By Connor Simpson
( They say Dion Phaneuf returned to the bridge he previously lived under. )
The NHL and the NHLPA could not come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the deadline, set by the devil himself Gary Bettman, of midnight Saturday.
The league has officially entered a lockout, its second in eight years.
Canada was nearly overrun with anarchy.
Protestors gathered Parliament Hill almost instantly. Drunken Senators fans threw beer bottles at Parliament and lit effigies of Gary Bettman on the steps. Liquor stores in Manitoba were sold out by Sunday morning. Shelves were completely barren, according to online reports. There wasn’t a bottle of skootch for a hundred miles.
Newfoundland has been thrown into a Lord of the Flies-like tribal culture. Mobs in British Columbia overthrew their provincial government and have declared themselves separate from the rest of Canada.
Quebec was actually relatively calm. Habs fans ate their poutine like normal, while hoping the extra time would give the Montreal mafia time to convince P.K. Subban that he really wants to sign there.
Leafs season ticket holders barely noticed when they were given Raptors season tickets free of charge from team owners. Spontaneous fights broke out in Calgary and Edmonton and, as of press time, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were still trying to break up the persistant brawling.
No. If you came here to get an insightful explanation, you’re going to leave disappointed. That was never going to be what this is. If you want that, go here.
The particulars don’t really matter here. The conflict between the NHL and NHLPA is simply this: millionaires arguing with zillionaires over how much money they’re allowed to continue to print at will. The system isn’t really broken. They’ve just figured out how to exploit it perfectly. Teams have reported record profits and players are making millions of dollars. They couldn’t stop behaving like children long enough to get a new deal in place on time for the season to start. So now they’re both apologizing to fans like they couldn’t turn around tomorrow if they wanted and actually finish a deal instead of behaving like teenage girls playing telephone with the media.
The only thing that really calms the blow is the knowledge that the chances of the whole season being lost are pretty slim. Realistically, we should have it back by Christmas.
The Winter Classic has become too big of a deal, and too big of a money-making juggernaut for the NHL to miss it. The profit margins this year will be especially high as the League attempts to pack the Big House in Michigan - a 100,000 college football stadium - on New Year’s Day. Having already sold millions of dollars in ticket sales and television advertising, cancelling the Classic would mark a financial disaster for the NHL. The most likely scenario is the league will start up either on the first week of December, or will pull an NBA and come back on Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas, Leafs fans.
Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf are still ugly.