Red Wings

Fans shouldn’t punish Mike Ilitch or the Red Wings for the league’s downfalls

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Red Wings fans rejoice! HOCKEYTOWN is open for business!

After a 113 day labor dispute that locked out hockey for Red Wing and NHL fans alike the sport returns to the motor city. This news also comes in light of plans revealed a month ago on the possible new home for the Detroit Red Wings which could certainly attract a new and even broader fan base.

But first lets take a look at the details on the new CBA:

  • 10 year deal in which players or owners can opt out after 8 years.
  • 2 buyout clauses for teams.
  • $70.2 million dollar cap this year, then down to $64.3 million in 2013-14 and it will not fall below that. The cap floor is $44 million.
  • 7 year max on player deals with an 8 year deal possible if a player stays with the current team.
  • 50/50 split on shared revenue.

So with the business end out of the way I ask fans to please forgive the Detroit Red Wings for this latest setback in your time and quest for NHL hockey. Wings owner Mike Ilitch and the people of the Joe Louis Arena did not cause this lockout. Ilitch is one of if not thee best owner in not just the NHL but all of sports and certainly has the Detroit fan in his best interest. Case in point we need to not look any further than the money, time, and effort Mr. I puts into his teams.

As far as nationally though the NHL was in desperate need of an image repair which it doesn’t seem like it got from the lockout. I believe fans to a certain extent when they say they won’t watch while it’s a certainty the random games on NBC Sports, CBC and the game of the week will be hurt, but beyond that it’s hard to predict the damage.

Fans though in major markets will return to their teams and the NHL needs to pay back those fans especially. Three lockouts in 18 years is just bad business and in turn Gary Bettmen has become the hockey world’s public enemy No. 1. He has over expanded the league, has poorly marketed the product and players aren’t nationally known like they once were. And despite the lockout and image hit the NHL has taken, US hockey is no longer looked as 2nd rate, with guys like Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Ryan Suter, Zach Praise and Patrick Kane. All products of USA hockey and players the nation should be familiar with.

But what does the sport have to do this year to help repair itself once again?

Divisional realignment and do whatever it takes to get back in ESPN’s good graces.

Let’s face it; even with some of the criticisms of ESPN, they control the pulse of the sports world and ESPN can make stars. Get a couple games on ESPN 2 and work towards getting more recognition on Sportscenter.

Detroit isn’t the problem but there are many teams that need help. The problem also starts at the top of the league as history has shown Gary Bettmen is not the guy to bring the game back.

 

About Jason Bray

Detroit Sports Columist. Joined The Majors staff in 2012 covering the Detroit Lions.

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