Buried in last week's hype of non-existent girlfriends, Lance Armstrong shockingly admitting that the rest of the world was right about him, and the Lakers cursing David Stern while Chris Paul lights up their building was the end of the work stoppage in the NHL. On Saturday, the Kings and the Blackhawks kicked off the abbreviated season with Hawks winning over the defending Stanley Cup champions, 5-2. Fans seemed to return, if only for a little while. It did not show loyalty to the sport as much as it showed our society's short term memory. Here is a reminder on why fans should just stay home.
5) There are better options right now. The NFL playoffs have been exciting, and the HarBowl looks to be a great match of motivational stories, whether it is Colin Kaepernick's rise, Ray Lewis fighting for his last game in a Hall of Fame career, or which brother Jim and John's sister will cheer for. In basketball, Derrick Rose is about to return for Chicago, John Wall just returned for the Wizards, and of course the Blazers are exceeding expectations with the performances of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. If you want hockey, the Portland Winterhawks are winning at a frightening pace. When there are better products available, why bother watching the NHL?
4) The abbreviated season will be a mess. Many players kept themselves in shape through the lockout, but keeping yourself in shape, and being prepared for a grueling NHL season are two entirely different things. Injuries will start to pileup, careers will be shortened, and the product that the NHL will put on the ice will not be the same as past years when the league was recovering from the last stoppage. Speaking of which...
3) Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are con artists. It is hard to decide which of these two was worse during the work stoppage. Was it the commissioner that has presided over the second work stoppage in less than a decade, including the first time in a half century the Stanley Cup was not contested, or the player representative that forced hard line tactics to create a rift between players and fans IN TWO DIFFERENT SPORTS IN LESS THAN TEN YEARS? Was it the commissioner that brought expansion to areas that could not support a team, ripping them from loyal fanbases, all while pushing for longer season, endangering player safety? Or the player rep that has had six of the eight negotiations that he has ever been a part of create a work stoppage, a record that implies that he should not negotiate a garage sale let alone a billion-dollar business?
2) Remember who the real victims of the work stoppage were. It was not the billionaire owners, who continually spout the same rhetoric about losing money when profits were at an all-time high. It was not the players, who hired possibly the worst negotiator since Neville Chamberlain in order to push the owners into offering concessions, shooting themselves in the foot while trying to make themselves look like the wounded party. The real victims were the business owners around the arenas that counted on the games for income. The workers in the arenas that were kicked on their rear because millionaires argued with billionaires about a level of money that could feed Africa for a year. The fans that trusted the NHL not to make the same mistakes as before, only to see that trust shattered. The owners and players view the fans as expendable. Without the fans, their sport means nothing. Time to resend that message.
1) Why waste your time when they cannot be trusted to keep the game alive? If they do not want the game to continue, oblige them. Without fans, they do not get their money. Remind the NHL who actually holds the power. Walk away from the arena, support other sports, or even minor-league hockey, and let them sit in the graves they dug.
Dear Ryan Chase,
Thank you for proving either A) Portland sports writers know little or nothing about hockey B) Portland sports writers would just as soon write about synchronized swimming before having to write about hockey, or C) BOTH. If I was a betting man, I'd say in your case it's probably C.
Let me point out the flaws in your obviously over-opinionated article item by item.
#5 - You obviously think that all hockey fans only watch other sports when there isn't hockey to watch. Do you not understand that (during a regular NHL season) that we're not flipping back and forth between sports on the TV? I've done it. I'd be willing to bet several paychecks that my friends do it! Especially during NFL post season, NCAA March Madness, and NHL/NBA post season! Now don't get me wrong, for every hockey fan I know who is also a Blazers fan, I could name three that abhor the Blazers. But to say, "Why watch hockey when there's other sports to watch" is just plain idiotic.
#4 - Really? REALLY? Do you think that none of the players were constantly prepared to go back to a regular (even if shortened/compressed) season? That the players were just sitting on the couch watching Oprah and eating Bon-Bons, waiting for the lockout to end? No, A lot of player were either playing for their associated minor club, playing in Europe, or (and I know this might be hard for you to believe) just working out and staying sharp (you know like ALL OTHER professional athletes during the off season). Maybe you should have written about how the shortened season would be unfair to a lot of teams as far as who goes to the playoffs. Or about how it was unfair to a lot of prospect players that training camps were so compressed and last minute that they were practically eliminated.
#3 - Did you actually follow the saga of the negotiations? Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are con artists? Now I do agree that they both did a very poor job during the whole process. Gary Bettman in particular has upset most NHL fans and myself, and we can all but hope that his reign is near its end. But how exactly is "The lockout took longer than it should have" a reason to not watch the game? Would you have said that if last year's NBA lockout would have lasted a month longer, that NBA fans should stop watching the NBA, and for Blazer fans to not go to any home games. I want you seriously think about this: If ANY other professional sport league was to go through a lengthy CBA lockout, would you write an article about why everyone should stop watching that sport?
#2 - I actually agree with you on this one. But this is what your article should have been about. Instead of telling people to stop watching hockey, you should have written about how it's important to the fans to not so much support their team by watching, they should go out and help all the businesses that were hurt so much by this lockout. Especially during a down economy.
#1 - First of all, who is this "they" you're talking about? Bettman & Fehr? Yes they did a crappy job negotiating the lockout, but you can't possibly think that they want the sport to go away! That's the thought process of someone who has no concern of the sport themselves. Second of all, why waste our time? Because we love the game!!! Yes, we (the actual fans) are angry and upset about the lockout. But we're also just as excited to see our favorite teams back in action. Do we want to see those responsible for the lengthy lockout punished? Yes! But not watching, not buying tickets/merchandise, and/or ignoring the sport all together is NOT a solution.
Furthermore, you've proven to me why Portland doesn't deserve an NHL team. It's sports writers like you that have Portlanders turned off to the game.