Thursday, March 24, 2005

Draft Postponed

Today it was announced that the NHL draft scheduled for three months from now on June 25th and 26th has been postponed. You can read about that here.

This opens up some big questions about what happens to the players (particularly Sidney Crosby) who would have been chosen in this draft should it not occur at all. It will be an interesting story. I can make predictions, but lately the truth has been stranger than my fiction, so for now, I will refrain.

The NHL waited until February was almost over before cancelling the NHL season, when it had been obvious to many for the last month or so, that there was no time for a season. Now they cancel the draft 3 months in advance. Why?

Although I think it is unlikely that there will be a CBA agreement by draft time, there is still plenty of time to string along the draft before actually postponing it. I think this is a sign that the NHL is completely aware that there is little to no chance of a CBA deal soon. In fact, one could argue that this was obvious to them when they made their last two awful proposals.

I think that on the off chance the draft actually went ahead as scheduled, the NHL is better to do it with less fanfare behind closed doors in a conference call. I'm sure a draft open to the public in Ottawa will bring in some disgruntled fans. Some fans will be upset at the loss of the 2004/05 season, some fans will be upset that Ottawa gave up a great shot at the Stanley Cup in the lost season and other fans will be likely upset about the method used to determine the draft order. It probably would not be an orderly fan friendly draft under those circumstances.

Probably the best chance for the NHL public relations machine is to hide as much of their dealings as possible until they can unveil an actual hockey season. Drafts that would be open to the public are an example of a situation where disgruntled fans might be seen and heard and there is no hockey to showcase yet.

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