Well, I've finally reached a point of acceptance at the prospect of seeing the season cancelled and am actually starting to hope that this is what happens. In principle, I have agreed with the players from the start and still do. The owners got everything they wanted in the last lockout, put in rules to save them from themselves, and promptly circumvented all those rules to again escalate salaries. Be that as it may, I have grown tired of listening to the players who make the most money complain about how badly they will be screwed when they will still make ungodly amounts of money no matter what happens. Crosby and Toews will never work a day in their lives after hockey, the same cannot be said for many rank and file players. How the top paid players can somehow see their claim as different from the claim of financially strong team owners baffles me. It's the same freaking argument, it is a matter of greed. Clearly lost on both owners and players, more so the players, is that it is the fans who pay their salaries.
Coming out of the last lockout, at least there were some changes to consider and some excitement that maybe the game would open up a bit. Coming out of this one, there will only be the realization that this entire pissing contest was about greed and we are the chumps who really don't have any way to avoid supporting it. The league and players will come back and call us the greatest fans in the world, but it will be hollow bullshit which is one of several reasons I really don't want to see this season started. I say to owners and players both, go continue your greed spat out in the woods somewhere and come back when you have it settled. But whatever you do, give up on trying to gain support through whining in the media. You are both a bunch of little bitches and when you finally get your hair pulling done, we the fans can go back to paying way too much money to attend hockey games and buying too small jersey's to stretch over our beer guts.
So, what is the bright side? Well, for one, you have all been spared the lengthy ramblings of VegasHawksFan. That's gotta be worth something. As for the Hawks, I see good and bad, but more good. First and foremost, it's a season burned off Q's contract without having to scream in outrage at the TV. Most of us on this site clearly agree it is time for Q to go and to take his cronies with him. While I disagree with some here in the impact of just changing the coach, I do heartily agree that there has been little evolution since 2010. Gone is the talent that made that work, still present is the stubbornness to keep doing the same damn thing that every team is prepared for. Additionally, this blocks BOTH Q and Stan from playing players who are not ready for the NHL. Since I really can't follow the Hogs from out here, I have no idea how well this is benefiting Leddy. Still, the fact remains, he and several potential teammates are being given a chance to play together and develop in what is probably a better environment to do so. If they start to come up together, this could be very beneficial.
Another plus is that guys the Hawks concussed players have had an extended period to help try and heal and that is huge. Looking at contracts, here is where the good and bad starts. More then likely, if the season is cancelled, we have probably seen the last of Bryan Bickell. For what it's worth, a lotta guys just like him would probably be out of the league, but in his case, whether it's him or Q is hard to say. What isn't hard to say is that it just doesn't seem like he is able to make a niche for himself. If we start next year, we also have Hammer in a contract year and there would likely be absolutely no better time to trade him. I have nothing against him at all and expect he will do very well in another system (probably the freaking Wings). But with the acquisition of Oduya, and presence of new D faces in Rockford, I see no reason to keep Hammer if you are committed to Leddy on the second line. Also in the last years of their contract will be Bolland and Frolik. Both of these guys are wild cards to me. Bolland is a huge fan favorite and for now is the epitome of a shutdown center. Is Kruger destined to be that guy? I don't know. Bolland is a guy I would really like to see the Hawks keep, but I would not call him untouchable with the guys in the system coming up, especially if he (and Frolik) is having the proverbial "contract season". There might not be a better time to sell high.
On the down side, a lost season would put the Hawks in the position of having to try to reacquire Stalberg as a free agent while also having to possibly contend with offer sheets on Kruger and Leddy. If a contract cleanse of some kind becomes a part of the new CBA, then we might see a boatload of talent hit the free agency market after teams dump their bad contracts. This could bode VERY well for a team like the Hawks who have a GM who did not go apeshit the last two years handcuffing himself with shitty contracts extended to marginal free agents. IF such a market occurs, then keeping Stalberg, Kruger and Leddy might not be so tough do to. Additionally, if they basically reset the draft and come up with a redraw of all 30 teams, we can probably assume the horseshoe up Tambellini's ass will net them the first pick, AGAIN, but then maybe the Hawks fall in the top ten? That wouldn't be too bad. To lose a guy like Stals with no compensation would be a bad deal. But, and this is probably a better topic for future discussion, I see the Hawks as a team in a very good position to deal with a post lockout world. They are not overly burdened with bad contracts, they are not at the current cap limit and they have what could turn out to be some very solid players in their pipeline.
As of this writing, the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to bring in a mediator, as opposed to arbitrator, to help move things along. It could be good, but my general feeling is still, Meh. With nothing else going on, hopefully there are some things here to start discussion.
Filed under: Uncategorized