NBC Already Looking to Replace Winter Classic

Rob Rossi at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that NBC is already looking at alternate programming plans to replace the Winter Classic.

…for those of you who think the NHL would never let the Winter Classic be canceled, think again.

…league still getting $200 million from NBC whether they play this season or not. No incentive to make a deal.

Meanwhile in the latest negotiation news, Pro Hockey Talk notes that after a quiet meeting on Friday, Steve Fehr of the NHLPA and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly touched base again on Saturday to iron out a negotiation schedule for this week.

…unreal that these guys are meeting about having meetings. Yep, the new CBA should be completed before we know it. Yeah, right.

In a piece of encouraging news, Pierre LeBrun at says that during Friday's conversation, both sides expressed to each other that it's time to compromise.

…and by compromise, they mean wait for the other side to back down. Which doesn't look like it's going to happen.

Finally, former Rangers GM Neil Smith spoke to the New York Post about how the 1994-95 strik hurt hockey…

“We were in an era where we had exciting teams in big, big markets. New York, Chicago had been to the finals and won a [1991] Presidents’ Trophy, Mario Lemieux was in his prime, Pittsburgh was a great franchise, and the L.A. Kings and Wayne Gretzky had gone to the [1993] finals against Montreal, which ignited interest in hockey on the West Coast, when also, the Canadiens won a championship which reinforced Canadian kookiness about hockey.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the air got let out of the balloon by the lockout. It’s undeniable that the lockout of ’94 lessened hockey’s chance of climbing the ladder.’’

…hard to determine the long term implications of this lockout, but that 94-95 work stoppage really destroyed any chance the NHL had of challenging the bigger sports in ratings and popularity. I feel this year's is very similar. Lots of momentum coming off a great Rangers run, then boom, lockout and the league is set back decades. Very sad.

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