Summer is ending and Fall is quickly approaching. Labor talks between players and owners have stalled. The league is spiraling towards the inevitable. And then it hits: a lockout.
This has been an all too common story line over the last two years, with the NBA and NFL both seeing lockouts last year. The NFL only lost training camp, while the NBA lost nearly a quarter of their season.
There are a lot of parallels between the NBA and NHL. Both leagues are rising in popularity, making more money year after year, with a number of young stars on the cusp of becoming superstars. The NBA was coming off what was probably its biggest year since Michael Jordan was relevant, and while no league can afford to lose regular season games, if one was in position to rebound after a work stoppage, it was the NBA.
The National Hockey League isn't in that position. A second lockout in less than a decade is already stinging for hockey fans. I'm questioning whether or not I'd even want to attend games this year if the owners don't stop being so selfish.
Any momentum the NHL was building is lost. The owners arguments don't hold water with the fans that follow their teams passionately. For the casual fans, they just don't care, and probably won't be back for awhile.
So if the NHL wants to continue looking for dollar signs, they can keep trying. When they come up for air, they'll realize the real thing they're looking for: fans.