Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Could Nashville's future NHL All-Star Game bid be affected by the lockout?
At this point, Nashville Predator fans appear to be somewhat optimistic that the current NHL lockout will be relatively short-lived and that their beloved Preds will be on the ice sooner than later.
Many pundits and "experts" point to the New Year's Day Winter Classic as a key date that the NHL owners, the NHLPA, as well as their broadcast partner, NBC feel that will need to take place to maintian the leagues viability as a major sport in the United States.
So what if it doesn't get resolved by year's end, or if it does, what if this year's All-Star game in Columbus is cancelled with additional regular season games added to the schedule in it's place?
Nashville, with its brand-spanking new Music City Center, set to be completed next year, adjacent to Bridgesone Arena, has been considered to be the front-runner for the next NHL All-Star game.
Prior to the lockout, there was uncertainty as to whether or not NHL players would play in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which has precluded All-Star games from being held in Olympic years.
If the 2013 All-Star game were to be cancelled, would Columbus automatically be given the next one to be awarded?
Adam Proteau, of the Hockey News, recently looked at what occurred after the 2005 game was cancelled in Atlanta. There was no game in 2006 due to the Olympics. On January 23, 2006, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman disappointed the Thrasher faithful by giving the 2007 All-Star game to Dallas.
Atlanta had to wait until 2008 to finally celebrate the NHL's All-Star's visit to the Phillips Arena.
So basically, you would assume, that the Nashville Predators, as well as city officials are hoping for a quick resolution to the NHL lockout so that the picture will not be clouded with compitition from Columbus for the next All-Star game, which with NHL Olympic participation, would be in 2015.
This is just one of many unknowns as the NHL lockout trudges along with no end in sight.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass