After 113 days of what I would hardly call intense negotiations, the NHLPA and the NHL have come to an agreement on the framework of the next collective bargaining agreement for the league. While there is still some “t’s to be crossed and I’s to be dotted” as Gary Bettman put it, it looks like we will have some form of NHL this season.
While almost everyone concurs that this was one of the dumbest and meaningless stalemates in the history of organized sports, it may prove to have been a necessary evil in the growth of the NHL.
Even my own stance as a die-hard puckhead took a serious turn as I looked to televised dodgeball, jai alai and reruns of Renegade to get my fix for top-drawer entertainment and Lorenzo Lamas programming. While the return of the NHL doesn’t quench my thirst for bad acting (insert Sedin diving joke here), there is no substitute in the world for the intensity that real NHL hockey brings.
I love football and especially the college bowls and NFL playoffs, but there is nothing quite like the speed, skill and intensity of the NHL. Every shift is played at full speed, with a galvanized rubber biscuit being flung around at speeds of 100-mph. Chock full of collisions and the occasional fisticuffs, I will do what I said I wouldn’t and jump back on board the poorly operated barge to soak in NHL hockey.
In spite of all the torment, the collective dragging of feet and the mindless posturing from both owners and players, I will watch. I will buy tickets, and Center Ice and possibly another jersey. I will welcome the league back with open, if not weary and cautious arms.
This new CBA is supposed to be at least 10-years long and will solve most, if not all of the contention between players and ownership. The language of the deal has not been released until it is finalized and ratified by each side. Until then, warm up your Zambonis and dust off your pucks, hockey is BACK! Almost.