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By Brian Monzo
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I’ve tried to keep quiet on the NHL lockout.
Perhaps I’m just a moron, the optimist who thought the league and its players would put fans ahead of all else and not — yet again — deprive them of the great game of hockey.
But, no. Of course not. The NHL and NHLPA both said the same thing to hockey fans: Screw you and your loyalty to our league!
On Wednesday, news broke that the NHL has cancelled preseason games through September 30. That was it for me. I just had to rant.
It’s no secret: I’m a New York Rangers fan. More than that, I am a hockey fan. Hockey is the reason I got into sports media. I wanted to be close to the league that I grew up planning my life around.
However, my loyalty — along with the loyalty of all the league’s great, passionate fans — is left with the future of a new season in question for the third time in 18 years.
I can’t sit here and start spewing out numbers and percentages on who exactly is right and wrong regarding the players and owners. Quite frankly, I don’t care. I blame everyone involved.
The NHL talks about record-breaking ratings, amazing deals with NBC and NBC Sports, attendance being up — and yet, all of that is not good enough to come together on a new CBA.
It’s selfish. It goes to show that a league is a business and only a business. It’s about rich people getting richer. Screw the fans and people that make the league what it is.
The NHL has done a nice job building up some momentum around the country and getting the attention that the game deserves. However, if they miss regular season games, and it appears that is all but likely, the league will lose every ounce of steam it gained. Rightfully so, too.
The hardcore fans will come back. Whenever they do, I will be locked in of course. I’ll watch a ton of games, and tune into the NHL Network each night. However, the casual fan will be lost — again.
I’m not pointing my finger at Gary Bettman, the owners, Bill Daly or Donald Fehr. I don’t care who or what the problem is.
I just want to drop the puck.
I like watching the NHL Network. I like working at WFAN, producing Devils games and hearing Matt and Sherry make the calls. I like sitting in the press box at MSG. Hell, I even like going to Long Island and sitting in THAT arena for Islanders games. It’s a passion I have. I played, I named my kids after players. I hate to sound like a 6-year-old, but it’s not fair.
I’m ticked off because the Rangers acquired Rick Nash (#TradeStepanForNash — remember that?) and have a legit shot of going deep again into the playoffs. I am disappointed that Martin Brodeur is going to get screwed out of adding to his win total.
I enjoy going back and forth with people on Twitter about every game.
It’s a disaster.
You know what I don’t need? The teams tweeting as if the season were going to start. Franchises should not be tweeting anything until the lockout is over. It’s a tease. I don’t care about anything a team has to say right now. I don’t need videos, recaps from last season or prospect profiles.
I want the league and the players’ association working their tails off daily to figure this out.
Shame on everyone involved for doing this AGAIN.
Who knows what’s going to happen. I’ll go out on a limb and say that if the lockout continues through the scheduled start of the regular season, they will try and get this fiasco settled by November.
Until then — this sucks.
Follow me on Twitter: BMonzoWFAN
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