Wow. No NHL draft, no Sidney Crosby.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League says his contract is in effect with them unless he’s drafted by an NHL team. So that means Europe isn’t an option if there’s no NHL draft this summer.
Crosby might wind up a key part of the negotiations between the players and the league.
Crosby is the most exciting hockey player to come down the pike in quite some time. It’s in the NHL’s best interest to get him on the ice as quickly as possible. If Crosby is as good as everyone thinks he’ll be, he’ll bring a lot of hockey fans back into the NHL’s tent. Those might be fans turned off by the lockout. They might be fans who haven’t watched hockey since the 80s. They might be fans bored by the NBA’s upcoming lockout (login info.).
The NHL has spent the last few years systematically screwing itself, expanding into markets where they weren’t wanted, taking speed and skill out of the game, and finally locking its players out. The owners aren’t stupid. They realize hockey is hurting. And they know that even if they end up with a cap, there’s still a lot about hockey that needs to be fixed. A genuine, untarnished superstar is the best way to start repairs.
The players and owners haven’t been able to find much common ground. But I’m guessing both sides can agree that a star like Crosby will help the league. Maybe that’s where Wednesday’s negotiations need to start.