To expand upon Michael Russo's earlier report (by Kevin) that the cancelation of the 2013 Winter Classic is being delayed because of Hurricane Sandy, Katie Strang of ESPN New York has a source that reports what could be a devastating blow to the 2012-13 season.
A source familiar with the league's plan told ESPNNewYork.com that the league is expected to cancel the Winter Classic on Thursday, the source said.
Since massive preparations would need to be made ahead of the January 1 date at The Big House, the NHL needs to make a decision soon regarding whether to cancel or not.
... I stand by this: if the NHL cancels the 2013 Winter Classic, then an announcement that the 2012-13 season is canceled should follow right behind it.
... If the enormous greed by both sides wipes out the NHL's signature moment outside of the Stanley Cup Final, then quite frankly the NHL doesn't deserve to have fans come back at some point to watch hockey.
Scott Burnside at ESPN wrote a piece this week suggesting that this "deadline" of today to call the Winter Classic on "On" or "Off" is completely bogus and just another example of the league trying to find some leverage on the players. Can't say I disagree.
Construction for the 2011 Classic in Pittsburgh began after the Steelers last home game in 2010 on December 23rd. Granted there's an enormous amount of planning that needs to go in to the event, 2 months is still an insanely large amount of time to claim there's some sort of drop-dead point.
Last year a rink was built at Fenway Park to let local high school and college teams play games. The NHL wasn't even involved. Now I have no idea if that was a profitable decision, but the point remains that if the NHL went forward with constructing a rink in Michigan, regardless of the status of the season, it's still going to get used. Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and all have Canada have College and AHL teams that would love to play an outdoor game, and fans that would show up. And the employees who plan the event still work for the NHL right now, and are probably sitting around getting paid to do very little right now. The NHL might actually be smart to build that rink, put those people to work, and rent the rink to other leagues/schools generate some revenue during the lockout.