Friends forever! Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

You'll Be Back.

We recovered well last time because we have the world’s greatest fans.

If you walked up to me and had that written on a bar napkin and then asked me whether or not the Commissioner of the National Hockey League had uttered this sentence in the midst of a pending work stoppage, I probably would’ve said “no”.  I mean, come on, that would almost be bragging about how you don’t care that the NHL would go through a third work stoppage in two decades.  There’s no way anyone would say that, much less the commissioner of the league.

I would’ve been wrong, because that’s exactly what Gary Bettman said this past Thursday. Tough eggs, kids.  We’ll peddle our brand on my terms, cause we know you’ll be back. I guess since he’s already on record saying that he believes the owners are paying the players too much, this shouldn’t come as too big a surprise.

Right.  It’s like Paul Holmgren was forced at gunpoint to offer Shea Weber an astronomical contract.

Gary Bettman has taken a lot of flack, and some of it unnecessarily.  He’s the mouthpiece for the owners, and he’s going to say what is in the owners’ best interests.  It’s not like Gary Bettman wakes up in the morning praying for a work stoppage.

YOU’LL BE BACK.

But, why would you kick your fan base?  C’mon, man.  NHL fans are a patient bunch.  They’ve put up with enough drama to last a while.  Aside from the lockout shortened season of ’94-’95, there was that blip on the radar that cancelled the ’04-’05 season.  Fans in Winnipeg, Quebec City and Hartford have some seriously legitimate gripes.  We’ve seen rule changes and wacky experimentation.  Speaking of which, do you remember when ticket prices were supposed to come down?  Yeah, me too.

I get that this league is a business, and I’m trying to remain as impartial as I can.  If there’s a lockout, you can rest assured that I’ll be back.  But not everyone is so forgiving.  The people scraping up $60 for a standing room only ticket to see the Oilers take on the Kings might not be so forgiving.  Will they be back?  What about the folks that are in line for season tickets?  Surely, they’ll be back.     How about the legions of folks that drop well over $200 on a new Yakupov sweater before he even plays a shift in the NHL?  Maybe they’ll be back.

So, don’t worry about a silly little lockout.  They’ll all be back.  After all, they are the “greatest fans in the world”. Right, Gary?

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Tags: Edmonton Oilers Gary Bettman Lockout

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