I have mentioned the lockout multiple times, but I have really stayed away from my opinion on the topic. The majority of my articles are dedicated to stating the facts and allowing you, the reader, to be informed. Of course, with any major topic in hockey, I will eventually place my two cents on the table, and I feel that this is the right time to do so. If you read my last article, you will remember the metaphor I used involving a college student with a big assignment. The student might likely be doing work right up until the hours before the deadline. However, that student would have also done small amounts of work every day up until the deadline. So, to those around him, it may seem as though he is procrastinating. However, in the end, he makes the deadline and turns in a masterpiece. Of course, the last Collective Bargaining Agreement expired this past weekend, so many of you have probably thrown out my theory involving the college student.
The NHL and the NHLPA still has (in the fans’ eyes at least) until October 11th to get everything together. The 11th is the first day of the regular season, and if the two sides can come to an agreement before then, no games on the regular season will be missed. So, this serves as yet another deadline for the NHL and NHLPA to shoot for; or just completely miss on yet again. In my humble opinion, I really think the two sides should have made it a priority to have this issue solved before the last CBA expired. Even if an agreement was not reached until minutes before the expiration time, the two sides should have had an agreement down on paper at the very least. Now, we see our favorite NHL players flying across the globe to play elsewhere. On another note, does anyone really want to see Jeff Skinner or Gabriel Landeskog tear up the American Hockey League? It is great that they are still playing, but does anyone really want that? I think if you were to ask either of these two players, they would say within a heartbeat that they would much rather be playing in the NHL. It’s not as if these are third and fourth liners heading down to the AHL. Landeskog and Skinner are easily in the top 6, if not the top 4, forwards for each of their respective teams. In an article written by Pierre Lebrun of ESPN, the argument of motivation was brought up:
The question now with this year’s crop is whether some of the NHL youngsters will feel a little deflated about being in the AHL and how they’ll respond. Take Skinner for example. He’s already proved himself a top-level offensive threat in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes. How motivated will he be to play in the AHL? – Pierre Lebrun, ESPN.
Lebrun is exactly right when it comes to Skinner. He’s already shown everyone in the league that he is a second tier forward. I am by no means saying that h belongs in the group of Stamkos, Crosby, Ovechkin, and others, but Skinner is definitely on the rise and will soon be threatening Stamkos for the Rocket Richard trophy. So, the lockout may actually end up being a step back for Skinner at least. Sure, maybe lesser known (and less proven) young prospects like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alex Burmistrov, and Sean Couturier will benefit heavily from playing top line minutes in the AHL. But stars like Skinner and Landeskog will not.
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