The Incredible Shrinking Pie

HockeyOn February 16, the day this NHL season was officially cancelled, I wrote an open letter to Gary Bettman. At the time I was furious because there was a reasonable salary cap offer of $49-million on the table from the NHLPA that Bettman should have accepted. The NHL and NHLPA were battling over their slice of a very big pie and on February 16 Bettman decided we were better off with no pie whatsoever. As we enter the month of June I realize that even a die hard NHL fan like myself managed to fill the void. For a while, when Saturday nights rolled around, I instinctively migrated to the television for Hockey Night In Canada. Now, on a Saturday night, I don't even think about hockey. I've accepted the loss and moved on.

I don't follow the labour negotiation news as closely as I did earlier in the year, but I did read about ESPN ending contract negotiations with the league. That means the NHL has lost its only remaining U.S. cable TV rights holder. The pie keeps getting smaller and smaller and they're still fighting over the weight of their slices. Our game, our glorious game, may never fully recover. Bettman has to go, Goodenow has to go, and the NHL has to get a deal done. The alternative is unacceptable.

In February I was furious. Now, I'm just numb. My lack of passion on June 1st with regards to NHL hockey simultaneously shocks and frightens me. There's another open letter to Gary Bettman in me, but I just don't care enough to type the words.


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