Bob Smizik

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For John Buccigross, the damage has been done. Two work stoppages in eight years has forever changed his relationship with the NHL.


By John Buccigross, ESPN.com

Wherever I go, people keep asking me, "Are you bummed about the NHL lockout?"

My answer? "No." (Then I say I am bummed only for those NHL team employees and fellow broadcasters who aren't getting fully paid. That angers me. More below.)

Listen, I'm a hockey fan and an NHL fan. Youth, high school, prep school, Junior, NCAA, minor league, NHL, World Junior Championship, Frozen Four, Swedish Elite, WHAAAAAAT-EVAH. It all entertains me. No NHL game has ever captivated me like watching my oldest (now retired), Brett, play and today watching 13-year-old Jackson wheel, sauce and snipe.

Today, I'm even less of an NHL fan and more of the above enterprises. (You think people aren't making money off your 12-year-old's "elite" travel sweat? Think again, Ma and Pa. And make that check out to Coach Ca$h-a-lot).

Two NHL betrayals in eight years? No, thanks. One infidelity changes a relationship forever, even if one side decides to outwardly forgive. Two? The relationship is either over lawfully or in the heart. It will never be the same, even after it continues and we continue watching games.

Read the rest of the story.

Comments (26)Add Comment
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written by heartbeatsings, November 21, 2012 - 03:25 PM

Man, if anyone ever needed an editor it's Buccigross. He could have had a nice little 100 word piece there, but who has time or intrested to wade through all that hot air?
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written by Nick Cain, November 21, 2012 - 03:40 PM
As Peter Keating wrote in ESPN The Magazine in October, "Last year, NFL teams shared about 60 percent of $9 billion in revenues, while NHL teams shared about $150 million of $3.3 billion, only about 4.5 percent." The sharing has to increase.


Unbelievable..
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written by Rob V., November 21, 2012 - 03:58 PM
I agree with Buci. I've eena big hockey fan for many years but this lock-out has angered me. Especially for all the people outside the NHL that are losing money and their jobs because a few big millionaires can't figure thing out.

I live in a non-hockey market so I always purchase NHL Online games pack so I can follow the Pens. I won't when they come back on this season. Maybe I'll return in a few years but for now I am doing fine without hockey.
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written by Max, November 21, 2012 - 05:17 PM

Man, if anyone ever needed an editor it's Buccigross. He could have had a nice little 100 word piece there, but who has time or intrested to wade through all that hot air?


He must have gone to school with Ron Cook.

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written by Max, November 21, 2012 - 05:18 PM
Hasn't MLB had more than one strike/lockout shortened season?

And who was their labor leader?

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written by Burghman28, November 21, 2012 - 05:22 PM
I wish I could say that this lockout has angered me but it hasn't. I would say I'm disgusted but I hate to say this is almost the type of thing to expect from the NHL. While other leagues do their best to promote their league to new fans and fight to keep their loyalty the NHL trips over itself to push fans away.

Does anyone outside of a loyal hockey fan care about this? How many true hockey fans are left? This is a league thats be delegated to a 3rd rate TV station for its playoff games.

This league and its players are a joke that will expect all of us to help make up all the lost money from this strike in the long run.
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written by alexpo, November 21, 2012 - 05:28 PM
I'm very bummed. Thanksgiving Eve is traditionally a huge night for hockey, virtually every team in the league plays on that night (sometimes all of them). The longer this goes, the more depressing it gets.
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written by BarelySane, November 21, 2012 - 05:29 PM

This league and its players are a joke that will expect all of us to help make up all the lost money from this strike in the long run.


Not too many will go out with someone who's stood them up once, let alone twice.
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written by scootermojo, November 21, 2012 - 06:06 PM
Curious choice of words by Bob, who's well known as a person who LOATHES the very existence of hockey. It's not HOCKEY that has abused the fans trust it's the NHL and specifically it's executives and owners as evidenced by the article (wonder of Bob actually read it?) Of course Bob just took this opportunity to slam the game of hockey instead of slamming the real culprit in the NHL lockout....typical of his writing.

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written by catdaddy, November 21, 2012 - 06:33 PM

If this NHL lockout has soured anyone on the sport because they are witnessing intractable greed by both parties and a disregard for fans and the working stiffs who make their living off of the scraps of professional sporting events, I say wake up! These are the same players who you were cheering during the season and playoffs earlier this year. These are the same owners whose pockets you were lining with your hard earned cash earlier this year. These 'villains' were 'heros' not 6 months ago. So you really believed these people were all about 'the sport' and not about personal gain? What planet are you living on?

Sure, a few fans will actually be motivated by an awakening to the obvious avarice, will respond with righteous indignation and leave the sport to its own devices without their monetary contributions for a while. But this too likely shall pass. Most will have their rear ends planted in arena seats or on couches in front of their TV 10 seconds after a new CBA is agreed to and the first games begin.

Baseball survived its 'lost World Series', the NHL its previous lost season, The Pirates 20 years of losing. Fan amnesia is epidemic and incurable and its clear that those who play professional sports and own the franchises haven't forgotten that.

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written by BlueSinSav, November 21, 2012 - 06:40 PM

I just read where after discussing the union's latest proposal, Bettman said that both sides are far apart. No talks are scheduled.
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written by BlueSky, November 21, 2012 - 07:20 PM
The NHL had ALL Summer to negotiate an agreement with the players union. There was never ANY urgency towards
getting a deal done before September.
The days are getting shorter, along with the chances of a TRUE season.
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written by Hell Unleashed, November 21, 2012 - 08:02 PM
Somehow this must be Fluery's fault.smilies/wink.gif

Sorry, just used to complaining about Marc Andre by now. Miss it...smilies/cheesy.gif
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written by Knuterock, November 21, 2012 - 08:11 PM
Bob

I really don't pay attention to hockey until the end of March any way.

I hope they play an abbreviated season that starts at the beginning or middle of January. Just 2 and 1/2 months of regular season then the playoffs.
Sometimes less is more.
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written by t2pyah, November 21, 2012 - 09:01 PM

'less is more' NHL would be welcomed by me; hockey season extends too long


and less is more MLB would especially be welcome


and 5 game playoff series for both

.



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written by t2pyah, November 21, 2012 - 09:04 PM

if you have a void (due to the NHL lockout) - consider college basketball

Pitt

Duquesne

RMU

etc


.
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written by Bingram, November 21, 2012 - 09:26 PM
I am always fascinated by the hockey fan base...they love hockey the the exclusion of nearly everything else. There are those in the media that fall all over themselves in their slavish devotion to the Penguins.

Bob is often maligned on his own blog as a person who "loathes" hockey, only because he is known to be critical of the game. But at the same time, Bob is plenty critical of baseball and the Pirates, but is generally believed to love baseball. Curious.

I also notice that when there is a blog about the Pirates or Steelers or even Pitt or Penn State, the number of comments can run into the hundreds. Stories about hockey rarely generate more than a handful.

Hockey is a fine game, but it is what it is, a niche sport with limited appeal.
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written by AHab35, November 21, 2012 - 09:49 PM
I read this article last night and my first thought was Bucci nailed it. He did a great job of explaining the angst and disappointment of fans who get the shaft while billionaires and millionaires fight over a $3.3 Billion pie.

I'm a hockey degenerate and I'm not going anywhere. For better or for worse I'll be there the minute hockey starts again.

But hockey is a niche sport in this country that struggles terribly for mainstream acceptance. Every lost fan hurts the game. If this lockout costs the league 10% of its fan base and associated revenues its hurts the league significantly.

The pie these idiots are fighting over will permanently shrink and everyone loses.
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written by JonVito, November 21, 2012 - 10:12 PM
AHab, I share your sentiment exactly. Will whatever gains either side make be bigger than the fans (and those fans' disposable income) that they are sure to lose?
I just really do not see many people on various message boards, facebook, or whatever else have you lamenting the loss of games much anymore. Apathy is an unintended consequence when these kind of labor games are played.
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written by PittsburghSportsRocker, November 21, 2012 - 10:52 PM
Honestly it's gotten to the point where I feel apathetic towards all of this. My anger has faded and I'm just sick of all the typical BS coming from both sides. We all knew that Fehr was going to damage the game even more and he's doing a hell of a job of it right now.

scooter, anyone with an ounce of sensibility knew that Bob was talking about the NHL in his title and not the sport of hockey. Go ahead and show me where in his two sentences he slammed the game of hockey? Pretty lame attempt to discredit him. Try better next time. Oh and if you don't like his writing then why are you on here reading it?
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written by Vinqtin, November 21, 2012 - 11:03 PM
I'm no lwyer but shouldn't taxpayers and local governments that have financed the building of new arenas on the promise of increased revenues be able to file suit against the league to recoup what was promised to them.
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written by Batavia, November 21, 2012 - 11:21 PM
The increased revenues go to the Penguins. The government makes its money on the levy of a tax on ticket sales. The higher the dollar amount of ticket sales, the more tax collected. No revenue means no tax. The idea of a lawsuit is ludicrous.
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written by PiratesFanSince1960, November 21, 2012 - 11:22 PM
Just the tip of the iceberg in sports. Gonna be a part of our joy forever. Almost as bad as Hostess Fruit Pies and the company in bankruptcy.
III
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written by Retire#21, November 21, 2012 - 11:54 PM
I don't sweat lockouts or strikes. When they play, I'll watch, if they sit out a season or two, I won't. Makes no difference in my life, I'm not the one losing a year of exhorbitant pay out of my finite career.

If I could paraphrase from a Bronx Tale, Mickey Mantle don't care about me, he ain't gonna pay my rent if I can't, so why should I care about him?
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written by STATONJM, November 22, 2012 - 12:24 AM
I am rooting for the season to be cancelled. The overpaid rich players will leave to play in Europe.

The lower paid players will return to play for affordable reduced salaries. It will take years to return to the highest quality of play, but the result will be that a family of four will be able to afford to go to a hockey match.

The sport will go back to being a North American sport and therefore will have more people to root for from American and Canadian colleges. These players now are forced out because of the high priced European players.

The best players in the world are European. Yet they have priced themselves out of the NHL. Without TV money, the NHL has priced itself out of the reach of ordinary people.

The cancellation of the season will solve most of those problems. Ten years from now with homegrown stars, the game will be back better than ever.
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written by Vinqtin, November 22, 2012 - 12:27 AM
written by Batavia, November 21, 2012 - 11:21 PM

The increased revenues go to the Penguins. The government makes its money on the levy of a tax on ticket sales. The higher the dollar amount of ticket sales, the more tax collected. No revenue means no tax. The idea of a lawsuit is ludicrous.


Yeah, I was kinda thinking of something else. I'm probably too tired to be thinking. smilies/grin.gif

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