The NHL has canceled the remainder of the preseason before the labor negotiations this past weekend. I guess I gave them too much credit when I said that I thought that they would cancel games after the negotiations. None the less, the NHL and NHLPA went forward with their scheduled meetings Friday, Saturday, Sunday and met again today for two more hours. When they take days off like Monday, it is important to remember that it is part of the process to have internal discussions. Them taking off a day and getting back to it is a good sign, it just doesn’t mean anything in this case, because both sides have come out of it disgusted and chirping each other.
Anyway, with little details coming out of the meetings there is little to report on anything other than there is seemingly absolutely no progress but there was other news in the hockey world that came out this afternoon in the form of ESPN reportedly signing a deal with the KHL to stream games on their ESPN3 website.
This is notable for two reasons. The first being that with the start of the season all but canceled and chances of NHL hockey in October becoming increasingly more and more slim it will give fans an outlet to watch hockey when we planned too. ESPN will no doubt make it a point to stream games with familiar names including Penguins’ superstar Evgeni Malkin. (Others to be featured will surely be Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk.) If this report is true we will no longer be stuck searching for low quality streams and see the game played at a high level.
The second reason is that it gives the NHLPA just a wee little bit of leverage. This deal is much too small to make the NHL sign a fair CBA today but it does question the NHL’s monopoly of top talent. If money begins to flow to the KHL they would be able to pay players more and effectively lure more and more highly talented players to their league. This may also annoy the hell out of NBC who just paid 2 billion dollars for the sole TV rights to the NHL to launch their NBC sports network to rival the likes of ESPN in the future. Maybe NBC uses their weight and begins to push the owners to get something done. Probably not but I suppose it’s a possibility now at least. As I mentioned before I think NBC is the only player in this game capable of putting enough pressure on the owners to get the product back on the ice.
The report from the KHL is that ESPN3 will begin streaming KHL games tomorrow. I will do my best to alert you when you can catch Geno take the ice but i suggest you mosey on over to ESPN3 every once in awhile to check out the schedule. The only problem is you’ll have to catch the game at work because of the time difference and in that respect it’s probably better its streaming than on television.
Here is Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s Schedule so you know when to check over at ESPN3 to see if the stream is available.
oh and Jeremy Jacob’s is such a douche bag. He may be the worst owner in professional sports, well other than Bob Nutting.