With the 28-day lockout already erasing weeks of hockey, the NHL and the players' association might resume labor negotiations on Tuesday. The owners are adamant the players accept a drop from the 57 percent of revenue they received in the previous deal, while the players don't want to consider cuts because the revenue pot reached record numbers last year.
"I understand the owners have issues and the players have issues. But, we fans just want to watch the games. Even after the last several labor situations, the sport kind of was making its way back. The past four years have been incredibly strong. The Winter Classic has turned non-hockey fans into hockey fans. Just as they start gaining ground, there suddenly is a lockout.
"Now you'll have to dial everything back four or five years. The fan base will be mad because everyone wants their money. I know that commissioner Gary Bettman said the fans will always come back. That's true. But fans still can resent it. I feel the same way. I'll be there when they come back but they need to remember to think about the people who pay the money to come watch. That is not the attitude to take to the people.
"It's important for them to remember that the game is first and foremost. The game is bigger than everybody, the owners and the players. It's not just a sport but a national pastime in a country that has turned it into a religion. Hockey is not a mobile sport. It has roots. They tried to move it down south and you see what happened. They need to honor the game.
"You should never have a lockout. You fight if you must. You work without a contract. But stop play all together? I'm 42 years old and I've seen enough hockey to exist a year or two without. But what happens to your kids? My [Los Angeles] Kings just won the Stanley Cup but now there is no hockey. How do you explain that to a 9-year-old? I get it. It's a money game. People got to get paid. It's the beautiful simplicity based on people saying, 'I need my cut, my percentage.' I get it. People want to make money. But they need to think about the audience. Without the audience, you ain't got no money."
Director Kevin Smith is a huge hockey fan and made his views known while in New York for Comic Con.