The Stupidest Thing I’ve Heard In A Long While: Fans Most Responsible For NHL Lockout


Probably this guy’s fault too. Photo courtesy Andy Devilin – Edmonton Oilers

Who is most responsible for the NHL lockout?

Depending on how you see it, it could be one of a couple answers.  It could be the owners.  They’re the ones handing out these ridiculous contracts.  Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Ilya Kovalchuk’s deals are a few examples.  Each one of those deals starts at 90 million dollars, and some are over 100 million.

Maybe it’s the players.  They’re obviously the product, but they are making all this money.  A rollback wouldn’t kill them, right?

Maybe it’s a little of both. Maybe both sides could give a little, and we’d be watching NHL hockey in a month.  Sounds fair.  Maybe?

Fortunately, ESPN’s Darren Rovell is here to say the stupidest thing you’ve probably heard in years.


Who is most responsible for getting their pocket picked?  People who have wallets.

Of course. We’re the ones responsible for this lockout. It makes perfect sense.  It’s like we’re the Ebola virus, and  the league is full of white blood cells.  We’re practically killing the league.  Right.

Except, that it doesn’t make sense at all.  Rather, it’s the most nonsensical thing I’ve heard or read in a very long time.

First off:  let’s talk about two things that are all but mutually exclusive.  I’m talking about ESPN and the NHL.

ESPN is a wonderful network.  If you ask them, they’re the worldwide leader in sports.  That’s a pretty hefty title, but let’s go ahead and let them wear that crown.  It’s true, they churn out quite a bit of content for Major League Baseball, certainly a lot of football.  There’s the NBA, and the NCAA.  They do a bit of golf, a little tennis.  There’s something for almost everyone.  Heck, up until this year, they showed the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the fourth of July (an event that I really enjoy, mind you).  The Scripps National Spelling Bee?  Who would miss that?

Pretty sure they used to show the Scrabble tournament.  Sports!

ESPN used to have a bunch of hockey gracing their airwaves.  ESPN’s National Hockey Night starred veteran voices Gary Thorne and Bill Clement, and they had an opening theme that was second only to the HNIC theme.  Prior to the last lockout, NHL2Nite was a pretty good show that starred John Buccigross and Ray Ferraro.  Barry Melrose often appeared.  It was something better than nothing.

Today, there’s nothing.  It’s been that way since 2005.  So while I’m sure Darren Rovell is an intelligent guy, having anyone affiliated with ESPN commenting on hockey that isn’t one of the aforementioned folks is silly.

Rovell’s article is entitled “Owners know fans will return“, and that’s not a far cry from the truth.  If the league is off for a month, two, three, six, twelve months, I’ll bet you that 96+% of the fans will return.  Are there any Oiler fans that won’t be back?  I’m sure you’ll find a couple.  I’d bet you that somewhere around 99.6 and 99.994% of Oilers fans will be back.  That’s more than enough to sap up whatever season seats that aren’t renewed for whatever reason.  Heck, the Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.  Can anyone tell me when the last game at Rexall Place wasn’t a sellout?


I have no problem with an article about how NHL fans are likely to return.  Heck, that’s just the plain truth.  But somehow linking people who eat, breathe and sleep this game as being responsible for the lockout rubs me the wrong way.

I still don’t understand how all this information makes the fan ‘most responsible’ for the lockout.  But hey, some guy with 250K Twitter followers on a network that hasn’t shown an NHL game in almost eight years must know what he’s talking about, right?

Remember, it’s your fault this lockout is going to happen, hardcore fan.   You, with your $200 Yakupov sweater.  You and your $8.00 draught beers.  You and your season tickets.  You and your pennants, flags, tattoos, backyard ice rinks, trinkets, earrings, and custom phone skins.  You and your kids waiting two hours outside a Canadian Tire in sideways snow to get a third liner’s autograph.  If you weren’t so damn dedicated to this game, we would’t be here in the first place.

What a crock.

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