It probably won't really set in until we start losing games, but the NHL is currently in lockout mode after fruitless, summer-long negotiations. We are all frustrated by the way this was handled, and understandably so, but in the midst of focusing on the negative in this situation, has any of us thought about the positives?
Here at Hockey Wilderness, we're not just about pessimism (No, really! I'm serious!). There's always a silver lining. Everything happens for a reason. - Insert another cliché of the same nature -. The fact is, some good will come of this. Don't get me wrong, this lockout is killing me. In fact, I started #BlameTheLockout on Twitter. I blame the lockout for everything now. Every major war happened because of the lockout. Your shoelaces came undone while you were walking because of the lockout. Why did the chicken cross the road? Because of the lockout.
This list of pros I've come up with works in the event of a full-season lockout. Of course, we're all hoping this doesn't happen. Now, let me help you off the ledge.
Make the jump. Actually, don't jump just yet, get off the ledge first.
AHL EXPERIENCE FOR THE YOUNGSTERS
A full-season or even a half-season without NHL hockey ensures none of the Wild's grade-A prospects will be rushed into the big show. All the former juniors and European players will get some better-than-usual AHL conditioning. I say ''better-than-usual'' because all NHL teams have sent their top young players to the AHL. Jeff Skinner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, etc. AHL competition will be fierce and it will prepare Mikael Granlund and company quite well. The Houston Aeros look to have a very solid team too, so they SHOULD be able to develop chemistry and a winning culture.
THE OILERS WON'T WIN A SINGLE GAME
YOU GET TO CHECK OUT OTHER SPORTS
I'm kidding. Screw other sports.
IT WILL GIVE BOTH SIDES TIME TO MAKE A FUNCTIONAL CBA
Sure, the last CBA had holes. Sure, they took an entire season to think that one up. However, the salary cap was new to the league. They couldn't possibly have predicted some of the weirdness and slip-ups that occured in the first seven years of the salary cap era. Now, they know how it works. They know what to do and what not to do (maybe not 100%, but enough to function). They can fix the loopholes they found. If they take an entire season (God forbid), they should be able to implement a more well-tuned version of the current CBA. I would prefer that to a rushed CBA that would throw the NHL back into another lockout. Of course, I think they had enough time this summer to figure this out. There seemed to be a lot of faffing about and waiting for nothing. Anyhoo, NHL, NHLPA, if you're going to lockout, you better make it worth it. Put some actual effort into making a CBA that won't break after three years. We don't want a lockout every time the CBA expires.
THE WRITERS AT HOCKEY WILDERNESS WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE A BREAK
Also kidding. We don't have lives outside of HW (At least, I don't. Sigh.) Don't fret, the NHL may be locked out, but we certainly aren't. We'll do our very best to keep you coming back here all non-season long. Heck, there's still College, High School and American League Hockey and we cover all of those here.
So that's about all the solace I can give you in this bleak situation. The cons far out-weigh the pros for sure, but hey, maybe the lockout will be worth it. Maybe it makes the NHL better in the long run. Who knows? All we can do now is wait.