Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/02/12 at 03:33 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Make no mistake, the Winter Classic isn't broken, even if the process by which the league and its players go about trying to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement is clearly and deeply flawed.
It, like so many things connected to the lockout, is collateral damage.
So this isn't about throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And kudos for the NHL, which agonized over this decision even as late as Friday morning, for immediately announcing that the Detroit Red Wings would host the 2014 Winter Classic and that the Toronto Maple Leafs would once again be the visiting team.
Presumably, the NHL will work with the Red Wings, the University of Michigan and all of their other sponsors and partners to restore what promised to be the most ambitious, and likely the most successful, of the Winter Classic events in a year's time. That's assuming, of course, the two sides can get a deal done in time for next season's game.
If part of this season is salvaged, it will bear the stigma of being lockout shortened. Whatever passes for a season will always be a season with an asterisk that will constantly remind us of the greed and obstinacy of both sides.
But next fall, when, assuming there is a CBA in place, a new season starts, the Winter Classic has the power, the potential, to be a bridge between the disgrace of the lockout and what the players and owners will be hoping is a fresh start.
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