“It’s a sad day for hockey, my friends”


See that quote up there? That’s not about this lockout, or the last lockout, or the lockout before that.

It’s from the 1992 players strike (which occurred in the final weeks of the regular season). John A. Ziegler (left), the small-minded president of the NHL at the time — more on him in a minute — canceled the remainder of the season and the ’92 playoffs because the sides couldn’t come to an agreement.

“It’s a sad day for hockey, my friends. A sad day for hockey,” he said.

Then within days, there was a deal.

Happened again in 1995 with the Lockout Commissioner in his rookie lockout. Season was over. Done. It was January. It had all fallen apart. There was no hope. Ooops. All of a sudden they had a deal. A miracle!

In 2005, the script was different. The owners weren’t signing off on a deal without a salary cap. So they canceled.

These owners of Lockout Commissioner’s Lockout III just want the best deal they can squeeze out of the players, and they definitely do not want to kill this season. And there have been reports that owners have told Bettman that is not an option, and the players know this. So it will, again, take until the drop-dead date (and then maybe another day or two after that) to get it done.

It will get done. But first it will look like it won’t. I wish I could take bets with all who think there won’t be hockey this year. There will be. it will just take the deadline to get it done.

Jan. 11 deal. Jan. 19 opening night. If there’s a final snag, or a staged “sad day” moment, add two days to each of those dates.


Ziegler was roundly criticized, by me especially, for running the NHL like a Mom & Pop league, not much talk about expansion after 1967, until the WHA merger. He believed the NHL was a fan-driven league, which didn’t necessary need to “market” itself around the country, in non-hockey cities, in Europe. He didn’t believe it needed, or could get, major TV money. Some teams didn’t televise home games.

He believed that most of the hockey revenue (or HRR as they call it today) should and would come from ticket sales. And tickets, therefore, were affordable.

He never made the NHL into a big-money league, as it is now, despite little national interest, minuscule ratings, a joke of a TV contract. But he also didn’t force teams into cities where they couldn’t survive, didn’t “grow the game” to the point where regular people can’t afford tickets.

You know, as foolish as he was — and he sure turned out to be on that Easter weekend when that 1988 Jim Schoenfeld-Don Koharski fiasco went down and nobody could find the president — he wasn’t completely wrong.

Just as this Lockout Commissioner, who has undoubtedly made a lot of money for the league overall with teams in places where they won’t survive, isn’t nearly completely correct.

Getty Images photo.

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  1. IF the league ever decides they want hockey to be played again, and when Bettman (in all his ego driven insaneness) hands out the cup again, I sure as hell hope that instead of booing him, the fans AND the players all chant ‘Assenhole” at him loudly.

  2. “Mom & Pop” was the same descriptive term my lovely wife used this night to describe the NHL. She’s right. The NHL could be so much more (not that I want it to be some global spectacle). People will view the league as the league sees fit to have itself viewed.

  3. nyrmessier011 on

    Been saying this for a while carp. I bet the season does get “cancelled”….then it’s back! Starts Jan 22 or something

  4. There is nothing more evil in this world that automated customer service phone systems. ARGHHH!!

  5. Either way…I’m ready…I can’t stop thinking about watching hockey again in a week or two…just sayin’

  6. MickeyM, an a-hole chant isn’t nearly strong enough. Guy should be out on his ever loving A.

  7. January 19th being a Saturday will see all 30 NHL teams in action starting with the previously scheduled 1:00pm games that afternoon. They will show games throughout the day and will culminate with late-night west coast games that will be like a day-long back massage for all of us hockey starved fanatics. The league will sprinkle confections of added behind the scenes footage and pre and post game interviews from their Center Ice Package (that they’ll still offer for free for just a few weeks instead of the entire 48 game season)… Regular programming will return to the NHL Network, that will also inundate us with PSA’s on how appreciated us fans are.
    Gary might even have enough guts to continue his weekly radio/TV cast to communicate directly with us. Nah, on that last one.

    All will be right in the world according to the NHL and NHLPA and us unsympathetic fans will eat it up. We’ll pay at the gate. Pay at the store. Pay in front of our computers and smartphones. And yes, some of us will even (over) pay for Center Ice and those last 41 regular season games!

    We’ll obey regardless of the half-hearted apologies and sarcastic acknowledgements in the return of OUR precious game. We’ll say yes to it all!


    We already love the game that has grabbed us at first sight. We love every damn thing about it! We don’t care really what they’ve been fighting for, even if we say we do cause we pay their salaries. We would be lying. We just simply DON’T care! We’re like modern day cigarette smokers; they’ll still spend $12/pack when they used to only spend a couple bucks! Why? Cause they need to smoke!

    ‘It’s a sad day for hockey’ is true for any day of this or any other work stoppage day during this illustrious sport’s history for the sole fact that we need it. We need hockey! The ‘sad’ part of it is THEY know this!

    It just better be something other than paint under the ice that they give back…

    We need this game.
    We need this game.

    I can’t continue to be friendly to my New Jersey Devils neighbors… I need to hate them!


  8. William that was a cool post except for the fact that there won’t be any hockey played until October

  9. Carp – thanks for the WTF! moment when i woke up this morning. I quickly scanned my twitter feed for more cancelled season headlines, then i read your post properly!!

    I can see this thing to-ing and fro-ing for a few days, the players need the threat of disclaimer as leverage against the threat of season cancellation (which is obviously not popular with owners and sponsors). This could go all the way till the 11th or 12th with a few low points between now and then.

    I still cant believe this insistence on the $60m cap for year 2, its really going to cause problems even with 2 buyouts. $63-64m would give a little wiggle room otherwise we could see wholesale trading of players to teams who can afford to buy out. Given our current roster i’d say its Redden and Rupp who get bought out, unless we trade Rupp for someone else and a few draft picks, then buy him out.

  10. Nice piece, Carp. You may be right, and they’ll come to an agreement soon, but it will sond like a tree falling in the forest when nobody is arouind to hear it fall. They’ve given up a lot of strategic good will in the process by not finding a sense of urgency prior to the lockout. Nice to hear that you are an optimist!

  11. Good post Carp and good follow up comments. The Lockout Commissioner is trying to force feed revenue sharing in a sport that when compared to the other major sports, does not have a national TV contract or merchandising popularity. As a result, he is asking Ranger fans and those in other successful markets to subsidize the smaller ones with our ticket prices and local cable revenue.

    Ever since the 1967 expansion, the NHL has been looking to establish itself in some markets that lack the requisite fan base without the revenue that the other sports have from their national popularity. I sure wish we had lower ticket prices and cable bills at the expense of dropping some of those cities where hockey will never succeed.

  12. This “manly” posturing is just too much. Maybe we should have had women deal with this so there could be some logic in the room and less of a power struggle / Flex Fest (Have fun with that one LW).

  13. I said all along there’d be NHL hockey this season.

    It truly is a silly game both sides are engaged in, but like it or not, that’s how negotations go more often than not.

    The line in the sand is and always has been somewhere around mid-January. Both sides have their goals – the owners to gain as much back fiscally as they can and players to hold on to as much as the previous CBA gave them. In other words, the players were never getting more; it has from the start been a matter of what the owners can get back.

    The 50/50 split of HRR was clearly the most visible and it was never a matter of if it would get there, but how. From there, the owners have been fighting for rules/regulations to ease the cannabilizing aspect of both their GMs and themselves (ie 6 year maximum contract length).

    It’s a push and pull mentality that will likely go right down to the final day (purportedly to be January 11), as each side holds out for the best deal.

    How annoying…

  14. joetex: Revenue sharing is also being pushed hard by the NHLPA, in case you didn’t know.

    And why not? Without it, it’s conceivable some teams would fold and if that’s the case, less NHLPA jobs….

  15. Sorry Carp! I think it was one little ‘S’ word but I do apologize! I haven’t contributed in months and I was finally upset enough to vent last night… Won’t happen again!


  16. Screw the season. I hope Fehr and the players association files the disclaimer of interest and the players individually sue the NHL. Oh Yea, I hope Buttman gets run over by a car in Manahattan when leaving his office and the sanitation department scrapes his greasy slimy body off the street and dumps it into the hudson.

  17. Im not worried about the disclaimer, the players want to have it available for leverage to try and get the NHL to move towards them on the last few issues. The league uses the threat of season cancellation as its main leverage, for the players its the disclaimer of interest.

    What we may see in the next week or so is how much pressure Buttboy is under from his owners to get this concluded in time for a season. Im just grateful we’re not getting these “best and final offer” or “hill we will die on” or “thats off the table” Bullcarcillo quotes from Bill Daly any more

  18. I agree about the disclaimer. It might have been a mistake to not use that option, or at least vote to “move” on that option, since Bettman is a snake and reverses course the next day. I think the players should get moving on that.

    From a brief look at the Player’s legal papers filed yesterday I think they actually have a point about this lawsuit that the NHL filed. You can’t ask a Court for advice. Therefore, the players should move forward in filing their own empty Court documents.

  19. I can’t wait to cancel the season. That way I can make sure the Pittsburgh Penguins get a chance at the #1 draft pick.

  20. LET SALLY TAKE CARE OF IT. I think Hammer could get in there and mix things up. She even has her own entrance music, “Mustang Sally”. That would get everybody going in the right direction.

  21. Get a room, you 2, in the same hotel as Roger Goodell, Bobby Kraft and his 15 year old model girlfriend.

  22. CCCP
    I’ll add you…though I suck at this NHL13.
    nothing like the old Sega genesis…WTB?

  23. I don’t appreciate people impersonating me. Let’s try and keep these negotiations professional.

    That said, hotel costs for commissioner-owner “meetings” should come out of the players’ share, too.

  24. AMEN, Staal. NHL 94 for Sega Genesis was/is the best game ever. LOVED it. After that I tried to play NHL 99 for N64 but it just wasn’t the same.

    Sega Rules.

  25. I have a bad cup of coffee in my stomach so I cannot discuss President Z at the moment.
    Just wondering if any of yous who I’ve shared sarcastic banter with over the last couple years have also made the comment to people that if we do wind up with half a season the Rangers will undoubtedly win the Cup so that they can be mocked over the next decade for winning in a “fake season”?

  26. I really want to quote some Billy Madison right now……..


    Kid: Mortal Kombat, on Sega Genesis, is the best video game ever.
    Billy Madison: I disagree, it’s a very good game, but I think Donkey Kong is the best game ever.
    Kid: Donkey Kong sucks.
    Billy Madison: You know something? YOU SUCK!

  27. Stanger Nation on

    Bring back Mom and Pop, reduce to 24 teams, shorten the season to 60 games so hockey is not played in June, let alone May. Chasing the NBA’s tail is a losing proposition – apples and oranges.

    The focus on growing the pie to be a Big 4 national sport is a sham – invest in NHL network and other technology. The evolution of flat screens has made hockey an absolute pleasure to watch and now with wi-fi capability NHL can better distribute product and market enticing regular season match ups. 3D HiDef NHL is a more viable path to future growth than supporting teams in Phoenix and Miami.

  28. Good Luck to the Boys in the Red, White, and Blue tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s Miller time at 7:00am, and the boys win another Gold.

    How much fun was it to watch that game yesterday morning?

    I’ve Kind of given up on the NHL, but I think you are right Carp.

    If there’s a season, it won’t take long to get behind the Rangers. But I’m tired of caring if there is a season…… does that make sense?

    That said, we’ve save thousands of dollars with no NHL. NO tickets, NO travel, No trips to New York, No trips to MN or Winnipeg, No Center Ice Package!!!

    So off to sunny warm beaches instead . . . . .

    Have a Sioux-per day Boys!!!! GO USA!!!

  29. Why are people so eager to force some sort of pseudo half season? The NHL can’t possibly lose any more casual fans, and the hardcore fans will be back regardless, so why not just cancel the season, and spend some real time coming up with a solution that actually benefits everyone?

  30. Jeff, because the deal won’t get any better for the players over the summer, and because they lose a complete year off their careers, not to mention a full year of salary. Whether fans come back or leave is irrelevant. But they’ll be back.

    Johnny, Ziegler made off with everybody’s sneakers.

    Good morning, Sally!

  31. Dark and depressing winter days with no Giants and NO HOCKEY. I’ve seen all the good movies out there (Loved Django) and it seems that Carp is cautiously optimistic. I guess we will know by next weekend.

  32. Just for the record, I couldn’t give a single damn about the game of hockey. I think it’s a silly sport (imagine a bunch of grown men chasing a little black disk around a sheet of frozen water – ha!).

    What I care about is winning. ME winning. At what cost is irrelevant and if the fans don’t come back, who cares because once this is done, I’m going into semi-retirement.

    Puck you all!

  33. That is a good read. With some great points. Like this one:


    Not once has either Bettman or Fehr said something like, “We ask our fans to bear with us. We’re trying. But it’s going to take time.”

  34. Why do we, as fans, have absolutely NO leverage against the NHL. When I walked by the NHL store and saw it not only OPEN but full of consumers I wanted to throw up all over it and them. We need to do something.

    I like the idea of never purchasing anything from the NHL again (aside from tickets) but is that even reasonable? Can we get enough people to care about it?

  35. We should all be ashamed to be fans of these sports anyway. They’re supposed to be escapes from reality (a reality in which life is unfair) and these sports are just as corrupt and unfair as reality. Sports are pathetic and useless, and the person(s) that wastes his life away caring about whether his team wins or loses really has no purpose living at all.

  36. Tiki,
    Sports have become reality…think about it…so much money…people beat the crap out of each other over what teams they like…Not to go political but very few people focus on real issues…we live in a low info society…
    People care more about sports than there own family…how else to explain a grown man “checking” out on Sunday afternoons to watch a bunch of thugs throw a football around…it’s a complete waste of time….just venting myself!
    Don’t even get me started on “fantasy” leagues!

  37. Pretty sure Bill Daly has mentioned sympathy for the fans in one of his many cancellation-of-games press releases. An entirely empty platitude, granted, but presumably enough to keep Damien Cox on the NHL’s side had he been listening.

  38. _I wanted to throw up all over it and them. We need to do something_

    Should’ve gone through with it. I now officially recognise my 2010 puke in the Prudential Center retrospectively as a protest against the future/current lockout.

  39. I won’t leave…
    I need the humor and release this blog affords me…
    Plus RR is the easiest “commitment” i’ve ever made…
    I may leave if CCCP starts killing me in NHL13 though…you may have to convince him…
    I feel like I need a PS3 tutor…I’m so out of the loop when it
    comes to video games…plus I feel like its an epic waste of time…just sayin’

  40. You all complain about the lockout, but boy oh boy are those awesome “THANK YOU FANS… AGAIN!!!” signs at center ice going to more than make up for it.

  41. I love the urgency with which they rushed to the table on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and the total lack of urgency they are showing on the holiest day of the year, Friday, January 4, 2013.

  42. so my computer say’s is 1:02 yet Manny posted at 1:04…
    Manny are you livin’ in the future?

  43. I think what’s being missed here is that the deal the league is offering the players is terrible and will only get worse over time. Disclaiming is a bit of a risk but given Bettman’s negotiating strategy of, “Here’s the crap we’ll give you dummies…oh wait, you talk too long; here’s less crap for you dummies,” I think it’s the only viable option open to the players. Yes it means the cancellation of the season, but to just accept a deal from this snake oil salesman for the sake of playing a 48-game season is foolish.

  44. well, there’s also this: that if they accept a deal they can get more than half of their salaries for this season, which on average is about $1.2M per player if I’m not mistaken. And a better deal than they will get later if this season is flushed. Snake oil salesman or not.

  45. The best thing would be for the NHL to get under way and the fans to stage a major protest (lockout of our own) and force them to FIRE BETTMAN.

  46. By the way, instead of “Potvin Sucks!” I REALLY think we should change it to “Bettman Sucks!” because… well… he does.

  47. We should. At every game and at every second of every game. We really are chumps to let this guy run our sport with nothing but a bit of booing when he steps out on the ice.

  48. I understand all of your frustrations. I want hockey back in Phoenix and Florida for years to come.

    …also, any revenue earned on “Bettman Sucks” t-shirt sales will be considered non-Hockey related Revenue.

  49. much more likely that Bettman A) Gets a contract extension or B) retires with a golden parachute than C) gets fired.

  50. Unfortunately “We Bleed Blue” has sold out of the awesome Fire Bettman shirts they made. (which are cleverly priced at $19.93)

  51. Carp – In the absence of hockey, will LoHud send you to MSG to cover the Professional Bullriders Association? Those little guys are tough as nails

  52. I want my fair share for those Fire Bettman shirts. Without me you would not have sold anything….dammit, now I sound like the players!

  53. Send Gary to Rochester. I’ll run his assen over with my car repeatedly then dump his limp body in the lake. I know all your lawyers here will represent me at my trial and I thank you in advance for that.

  54. Unfortunately Mickey, by cluing us into your plan you have triggered out ethical duty to report your planned criminal actions.

  55. What ocean animal does Bettman look like? We can protest by throwing that animal’s carcass onto the ice whenever hockey does return.

  56. There’s one fairly simple way to end this lockout. Someone kidnaps one family member from each owner, Bettman, and Fehr. It worked a decade ago for Toronto fans.

  57. Hope you’re ready to sleep for a long time @CCCP@

    You got it Sally. I will work up a bucket of vomit….Goonies style!

  58. Bettman place in hist… er in Panopticum’s formalin, is somewhere in between Hitler and Stalin, guided by stuffed bear effigy of Fehr, in most fans mind, isn’t it?

  59. “At left wing, starting for your New York Rangers,

    number sixty-one,

    Rick Nash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  60. Fehr: “Hole from bagel you will have instead of season, rich bastards-owners and others!”
    “Thank you, thank you” – adoringly shouted exuberant crowd of 99% of poppers-players.
    And only 1% of particularly gifted (in brains area) and supposedly rich from both sides, kept gloomy silence, recounting in deep pockets their fair share in cooper change.

  61. Puerto Rican day episode supposedly on at 7:00 on TBS in case you still haven’t seen it Carpy.

  62. I’m watching the Whale vs. the Phantoms on CSN tonight- I don’t know why the brass bonanza makes me so happy…

  63. dont worry Staal wart… i’l be gentle with you lol but you do have to practice…the game takes time getting used to

  64. Go Whale. Good night for the Wolfpack. Shutouts and Calories and TheWrath throwing down. What a farm system.

  65. I quit this game. Stupidity is reigning and I hate stupidity more than anything else in the world.

  66. oh boy. poor Canada.

    Murphy got schooled!

    The Russians are taunting the Canadians as they skate by the bench.

  67. Doodie Machetto on


  68. Doodie Machetto on

    For all of the people hyping Jones as the #1 pick based on his play in this tournament, I have a short cautionary tale for you: Erik Johnson.

  69. True Blue Mike (At least most of you can remember 1994) on

    Jones looks pretty good. I don’t know much about this draft year but I like his play. The two players that I have been most impressed by this tournament is Gaudreau and Yakupov. Gaudreau is playing amazing so far and has in the past few games. I am not happy at all with the play of J.T. Miller, he does not look like a first round pick. At least he will go to the front of the net.

  70. Doodie Machetto on

    Yeah, Calgary has to be pretty excited by Gaudreau. 4th round! Between him, Baertschi, and Granlund, they absolutely crushed it in 2011.

  71. JT Miller doesn’t have the skill that those guys do. His game is to post up in front, win face-offs.

    He is doing much better lately.

  72. Best article I’ve read about this lockout. Well done Carp. And, per your very first article about the lockout, they really should write “F–k you fans” on the ice.

  73. Doodie Machetto on

    I refuse to belive a Phil Housley coached team would struggle on the penalty kill! Outrageous! Phil “Defensive Wall” Housley!

  74. Doodie Machetto on

    screw you, Hradek! that’s why nobody wants you as a scout anymore. Even ESPN was like “yeah, this guy sucks.”

  75. Doodie Machetto on

    USA is way too sloppy with the puck in their own zone. Way too many failed clears/turnovers.

  76. Rocco *Grimaldi* already has TWO!? Off the body, Anisimov style. I should have woken up earlier. Guess I know which pizza place I have to frequent this evening…

  77. Doodie Machetto on

    I’ll say this about JT Miller’s performance, he is showing me that he will be exactly what he projected to be: a solid third-liner. Which is fine. You need those kinds of guys on your team to win.

    The problem I had with drafting him is just a difference in draft philosophy. Once all of the top prospects are gone (and they were at that point because it was such a shallow draft), I think you should just go for who has the most upside. That is not and clearly was not JT Miller. But he should be a definite third or fourth liner within the next year or two.

  78. Especially if the cap is so low we need a lot of guys to come up and make league minimum. No more $2M+ guys below the second line.

  79. Doodie Machetto on

    Manny, my point is that bottom six forwards are more likely to be found in later rounds than top six forwards. So great, we got a definite bottom 6 NHL player in JT Miller, but I would have preferred a potential top 6 guy and then loading up on potential bottom 6s later.

  80. Doodie Machetto on

    You tell me how a player getting tripped goes horizontally airborne 4 feet off the ice?

  81. Doodie Machetto on

    Ugh, USA getting sloppy. They need some good puck possession. Get it down low and cycle if only to start working down the clock away from your goal.

  82. Doodie Machetto on

    Is there any question as to whether Gibson is the tournament MVP? Maybe Gaudreau?

    If they give it to Seth Jones I’ll kill myself.

  83. True Blue Mike (At least most of you can remember 1994) on

    Gibson has been amazing. I would probably give it to him but Gaudreau is a close second.

  84. Doodie Machetto on

    Mike, how can you not remember it? MSG won’t let you forget. I swear they have covered 1994 more in the last 5 years than they did in 1994.

  85. True Blue Mike (At least most of you can remember 1994) on

    Haha I was 2 years old when they won the cup. No recollection what so ever.

  86. Doodie Machetto on

    If you watch MSG, you’ll know more about it than I did watching it as it happened.

  87. True Blue Mike (At least most of you can remember 1994) on

    Haha Doodie, I have seen the Devils and Vancouver games or at least parts of them over and over again.

  88. True Blue Mike (At least most of you can remember 1994) on

    Wooooooohooooooo Gold Medal byfgleuin Canadians!

  89. Doodie Machetto on

    Oh man, did you hear that list of American best goaltenders? Anaheim better sell Gibson now!

  90. Doodie Machetto on


  91. Doodie Machetto on

    This is a major victory for Div 1. The defense was a clear strength of the squad and almost all of them are NCAA. And while most of the NCAA forwards were depth guys on this team, Gaudreau was incredible.

  92. Damn, I had to work this morning…Missed the game. But, USA! USA! USA!
    How was JT?

    Good morning, boneheads!

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