Okay, let’s be honest here: there’s only one main reason that the NHL Lockout is terrible. There’s no NHL hockey. That’s a given. But this ongoing (and hopefully soon-ending) lockout is negatively affecting hundreds of thousands of people across North America and forcing us into watching other hockey that is just not the NHL that we know and love. As meeting after meeting, and deal offered/deal rejected, drag on, we’re all just banking on one thing: that we get to see a few games before we miss an entire season.
While the entire continent is suffering (unless you’re really into the AHL or enjoy sitting at your computer on illegal sites for countless hours watching the European and Asian leagues), things are pretty tough for those of us in Boston.
10. The Boston Celtics are miserable.
You thought the 2011 and 2012 Boston Red Sox were bad? Please indulge me and turn on your TV for just one Celtics game. The whole game. Even the most amateur of basketball fans will be screaming at the TV by halftime, I promise you. This is almost the same team that made the playoffs last year and had a decent shot of beating the championship wielding Miami Heat, but this season, they can’t even beat some of the worst teams in the league.
9. Black and gold is obsolete, unless you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Bruins merchandise is pathetically hanging from stores’ displays everywhere you go in New England, especially in Boston, and even more prominently if you’re anywhere near the Garden. They want you to buy it. They need to make money. It’s the only merchandise that is fully stocked, and keeps mysteriously going on sale mid-season. Boston, and North Station for that matter, should be practically painted in a black-and-gold-victory-sea-of-people before and after games this time of the year. The ProShop has just one wall of fully-stocked Bruins merchandise, while the rest of the store looks like super-fans of the Celtics dropped off every Celtics-related piece of memorabilia and vintage apparel since the team’s inception in 1946.
Even worse? The businesses around the Garden that excel during the season are struggling to pay their rent, because the nights when the Bruins are supposed to be playing and bringing business to their restaurants, bars and parking structures, crickets can be heard throughout the city.
8. There are no fun fights to watch.
Half the fun of NHL games are the fights, and while the NFL replacement refs gave the NHL a run for their money back in September, since then not a drop of blood has been shed. If Shawn Thornton hadn’t been so great at hockey, he easily could’ve been a professional fighter with a little training, and watching him beat the pulp out of whoever he feels like punching 15-20 times a year is thrilling for every B’s fan. (Relive NESN’s montage of all 20 of Thornton’s fights from the 2011-2012 season here.) I guess I could just watch a boxing match, but it doesn’t really feel the same. Hockey fights up-the-ante…there’s ice, and pounds of equipment in the way, it makes the fight that much more difficult…and then the DJ at the Garden puts music to it…and it’s glorious.
7. There is nothing, and I mean, nothing on TV. And nothing on NESN.
You thought not being able to get tickets to a C’s game or a Pats game sucked? Try not being able to get those tickets + hundreds of B’s games cancelled, coupled with all the terrible re-runs and “holiday” specials that are being broadcast endlessly. Oh, and don’t forget the Winter Classic was supposed to be today. You didn’t forget, did you?
NESN has two products: Red Sox games and Bruins games. The Red Sox games are broadcast from pre-season March/April until September (since they haven’t been making the playoffs lately), sometimes October, and the Bruins are broadcast from pre-season September until post-season April. These overlap, as you can see. When one sport has a lockout, that kind of messes things up for the guy who’s in charge of programming over at NESN, which is why NESN Daily AM is now a three-and-a-half hour show, followed by five-and-a-half hours of “paid programming”; there are currently 4-6 episodes of Charlie Moore Outdoors per day (does anyone actually watch that show?), a few half-hour history bits about the Red Sox, or Bruins, and then more NESN Daily as a night-cap. I wasn’t kidding when I told you there was nothing on TV.
6. Rene Rancourt is forgetting the words to the National Anthem, so he says in a tweet.
Our, I repeat our National Anthem guy had to sing at a Worcester Sharks game a few weeks ago, just to keep the words to the National Anthem fresh on his mind. Where to next? He’s got his pick of AHL teams here in New England.
5. ESPN is still talking about Tim Tebow.
I know, I can’t believe it either. Ever since the Jets picked him up last off-season, it has been a non-stop Tim Tebow-fest on SportsCenter. I know where Tim Tebow lives, what he eats, his daily prayers, what he does at practice, that Hannah Storm giggles incessantly when she interviews him, that he shouldn’t be in the NFL, whether he prefers tighty-whiteys, boxers or boxer-briefs, that he hates the Wildcat, that he wants to go to Jacksonville, what color his underwear is today…okay, you get my point. Without Bobby Valentine managing the Red Sox, or the Bruins playing, who were going to be “vying” for another championship this year after being upset last season, ESPN has nothing to talk about except Tim Tebow for twenty-three out of twenty-four hours a day.
4. It was finally supposed to be Tuukka Time.
This was the year! We were going to get to experience full-out Tuukka Rask this season. After snubbing President Obama post-Stanley Cup, and his fans by taking the 2012-2013 season “off”, the Tim Thomas antics-era was finally over. During the 2009-2010 season Rask was the only netkeeper with a GAA that was under 2.00 (1.97), and with a save percentage (SV%) was over .930 (.931). He was the only qualifying goalie in the league that season to not be nominated for the Rookie of the Year award, and now has a Stanley Cup, and several more excellent seasons backing up Thomas under his belt. Rask signed a one-year $3.5 million deal with the B’s this past June, and is primed to become one of the top starting goaltenders in the NHL…when the Bruins start playing again.
3. EA Sports’ simulated games are totally lame, but there’s nothing else to watch.
Did I mention their current “simulations” have the Bruins in dead-last place in the Eastern Conference? Well, there’s really nothing else to say.
2. The Bruins players aren’t doing anything interesting around Boston for us to write about.
In all seriousness, not only do I have nothing to write about, about the Bruins because there is no Bruins hockey being played, but half the team is scattered across the world playing for Lugano, Lev Praha, HC Ceske Budejovice, Red Ice, Atlant Mytishchi, Pardubice, JYPin, HC Plzen, EHC Biel and Addler Mannheim, which means they aren’t in Boston doing charity work or attending events. And I can’t even pronounce half of those. The other reason that #2 is terrible? We can’t watch Tyler Seguin’s painful speed-dating, or follow his potential dates at Friendly’s in Watertown for a Fribble with Aly Raisman.
1. The NHL lockout is approximately 75% Jeremy Jacobs’ fault.
I wish I were kidding. I mean, not all 75% of that is composed of Jeremy Jacobs, but he is one of about three or four team owners who are pushing for change to the expired CBA, who collectively make up that 75% (the other 25% being NHL commissioner Gary Bettman). These team owners claim they are losing money because the salary cap floor is now higher than the original salary cap under the expired CBA, but they aren’t really losing money. The owners just want the salary cap to be lowered, in order to lower player costs and heighten their profit margin. The Bruins have the highest salary cap commitments in the NHL during the 2012-2013 season, which leads me to believe Jacobs is the ringleader of this CBA movement. The owners who don’t have the highest salary cap commitments, tend to be the ones who are against the lockout, but don’t have enough clout to end the lockout and create change.
Those are my top 10 reasons why the NHL Lockout is terrible for Bruins fans. Did I miss anything? What are you most missing this season without the B’s?