Hockey fans saw this hit coming for days, weeks, if not months.
And so, when the National Hockey League officially announced Friday it had pulled the plug on all regular-season games through to the end of November, it was hardly a crushing blindside blow that left the game's diehards zigzagging in a wobbly fashion to the bench wondering why their molars were loose and their heads pounding in pain.
The National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association aren't exactly playing nice right now and while these billionaires and millionaires argue, arenas all over North America will be devoid of the best players on the planet doing their thing, now up until Dec. 1.
Now, you can wonder how it got to this. Fair question. You can ask why it got to this. Just as important. But the bigger question -- and certainly the most pressing now that the lockout has hit crunch time now with players to lose full paycheques and the owners seeing their revenue shrinking -- is when will this silly nightmare end?
Sorry, but that's an answer not even the heavy hitters who are supposed to be at the negotiating table can't provide right now.
What we can provide is a look at some of the lockout's critical numbers/dollars. Gather round... pay attention... there may be a test...
The total number of regular-season games that have now been cancelled after Friday's announcement, a stretch from opening night on Oct. 11 through Nov. 30.
And that, gulp, represents 26.5 per cent of the season.
Included in that giant chunk of the scheduled that was spiked were 20 Winnipeg Jet games, nine of them which would have been played in front of the crazies at a sold-out MTS Centre. And the games which were yanked didn't exactly involve the lightweights like the Columbus Blue Jackets -- among those home dates cancelled were dates with local hero Jonathan Toews and his Chicago Blackhawks and other Original Six matchups against the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is a total of which the NHL should be ashamed: the number of regular-season games lost by the league over the last two decades, including the lost season of 2004-05 and the scheduled games through the end of November.
That's a lot of zeroes. But it's also the $3.3 billion pot of hockey-related revenue the owners and players can't agree how to divvy up amongst themselves. Under the last collective bargaining agreement, which expired on Sept. 15th, the players received 57 per cent of hockey-related revenue. The NHL's latest offer called for a split of 50-50 in the first year of the deal.
The NHL's revenue total of $3.3 billion a year ago represented an all-time high... and a 54 per cent jump since 2005.
Some subtraction to throw at you -- for every 10 games lopped off the schedule a player loses 12 per cent of his salary. So, consider this now that games have been cancelled until Dec. 1st: a 72-game schedule would still see the players earn 88 per cent of their salary; 62 games would see that number drop to 76 per cent.
This total -- the number of NHL players who have landed work in Europe -- could soon be cranking upward like the numbers on a gas pump with Friday's announcement.
Thanks to the folks at TSN, that number includes 99 Europeans, 38 Canadians and 15 Americans.
The contract value, in 2012-13 salaries, of those players now playing overseas.
According to capgeek.com, this is what the Jets' per-game payroll would be in 2012-13. The Jet who loses the most money per game is Evander Kane, who signed a brand-spanking new deal just before the last CBA expired on Sept. 15 worth $5.25 million in 2012-13. That's a per-game hit of $64,024.39.
More dollars and cents... this is the total salary hit Calgary Flames' star Jarome Iginla -- who suffered through the 2004-05 lockout -- would take if another campaign was flushed. Igina was coming off a contract that paid him $7.5 million heading into '04-05 and is, WAS, to make $7 million this season.
Just FYI, each cancelled game at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh is estimated to cost the city $2.2 million (source: Craig Davis, president of VisitPittsburgh in an interview with The Associated Press.) That amount includes tickets, concession sales, and the dollars thrown around at restaurants and bars, hotel rooms and parking.
The combined contract value of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, signed to 13-year deals by the Minnesota Wild during this July's NHL free agency.
According to Forbes magazine, the NHL ownership fraternity now includes 11 billionaires, including David Thomson of the Jets (net worth: $17.5 billion).
42, 43, 44...
The NHL lockout reaches Day 42 on Saturday. No CBA discussions are currently scheduled.