Just like the official declaration of the NHL Lockout itself, the declaration that a large chunk of the preseason schedule would be cancelled was expected, but tough to stomach nonetheless. The NHL announced on Wednesday that the preseason schedule through September 30 had been cancelled, and also that the 2012 Kraft Hockeyville preseason game scheduled for October 3 had also been postponed.
The specifics of how this will affect the NHL season even if a CBA was agreed tomorrow are unclear. In fact, it feels pointless to even discuss the specifics. However, it is now very clear that the planned 2012-13 NHL season will be affected by this lockout in some way. This again is hardly a surprising and was fairly inevitable, especially with players pessimistically signing with various European teams and GMs locking up every player that they could. However, it feels miserable to say it.
The fact is that fans are now losing out. Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and a large number of the league’s biggest stars will be hitting competitive ice over the upcoming weeks. They will be showing off their tremendous talent and offering great entertainment to a large crowds. However, they will not be doing so in front of NHL or even North American crowds. Instead, European hockey fans across various different countries will be treated to a treat as an influx of the world’s top talent makes their games that little bit more exciting.
Good for them. Still, it is hard not to feel just a little bit, okay, very bitter, at the two wealthy groups of people who have allowed this situation to happen. We are being deprived of the sport we love while they battle about revenue shares etc. Are these issues important? Of course they are, but it is very hard to see either sides opinion when the paying public are denied something that they love. This league cannot claim to value its fans anymore than any other sports league.