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06-27-2012, 06:42 PM
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I've been saying this for years: the NHL cannot sustain itself as long as it continues to masquerade as one of the major four sports in North America. The NHL is a solar system's distance of tiers below the NFL, NBA, and MLB. The sooner Bettman and league brass realize this, the sooner the league starts moving toward a healthy financial state.

The league needs to move teams out of hockey black holes (Glendale, Dallas, Columbus, South Florida) and back into Canada, where a lottery team will sell out every home game and stay afloat financially. This is the problem. Hockey is a niche sport that will never be seriously prepared to challenge the NFL, NBA, or MLB for fans or their money in America. This has become lost on Bettman and the league in recent years as they've bandied about trying to put franchises in places that have zero interest in the sport. When Bettman sold the idea as growing the sport, all it has done is cripple the financial infrastructure of the league as a whole and continued to drag everyone into labor disputes because there just isn't enough money to go around.

I'm not one to disrespect fans in sun belt states. Hell, I'm a fan of the Los Angeles Kings. But the Kings have stayed afloat for all these years with a steady fanbase because they play out of the second biggest market in the entire country. Other sun belt teams don't have this luxury.

Contraction is ideal but will never happen under Bettman's watch.

I haven't gotten too emotionally invested in all the offseason festivities for two reasons. 1. We won the damn Cup and I'm still riding that high. And 2. another lockout is almost a given at this point. It truly is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, but it's there. Both the union and the BOG are so far apart on differing issues I don't see how another work stoppage is avoided. We may see a contracted season, because I highly, highly doubt either side is resigned to losing another full season, which would almost fold the league. But I'm definitely not holding my breath for games in October.

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