Tonight the Red Wings visit Nationwide and I am curious to see how many of their fans come to the game. I’m not talking about the people who drive in from Marion and Upper Sandusky. I mean the fans who live in the Detroit area. The economy has not improved since the playoffs, so the scalpers might not have the huge market that they usually have when one of the favored opponents comes to town. Say what you want about Detroit, but if it weren’t for their fans and their money, the Jackets would have another half-empty arena tonight. Week nights have not been kind to the local team this season.
I have seen Fredrik Modin at the local rinks a few times recently and he still is limping. At 35 years old, he is paying the price for a lifetime of going to the net and getting banged around. He is always pleasant to the people who approach him and always signs autographs and answers questions. But he can’t be happy with the way things have turned out for him.
There is a lot of local talk about the financial situation of the Blue Jackets, but fans should also be concerned about the future of the NHL. I’m not implying that the league is in trouble, but the current CBA will expire by the end of 2012 and I don’t have a clue as to what will happen. The NHLPA (great read from Elliotte Friedman) is in disarray and the NHL itself has some weak franchises to shore up. We, the fans, could see a lot of different things happen, such as contraction of weak franchises, a different type of salary cap, a weakened salary cap, a more militant union, or possible competition to the NHL itself from Europe or North America. With this on the horizon, the league can’t be very appealing to any TV network.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a good game tonight. Welcome to Columbus, Detroit, but go Jackets.