BACK ON ICE: The labor stoppage means everyone, not just the players, can get back to work. Photo courtesy John McDonnell/Washington Post

You. Yes, you! You nearly jinxed it.

All of you did. Last Sunday morning, a day the NFL expected to dominate the sports headlines, began with an early present in the announcement that the NHLPA and the owners had agreed to a deal in principle. You all heard, “the lockout is over” and proceeded to celebrate. I heard, “not quite yet.”

There have been so many low points and ridiculous twists and turns during this labor stoppage that an agreement “in principle” didn’t excite me. As far as I was concerned, if there was a way for this deal to fall apart, it was going to happen. Especially now that hope had been restored to the fans.

So I waited. I waited for the board of governors to ratify the new CBA. They did unanimously. So I kept waiting. I waited through all 36 hours that NHL players were given to approve the deal with a simple majority. The 89% of players that cast a vote passed the CBA 667 yes to 12 no.

SOUR GRAPES: Hockey fans are happy their sport’s back, but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about what they league has dragged them through the last 9 months. Photo courtesy Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer

And only then did I breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course, this all is still not over. The two sides are still working on this so-called memorandum of understanding. So why am I still not fretting? Because I’m not COMPLETELY paranoid. This memorandum of understanding is just legal speak for the two parties crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s. Even I have faith the NHLPA and the owners can’t screw THAT up.

So now we can play some hockey. There’s no preseason, and the sort of early season action we  normally expect in October is going to happen in Mid-January instead. Better late than never, though, right? Well, I’m not so sure about that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we’re all going to see some hockey this season. But after EVERYTHING that we’ve been through, how can you not still be salty?

I sure am. I’m salty that we’re playing half a season that’s now going to end smack dab in the middle of summer. I’m salty that the Winter Classic is still gone. I’m even salty knowing whoever does lift Lord Stanley this year is forever going to have a subconscious asterisk by it.

The people that are 100% jubilant the lockout is over will tell you every game counts. And I couldn’t agree more. EVERY game counts. So all those games we’re not going to play and all these games that we’re playing months too late? Yeah, I’m counting all of THOSE.

It’s the classic glass-half-empty vs. half-full debate, and I see nothing close to a full glass. Am I pessimist in this instance? Guilty as charged, I guess. But YOU did this to me, NHL.

I WAS excited. Back during the summer, my spirits were up. No way they’re going to let a second straight labor dispute lead to cancelled games, I thought.

And I was dead wrong.

At almost every turn, I underestimated both the owners’ and the players’ pettiness. And the irony in all of it? Once I had given up all hope in them, they hash out a deal.

It was right there last Sunday. My article about Ted Leonsis, posted at 3:30 a.m. ET, said this hockey season was “virtually scrapped”. An hour later, the two sides agreed to a deal.

Dick move, NHL. Dick. Move.

Most of the people that have been soured as much as I have during this lockout are probably all saying they’re going to boycott the NHL. I’m not one of those people. I’m not so naive that I don’t know my own tendencies. Am I going to flip on the game whenever I get a chance? Absolutely, but that won’t stop me from wondering how much more of all this we could have saved.

But that’s a moot argument now. I supposed we saved as many games as we could, and we’re still going to get the best part of the season in its entirety: the postseason. A playoffs culminating in the great show on ice: the Stanley Cup Finals.

A Stanley Cup Finals that’ll end a week or so before Independence Day. Meh, there goes my saltiness again.

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NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for NHL updates and other shenanigans.

 

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