This time last year, the NHL regular season was on in full swing, the birds were chirping and children sang. The NBA was locked out and hockey fans laughed mercilessly.
Today, the shoe is on the other foot. While the NHL and the NHLPA sit refusing to negotiate and are at a stalemate, the NBA is set to open its season tonight, on time and without any hockey or baseball to compete with on the airwaves.
How did this happen? The NBA and the NFL both had their labour disputes last season and hockey took advantage. While the NBA did play a shortened season and the NFL came to an agreement in the 11th hour before the season, there was a short period of time where it looked like hockey would reign supreme as the sport to watch last year. Indeed, the league saw record revenue and a sparkly new contract with NBC, not to mention a team from a southern US metropolitan won the league championship.
Yet here we are. While we should be competing with the two mammoth US-based leagues and carrying our momentum, we are falling behind again, and it looks considerably more bleak with each passing day, with rumours the NHL's Winter Classic will soon be cancelled.
Labour disagreements happen. I get that. I think we all get that. But take a cue from the North American leagues that are doing better than the NHL. Lost seasons do nothing but ruin momentum for the game and piss off fans. The NBA only played 66 games last season, but the talk isn't about the shortened season right now. It's about can Lebron repeat as champion? Will the Lakers be a force again after taking a back seat last year? Can the Mavericks return to form after a tough year?
Why? Because people would rather talk about the sport than labour disputes. The NHL right now, just doesn't seem to get it. Looks like I may watch a basketball game or two. Hey, can't be that different, the Toronto team is still terrible.
- New Canadian PGA player Brad Fritsch will be taking the Senturian to the PGA with him, inking a sponsorship with the Senators yesterday. [SensExtra]
- Nichols with a story about Sergei Gonchar potentially being "gone" for good. [6thSens]
- Sure the money hurts, but for guys like Teemu Selanne, Dan Boyle and for sure Daniel Alfredsson, its the lost games at the end of a career that is the real tough part of this to take. [SensExtra]
- NHL.com doing an AHL roundup for the weekend. [NHL]
- Forget the NBA, James Gordon thinks that with the league sitting with their proverbial thumbs up their bums, Soccer will soon be infiltrating the North American sports fan's life on the networks that are looking to fill up empty time slots due to the lockout. [Gordon]