The NHL has already hurt itself a LOT. But if they cancel another ENTIRE season, they are going into uncharted territory, especially for a sport that has a devoted core fan base but not as wide an appeal in any many places as some other sports.
In other words, they better wise up. And I’d say the owners have more of the “wising up” to do.
I was slightly encouraged to see that a group of about six owners and six players (plus a couple of lawyers on each side) will meet today or tomorrow. Neither Donald Fehr nor Gary Bettman will be there. (Ted Leonsis wasn’t on the list that I saw.) So, it won’t be the same old hardest-line owners but a blend (supposedly).
I think the owners may be surprised at the grasp of the facts that the players have — even without Fehr in the room.
Sometimes, when you have more distance on a sport or an issue, you see it more clearly. Hockey people adore the sport so much that they don’t think you can ruin it at the pro league level. I disagree. I’ve never seen a sport go out for so long and have so few people give a damn whether it comes back or not. Hockey may live in an echo chamber where they only hear other hockey people. They may think people outside that chamber care about their game. They’re wrong, in my opinion. They don’t. Or not much. I fear for the future of the NHL if they lose this season. The window isn’t closed on the current Caps. I admit that, selfishly, I want to see that play out.