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.


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

  • Anthony harmon

    Why are we so fixated on berating gary when he’s speaking more truth than anyone. It’s a business! Quit with your philosophical ‘ what about the fans?’ crap. It’s easy to take that stance when you’ve got absolutely no stake in it. If it was your money you’d do the exact same thing, assuming you have any business sense whatsoever.

    • Jeff Chapman

      I take umbrage with how Bettman is so cavalier about irritating the fan base.

  • Cody Stewart

    I for one am a season seat holder and a very loyal oilers fan. That being said i am not buying any nhl merchandise this year or in the forseeable future. I know there is not much we can do because most of us live and breath hockey but if everyone didnt buy any merchandise for a year that might get someones attention.

    • Anthony stewart

      No it won’t. Because it won’t happen. It’s just like those ‘don’t by gas at xyz gas bar for a month’ protests. It never happens. We have to come to the realization that a 3+ billion dollar business isn’t a lemonade stand. Most people take months to buy a house, yet a 3 billion dollar deal should happen in a week. This is business, people, it’s reality.

      • Jeff Chapman

        I think it’s unrealistic to expect it to be done in a week. A bit more effort could’ve been put on it over the past year. If the sides knew that they were careening towards a lockout, they could’ve started looking at this…oh, in 2011?

        • Anthony stewart

          It’s a nice thought, but very few negotiations in big business are completed without a deadline. That’s when the motivation is really there. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s reality.