Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lockouts Add Up...Quick

It seems the NHL and the Players Association are coming closer to reaching an agreement that will not only allow for an NHL season, but allow for a full 82-game NHL season.  Obviously, all hockey fans want an NHL season.  However, it's especially important given that no major sports league in the nation has missed as much time in action as the NHL.  Looking at the past 40 years, here is the percentage of regular season games missed due to strikes, lockouts, etc. for each major league:
  1. NHL - 4.3% (missing 1,698 out of 39,173 possible games)
  2. MLB - 2.4% (missing 2,156 out of 89,262 possible games)
  3. NFL - 1.67% (missing 154 out of 9,192 possible games)
  4. NBA - 1.66% (missing 704 out of 42,230 possible games)
The issue is all the more troubling because all of the NHL's trouble has occurred in the last 20 years due to the lockouts in 1994 and 2004.  Ignore the first two decades from the above mentioned stats, and the percentages are as follows:
  1. NHL - 7.3%
  2. MLB - 3.0%
  3. NBA - 2.9%
  4. NFL - 0.0%
The NFL almost ruined it's recent good run last year, but instead only lost preseason time.  Clearly, the NFL knew the importance that if they wanted to remain the nation's predominant sport, they needed to be on the field.  MLB lost the latter part of it's 1994 season, and the first few weeks of 1995 to their last strke, and it took years to make up for it.  Many fans still have no returned since then.

However, the NHL seems to have no issue with rolling the dice on these situations.  While, the sport may luck out, and not lose any games after all this year (only a delayed start), if they do lose any games, it would be their third lockout resulting in such since 1994.  The last league to lose games to three different lockouts was Major League Baseball, and they were far more spread out (1972, 1981, 1994-5).

The 7.3% of games lost in the last two decades is already poor enough, but just to prove our devastating it would be if the 2012-13 season was indeed lost, here are what the new 20-year percentages would look like:
  1. NHL - 12.4%
  2. MLB - 3.0%
  3. NBA - 2.9%
  4. NFL - 0.0%
Losing 12.4% of NHL games in a 20-year stretch is akin to losing close to 3,000 games total, almost two and a half seasons worth.  Keep it up NHL, and it won't be long at all before Major League Soccer replaces you as one of the main four sports leagues in the country.

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