1. #1
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    Default Hockey Fan's Worst Nightmare?

    Associated Press
    NEW YORK -- The NHL board of governors will meet next month, when commissioner Gary Bettman could seek permission to call off the 2004-05 season.

    Top officials from the 30 clubs will gather on Jan. 14 with Bettman, the league confirmed Wednesday. If a collective bargaining agreement hasn't been reached with the players' association by then, the lockout will probably cause the cancelation of the 2004-05 season.

    Bettman has so far resisted announcing a drop-dead date to call off the entire season.

    "I can't confirm any particular agenda for that meeting," Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "I think it would be premature to do that, and quite frankly, unfair to the process."

    When the group got together on Sept. 15, Bettman was given the go-ahead to impose the lockout.

    Bettman has remained steadfast that he is committed to making the right deal that will provide cost certainty to clubs. If that agreement comes in time to play a respectable season, then the league will do so.

    "The calendar is not an issue. It's about making the right deal," Bettman said earlier this month.

    As of Wednesday, the lockout was 98 days old and had forced the cancelation of 470 regular-season games and the 2005 All-Star game.

    Whether there is an official cancelation date or not, time is clearly running short to make a deal and play a legitimate season. The lockout during the 1994-95 season ended on Jan. 11 and allowed for a 48-game season.

    The NHL has told its arenas that dates can be released on a 45-day rolling basis, which would already carry into February.

    No North American sports league has lost an entire season to a labor dispute, and the Stanley Cup has been awarded every year since 1919 when a flu epidemic wiped out the final series between Montreal and Seattle.

    The league and the players' association met twice within a week earlier this month, but no progress was made and no new talks have been scheduled.

    The NHLPA invited the league back to the bargaining table on Dec. 9, for the first talks in three months, and proposed a deal that featured an across-the-board 24 percent salary rollback.

    That offer was rejected four days later by owners, who said it was a one-time fix and not a long-term solution to correct the league's financial problems.

    The NHL countered with a proposal that was based on a salary cap, guaranteeing a link between league revenues and player costs, that was quickly turned down by the union.

    A salary cap is an option the NHLPA says it will never accept. In turn, Bettman said he has no interest in any kind of luxury tax proposed by the players.
    ================================================== ==========

    My idea on this is to "Screw it" and start over. Cut everybody loose. Never to play again. Have a new draft with minor league, college and junior level players eligible. It will take a while, but it won't be too long to get back to an enviable level of play. Ticket prices will drop, fan loyalty will rise and hockey can be restored to the level of dignity and respect it once enjoyed.

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    I REALLY dislike the way the Wirtz Family who owns The Chicago Blackhawks has done everything possible to turn a once proud and competitive team into the joke they are today. They have done NOTHING to make NHL hockey more accessible for new fans. I dont think you can lump all of this on the players. The OWNERS need to get their act together and BETTMAN is no prize either as far as I am concerned.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    I'm begining to say to hell with the NHL......In Canada we got the CHL and I'm begining to like that much more than I ever did the NHL...I find the games are more action packed..Lots of Goals,Hitting,Fighting and not to mention getting to see the up and coming stars like my boy Sidney Crosby...Not to mention its only like 15 bucks to go to a game
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

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    GO Toledo Storm Hockey GO !!!!
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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    I still prefer college hockey over pro. I guess that holds true for all sports.
    -Bozz

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    Originally posted by fdmhbozz
    I still prefer college hockey over pro. I guess that holds true for all sports.
    Same here.
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    When play resumes, NHL to reinvent itself with new rules,
    HDTV-friendly action

    By ALAN ROBINSON
    AP Sports Writer
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - The changes might be drastic enough to tempt
    44-year-old Wayne Gretzky into coming out of retirement.
    After years of lobbying for a more scoring-friendly and
    fan-appealing league, Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux is convinced the
    NHL is ready to grant his wish. The only problem is ending the
    lockout that has doomed this NHL season and could threaten another
    before owners and players agree on a labor contract.
    The 39-year-old Lemieux hopes he has some more goals left in him
    when it happens, now that the league seems determined to crack down
    on the on-ice mugging and the defend-every-inch-of-ice defenses
    that have made NHL shootouts as rare as football single-wing
    offenses.
    The scoring dropoff is so acute that only Tampa Bay's Martin St.
    Louis (94 points) had 90 points last season - not even half of
    Gretzky's 215 in 1985-86 or Lemieux's 199 in 1988-89. In only 10
    years, the NHL has seen its goals-per-game average drop from 7 to
    5.
    With the NHL desperate to rebuild its fan base and increase
    national TV ratings that were lower than Arena Football's,
    commissioner Gary Bettman is promising drastic rules changes to
    bring back the speed, flow and offensive rhythm that have been
    missing since Gretzky was in his prime.
    Lemieux's reply: What took so long?
    "There's been a lot of talk about making the game more
    exciting, opening up the game, bringing back the offense that was
    there in the 1980s and early 1990s," said Lemieux, the Penguins'
    player-owner. "It's going to be a lot more exciting when the NHL
    comes back. It's going to be a great game with, hopefully, a lot
    more scoring and a lot of offense ... and (less) clutching and
    grabbing."
    Many of the new rules are being tried this season in the AHL,
    which expects to have at least two 100-point scorers (Binghamton's
    Jason Spezza and Manchester's Mike Cammalleri) and possibly more.
    Among them are shootouts to decide overtime ties, wider blue lines
    that increase the size of the neutral zone, less distance between
    the nets and the end boards, smaller goaltending gear, no-touch
    icing and tag-up offsides.
    The NHL is also toying with eliminating the red line, thus doing
    away with the dreaded two-line passing rule and creating the
    end-to-end breaks so common in international play.
    NHL vice president Colin Campbell met last month with six
    coaches to discuss the planned relaunch, saying even fans of
    winning teams were complaining about the duller-than-dull style of
    play.
    "My gut tells me we will be playing (next season), and the game
    will be better," Minnesota Wild president Doug Risebrough said.
    "We have to build the game and built it around the fans."
    Because of the NHL's traditionally strong fan base in cities
    such as Detroit, Toronto, Denver, Philadelphia and Montreal,
    experts say the first shutdown of a major North American sports
    league for a full season may not devastate the league. While
    baseball attendance dropped about 20 percent after its 1994-95
    strike, hockey attendance increased 10 percent following a
    half-season shutdown in 1994-95.
    "I think you can make an argument that hockey, compared to
    baseball, basketball and even football, has a higher percentage of
    hardcore committed fans," former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson
    said. "It's a much smaller universe, but NHL owners assume their
    season-ticket base and committed viewers will return when league
    play resumes."
    The NHL is also counting on the ever-growing popularity of
    high-definition television to boost TV ratings that are respectable
    on a regional basis but minuscule nationally. Both ESPN2 and NBC
    plan HDTV telecasts once the league returns, though ESPN2 first
    must pick up its options for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
    Hockey, like football, is well-suited for HDTV's movie
    screen-like wide picture, which is five times sharper than
    conventional analog TV. The league is also excited about the
    ever-expanding acceptance of HDTV, which saw more than 1 million
    sets sold recently during the run-up to the Super Bowl.
    To aid the impression that hockey is a fast, edgy game, NHL
    uniform supplier Reebok plans to outfit players in flashier,
    sleeker and more formfitting uniforms next season.
    "HDTV helps all sports, but it really helps hockey," Pilson
    said. "Fans unfamiliar with the game can see passes being made and
    collected without a skip in the picture - it helps with fans who
    haven't played the game."
    The NHL believes the changes will force coaches to play a more
    wide-open style. In recent seasons, overachieving teams such as the
    Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Calgary Flames relied
    on suffocating, star-controlling defenses to reach the Stanley Cup
    finals.
    "Hopefully, we're going to take that out of that game,"
    Lemieux said.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    If these rule changes go through-especially eliminating the red line-temas like the Devils will be losing teams. They can only win with the trap and the clutch and grab crap. There will be a shift back to smaller, faster players and away from the 6' 8" 255 lb. defenseman who can barely skate but is very good at throwing a bear hug around a right wing.

    It will be the best thing to happen to hockey. I just hope that it happens in the NHL and not some other start up league.

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    It is just a damn shame. I don't know why but I always thought that hockey players were the lowest paid "pro" athletes. I was amazed to read how much even the rookies make. It is absolutely ridiculous that people expect to make that much money. I had the opportunity to attend several Bruins games at the old Boston Garden and that was awesome. The history, the obstructed views the old wooden seats were something to behold. The new Fleet Center was nice but not the same. You can't go for any less than 100 bucks per ticket and then another 35 for parking. I will never go to another game in Boston as long as I live. Providence plays 10 minutes from my house and the games are just as good.

    You know something ironic about it all. The last time the NHL season was cancelled was the year after the Red Sox won the World Series. I knew I hated baseball for a reason.
    Last edited by cfdeng3; 02-23-2005 at 10:05 AM.

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    It's a classic case of millionaires fighting billionaires. Personally, I don't care for professional sports - they are a bunch of jerks who think their crap doesn't stink because they can throw/catch/run/skate/jump/block/etc

    These boneheads are refusing to do their "job" because they aren't getting paid enough (how many million per season do you really need?), while we have cities across the country cutting public safety positions, teachers being laid off, you know... jobs that REALLY MATTER.

    If the NHL never played again, I wouldn't miss it. Here's hoping for a baseball strike...
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

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    Though I love the game, some of it has been hard to watch over the last 10 years or so. I look forward to the rule changes. I kept hearing how the Lightning winning the cup with a wide open, full pressure style of play was going to have an effect on other teams. Sounds like the league took notice as well.
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