To borrow a line from a song, I should be weeping but it only hurts when I yawn. After enduring two lockouts as a member of The Hockey News staff, and feeling particularly raw in 2004-05 when we lost an entire season, I decided not to over-invest myself emotionally in the CBA follies this time around. A multitude of multi-millionaires may look grim and serious in front of the microphones, but all they’re really doing is playing games. High-stakes chicken, perhaps, but games nonetheless. So I’ve chosen to mostly ignore their rhetoric and posturing and opted not to align myself with either side. It’s just not worth it.
What does matter to me in this morass are the products we produce, the people who assemble them and the audience that consumes them. And the billion-dollar question has come from all quarters. What is The Hockey News going to do with no NHL games being played?
The simple answer? It’s business as usual. And that’s mostly true. The fact is over the past 15 years or so, THN has had to reinvent itself. In the printed products, we’ve eliminated team stats, game summaries and time-sensitive info that often had become irrelevant well before we’d go to press. That all moved to our digital world. In its place in the magazine, we’ve loaded up on substantial features, analyses and previews, expert opinion, human-interest tales and insider stories. As such, we’re well positioned for the shutdown – we’ll simply continue to do and explore more of the same. Just as the owners and players have war chests, we have a brimming bank of ideas and concepts. The break in action is unfortunate, but the crisis gives us time and space to expand our canvas.
Naturally, we’ll continue to keep tabs on the labor talks and offer our perspective, notably here on thn.com and via our mobile application. And we’ll follow the journeys of NHL stars, in particular those who opt to play elsewhere while the deep thinkers craft a new deal. But that’s only a piece of the puzzle. Count on us to increase our focus on the wonderful world of NHL prospects, offering scouting reports and personality pieces on the kids who are big-league-bound. We’ll also chronicle other compelling tales from the leagues in which they play and pay greater attention to what’s transpiring in the American League, Kontinental League, Sweden and other key Euro loops. The women’s game will get a brighter spotlight, we’ll blow out coverage of the World Junior Championship and offer more tips and advice for young players. It’s important to remember, we are The Hockey News, not the NHL News.
We’ve also got a lengthy list of provocative one-off story concepts in our bank. What would the Hall of Fame look like if we re-selected the members? Which players would make the cut in the NHL if we held a draft that only included six teams? At the risk of boasting, we like to think of ourselves as hockey’s Hiphopopotamus – our concepts are bottomless.
Sooner or later, all the rich dudes will figure out how to share their billions.
Hopefully, very soon. If not, don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered.