number of games boycott, you are basically saying eventually you will be back and eventually I will start running up my credit card debt to support my NHL habit, they’ll just have to wait X number of games. I say shit or get off the pot. You want to walk away from the NHL, go ahead and do so but saying you’ll going to walk away but return in 3 weeks’ time is kind of dumb.
I do applaud them for their effort. No one likes to sit idly by and wait, I just don’t think this will do much. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe come opening night, the NHL will be playing to an empty arena.
So I throw it to you. Are you going to boycott the NHL once they return?no comments
The precedent the NHL has set for lockouts is a huge problem and a lot of people are losing out because of it. Yes, players and owners are losing money but they are the ones in control right now. They are the ones that can put a stop to the lockout. With so much focus on the NHLPA and the NHL, it begs the question, who is losing the most because of this lockout? Here are a couple I came up with (in no particular order) and please feel free to add some that you think I missed in the comment section below.
The Fans – I think this one is obvious. As fans, we wake up every morning and log on to our favorite sports website to find that the lockout hasn’t been resolved. Even when talks seem to be going well, they come to an abrupt halt with either the owners or players talking about how they were “deeply offended” by the other side. We are powerless and for a lot of us, we don’t have any other hockey options. So there we are, sitting, waiting, wishing for a season to begin. (Did I get the song in your head? If not, here you go…) The big question I have, which I really can’t answer, is this: if you are a season ticket holder and the ultimate outcome of this is the cancelation of yet another season, do you go back? I’m not a season ticket holder but if I was, I would have a hard time giving that much money over to a league that doesn’t really seem to appreciate the fans. The NHL would really have to do something for me to make me want to give them that kind of money. Personally, I’d take the cash, buy a bigger flat screen and watch in the comfort of my own home. Yes, they get money from me watching but I’d have a bigger TV for other things as well.
Older Players – Yes, they are players and have some say in what is going on but it seems that some players want to take what the NHL is offering and some don’t, so they aren’t in complete control. All I know is that there are a number of players in this league that are very near retirement. After the 2004/2005 lockout, guys like Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis, Adam Oates and Ron Francis never got to return to the ice. These were guys that left a huge mark on the game and they just faded away from the NHL. No swan song, no farewell tour and most importantly, no victory lap. If we lose this season, which older players have we seen play their last NHL game and did so without knowing it was their final game? Daniel Alfredsson, Teemu Selanne, (gulp) Marty Brodeur? Let’s hope we get all these guys a victory lap.
Small business with ties to the NHL – On game night, I invite you to take a stroll around Newark (don’t worry, it’s safe.) Take a moment and realize the amount of bars and restaurants are packed both before and after a game. I haven’t seen the numbers for Newark but this doesn’t only happen in Newark. This happens near every arena in the NHL. In one city, I read of a bar losing between $60,000-$80,000 a month. Millionaire league owners and players fight over hockey related revenue, escrow, and make whole while at the same time putting Mr. Joe Schmo Hockey Man out of business. I doubt people are making the trip to Newark to go drinking in some bar if they aren’t in town to watch a hockey game.
- State of Michigan – While I am not a fan of the Winter Classic, there is no denying that it brings in some decent money for the hosting city. This year’s Winter Classic seemed like it was going to be done on a much larger scale which probably meant even more money for the state of Micigan / city of Detroit. Michigan was to play host to the Winter Classic this year but watched that cash cow get pulled from underneath them. It would have been cool to see the NHL play a game in the Big House, which maybe they will do someday but as for this year, it was cancelled back in October.
- The Minnesota Wild – As much as this one pains me to talk about, the lockout definitely hurts them. The Wild made potentially the move of the year with the off-season pick up of free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. No doubt Minnesota paid a ridiculous amount of money to do this, but there was a palpable excitement in the air, which Minnesota hasn’t seen in a long time. According to USA Today, “They have sold the equivalent of about 4,000 new season tickets since the day the 13-year, $98 million contracts for Parise and Suter were revealed, signaling the most-anticipated season in the franchise’s 12-year history. Thanks to the NHL lockout, though, the mute button has been pushed on the buzz and begs the question, will the casual fan that just bought their first set of season tickets because they bought into the buzz just opt to get their money back and forget about the NHL. If you are a casual fan, the message that fans don’t matter must be a lot louder and clearer than it is for the hardcore fan.
Six months ago our Devils were battling for hockey’s ultimate prize. They would go on to lose that prize in 6 games and I thought that might be the worst a hockey fan could feel. Less than a month later, I saw my favorite current Devil bolt out the door to his hometown hockey team which only proved that losing the Cup wasn’t the worst feeling for a Devils fan. Then we arrived at the expiration of the current CBA and all of the sudden, it was 2004/2005 all over again, hockey was on hold and lost cups and lost players didn’t matter at all. All that mattered is that hockey wasn’t going to be played in the foreseeable future.
The emotions that NHL fans are feeling vary depending on the fan. Some have gone and gotten their hockey fix from other leagues. Some are done with the lockout, done with the NHL and just done with hockey all together. And then there are the few that have put hockey on a shelf somewhere and said I’ll be back whenever you get your act together.
I can only speak for myself but I don’t fit into any of those categories, not exclusively anyway. I kind of rise and fall with the news, well at least lately I have been. When the lockout first started, I stopped paying attention. I had a feeling that it would a long process but thought it would certainly have an end between the United States Thanksgiving and Christmas, so a few weeks ago I started paying more attention to the news, to Twitter feeds, etc. When it became clear that both sides were going to drag this out, I began to seek some kind of hockey fix from something other than the NHL.
I’ve tried to get my hockey fix from other leagues but the problem is that I live in Northern NJ and the AHL isn’t broadcasted in my neck of the woods and I am unwilling to pay for it online. Besides, I hear the production values are horrendous. When I tried to tune into the KHL games that sometimes get television coverage, I can't seem to connect with it. Besides, they play at 3am and while I would love to see Kovalchuk light up sub-par Russian goalies, sleep is way more important to me. I’ve tried to watch college hockey but there is just no consistency with the broadcast schedule and no real investment in schools/players on my part. Sadly, the NHL is really the only hockey that will do for me and the only fix I currently have is NHL13 but that only goes so far.
Sometimes, I find myself relating to the people I know that are just like “screw this, I’m done with it” after every failed negotiations becomes front and center with all the hockey media. Both sides try to spin the story so it looks like the other guy is the one being a massive jerk and responsible for screwing the fans but I’ve come to realize, it’s both sides that are doing the screwing. Both sides constantly mention that the NHL has the “greatest fans in the world” and every time I hear it said, it makes me want to puke. If we are so great, we deserve more. We deserve to be watching hockey. I constantly think about the people that depend on the NHL actually playing games (bars, restaurants, clothing stores, arena staff, etc.) and just can’t imagine how they feel on a daily basis.
Then there are times where I can relate to the people putting the NHL on a shelf somewhere only to dust it off when it returns. I love hockey and I’ve loved hockey for a long time. My oldest son is just getting interested in it and the NHL really does do a lot for a kid interested in hockey. How do I just walk away from a game that I have invested money and time into? As angry as the NHL/NHLPA and the lockout make me, most days I realize I will be back once they are. I may not be a crazy and obsessed hockey fan like in years past but I don’t see how I can just turn my back and pretend the NHL doesn’t exist.
This week, I was hopeful, more hopeful than I have been in recent memory but after last night, I am back to being a depressed hockey fan. I was hoping for a resolution so that I could get back to what I enjoying doing on this site. This is usually the time of year where I spend A LOT of time researching and writing Devils content, watching games and interacting with fans on the internet. Last season, I brought on three very passionate Devils fans to help me grow this site and we had really found a groove near the end of the regular season and through the playoffs. We all were starting to do podcasts and netcasts and things were really starting to pick up and this blog was starting to get noticed. Now, the groove is long gone, the appetite is certainly gone and so are most of the readers.
I watched last night as the two sides played tug-a-war with my emotions. One minute I was told that the two sides were very close and then the next minute was told that wasn't true and after actually listening to what the NHL said, realizing they aren't close at all. After last night, we sit here, scratching our heads and asking “what’s next?” I honestly have NO clue.no comments
ummmmm.... Ok then!!
Yes I understand, this is not a Devils-related article at all...well maybe not. Like the title suggests, it's about the recent "Frankenstorm" that hit the Northeast US. Arguably, the hardest hit state was New Jersey. The picture that I posted above is from Clarksville Road in my hometown of Princeton Junction, NJ. As of today there are many of these down trees with power lines tangled within. There are hundreds of thousands of these cases throughout the rest of the state. While our fellow RTWD blog writers, Devin Mattera (in Long Island) and Scott Robb (only 10 minutes away from me), were affected by Hurricane Sandy, they were fortunate enough to have not lost power (not sure if our chief Darren has lost power not but he said the whole situation was a big mess). Some others, like me, have taken a direct hit. Since Monday night, I do not have power. I resort to getting online access and hot meals from my dad’s work or from the local libraries, which have some snack bars built within. All I have at home (which I am thankful for) is gas and hot water. Every night, I and many other citizens go to sleep without heat. It feels like Antarctica to be honest. To be short, this whole state is in a mess. Many cities along the shore are underwater and I don’t even know where to begin with the new set of homeless in this state. I never thought it was possible but the entire state of New Jersey is in ruins.
But, does this mean we have given up? Obviously not! Yes, I admit the state is completely destroyed but if there’s one thing that will help this state comeback, it’s spirit. I’m not forcing any one of our readers to do anything out of their comfort zone, but the minimum I request is recognition. When a victim recognizes that you at least care for their well-being, it brings a smile and a big bottle of hope to the faces of the victims, like me. The second the storm passed, I went outside in the frigid cold and cut down a tree that missed my house, but landed in front of my garage. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to electric chainsaws at this point. In fact, not everyone has basic necessities to live out daily life. The American Red Cross is doing a great job of bringing us the things we desperately need, such as fuel. If any of you, including Jersey residents, have a dime to spare, that could make a difference in the recovery effort.
The NHL recently posted an article that encouraged donations. One Canucks fan commented that the NHL should ignore the victims of Hurricane Sandy and just focus on getting the season back on track. I took this very offensively and I asked him how it would feel if he were stuck in that storm and didn’t have power for nearly a week. He never replied back so I hope he understood the message. Obviously, if the NHL does come back, it will certainly lift my spirits and many others’. But unfortunately, not everyone in New Jersey is a hockey fan. Yet, any donation to the Red Cross could help us. I think now is the time to forget who you’re helping. Whether you end up saving a Devils fan, Rangers fan, Flyers fan, Islanders fan, Penguins fan, or any Jersey resident in general, you have gained my respect. During these tough times, we are all united as one people. The Red Cross has a direct link in which you can place your donations. Or, you can also text “red cross” (no quotes) to 90999, a $10 donation.
On a personal note, I will be expected to get my power back anytime between now-Monday…or at least that’s what I hope. I know this is not the same for many families in the rest of the state. So for the ones who were more fortunate to make it out of this Frankenstorm safe and sound, and to anyone who keeps up with our blog, I plead that you help our people. Make a difference! That’s what contrasts a responsible citizen from an ignorant one. If not monetary, spiritual support is also much requested. I’ve been asked by so many people if my family required fresh water, food, clothes, or a place to stay/charge our electronic devices. Since I planned ahead of time, I did not need to rely on others for those reasons. However, if you have power back at your house, I suggest you offer your place to people you know who are in need. I guarantee they will be forever grateful of your deed(s). So, once again, whether you are a Jerseyan or not, do what you can to help the recovery effort! Because you never know, you just might be the one who saved the life/lives of an individual or a family.
- Raj Vaidya
Add Ilya Kovalchuk's name to the list of Russian players who may stay overseas if the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement sees salaries reduced.
The star winger told a Russian news outlet on Tuesday that if the league cuts the players' pay in any new deal, he may stay in Russia where he's playing with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League.
"Basically, I don't rule out staying in Russia in the case of a reduction of our salaries in the NHL," Kovalchuk told Sportbox.ru. "I just don't understand why they needed to sign such contracts. Or they were just hoping to cut the percentage later? I believe that the contracts must be respected and this is a fundamental question. There's no way the head of the (NHL Players') Association and the hockey players will agree on the wage reduction."
Kovalchuk, 29, signed a 15-year deal with the New Jersey Devils in 2010 worth $100 million.
Bryce Salvador wants to get the right deal in place rather than go for a quick solution in labor negotiations with the league.
"The way I look at it is I'm focusing more on having the right deal, not so much on how many games we'll be able to play," said the New Jersey defenseman. "We need the right deal so this doesn't happen every five or six years. That's what the players are striving for. We just have to get it right." Salvador also reiterated that he doesn't plan to play in Europe during the lockout.
Stefan Matteau registered an assist in Blainville-Boisbriand's 4-2 win Sunday afternoon over Québec City.
Matteau is the son of former NHL'er Stephane Matteau and is one of the hardest working players taken in the draft this summer. The 18-year-old had 32 points and 166 penalty minutes in 46 games for the under-18 U.S. squad last season but is playing in the QMJHL this year. Matteau projects to be a bottom-six forward in the NHL, thus limiting his fantasy value.
Over the course of the lockout, we will be bringing you various news on anything New Jersey Devils throughout the world. Whether its some AHL talk or KHL talk that concerns anyone from the Devils organization, you can find it all right here. Hopefully we will be talking NJ Devils hockey on a daily basis very soon!!
New from the weekend...
Ilya Kovalchuk - W - Devils
Ilya Kovalchuk tallied a hat trick to give SKA St. Petersburg a 4-2 triumph against CSKA Moscow.
St. Louis Blues prospect Vladimir Tarasenko contributed three assists in the game, while CSKA's Pavel Datsyuk had two points (goal and assist) for the losing squad. Kovalchuk had posted one goal in his previous five KHL contests.
Scott Parse is looking to rebound from a pair of tough seasons, where he had surgery on both hips and he appeared in a combined 14 games with Los Angeles.
He skated in 59 contests with the Kings in 2009-10 in which he contributed 11 goals and 13 assists. Parse didn't get his name on the Stanley Cup because he didn't dress in any of the team's playoff matches. He signed with the Albany Devils this past off-season so that he could play during the NHL lockout, but he expects to get a two-way deal with the big club once it is over. Parse said he is healthy now and he will look to get back on track in the minors first.
Raman Hrabarenka inked an AHL deal with the Albany Devils on Sunday.
According to the QMJHL's website, Hrabarenka agreed to terms with New Jersey's minor-league affiliate after attending training camp with the club on a tryout. He tied fellow defenseman Brandon Burlon for the team scoring lead with four points (one goal, three assists) in three preseason contests. He played two seasons in the QMJHL and had 20 points, with 55 penalty minutes, in 57 games between Cape Breton and Drummondville last year.
Devils’ left winger Harri Pesonen has opened eyes in training camp and in the early part of the exhibition action for Albany in the AHL.
Pesonen is a late-blooming prospect that New Jersey decided to take a flyer on this summer. The 23-year-old put up 21 goals and 35 points in 60 games with JYP of the Finnish SM-Liga last season.
Travis Zajac is not planning on playing in Europe in the very near future.
The underrated Devil pivot returned to his home in Winnipeg this week to work out with a number of Jets' players and others. Zajac believes a deal can be struck to end the lockout in weeks as opposed to months and that going to play in Europe is an option only for a prolonged work stoppage. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't (thinking about playing in Europe)," Zajac said. "But I'm still hanging around; I have some optimism about things starting eventually here and hopefully in the next couple of weeks or a month things can get done." We hope his optimism isn't misplaced.
Reece Scarlett, New Jersey's sixth round draft pick last year, scored a goal and three assists in Swift Current's 10-1 win over Saskatoon Friday night in WHL action.
Scarlett is on pace to top his 2011-12 point output where he put up 49 points in 71 games.