With a lockout set to begin starting at midnight, there are going to be a lot of fans left upset and heartbroken. The NHL may not have the wide-spread, religious following like the NFL but there are still going to be millions of fans deprived of the most popular hockey league in the world and you can bet that there is going to be a ton of backlash in response. This is going to be the second time that Gary Bettman has locked out the players in the previous 10 years and the last time it happened, the entire season was cancelled and the fans ultimately ended up being the losers of the whole dilemma. I'm sure that the last thing they want to see is for that to happen again but in the end, there isn't anything the fans can do about it.
They can be as enraged about this as they want and try to organize a rebellion through social media but in the end, this is between the owners and the players and the fans probably aren't going through the minds of the owners at the CBA meetings right now. Yes, it's a bummer to know that us, as fans, are basically helpless in this situation but another lockout isn't going to be the end of the world. Is it terrible PR for the NHL and another black mark on their permanent record? Absolutely, but the fans aren't the ones that have to suffer through this whole fiasco.
It's times like this that I remind myself that following the NHL is my choice and I'm the one who voluntarily decides to spend hours watching games, tracking data and spend money going to games and buying merchandise. If the NHL is going to shut itself down for the rest of the season, then I will just have to find something else to do with my time and that is far from the worst thing in the world.
Plus, the game of hockey is not going anywhere while the owners and NHLPA settle their differences. I mentioned this in my article about the Charlotte Checkers a week ago but if it's hockey that Caniacs in the Carolinas want, then all they have to do is make a voyage down to Charlotte. They are also going to see quite a few familiar faces down there this year as it was announced today that Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk and a few other notable names will be playing with the Checkers during the lockout. Not only that, but there is a good chance that a local hockey team is somewhere near you and they will definitely welcome your support right about now.
The NHL will be back eventually but until then, there are plenty of other ways for fans to get their hockey fix over the next few months. So what am I going to do during the lockout? I can tell you that this blog will stay active and I will continue to write plenty of articles about the Hurricanes and their prospects. There are actually quite a few guys in Carolina's system who will be playing in different leagues next year and the bonus free time should allow us to follow them more closely than before. After the jump, we will take a look at these players, what teams they will be playing for and how you can follow them.
AHL - Charlotte Checkers
If you live in the Carolinas and have Tim Warner Cable, then some of their games are available on their digital station (520). It hasn't been announced which games will be televised but I'm sure that there willl be at least a few. If you don't have Time Warner Cable, then you can probably catch most of their games on the radio or use the AHL's web site to stream the games. You have to pay for a subscription but I'm sure that fans will have some spare funds from not having to purchase Game Center or Center Ice this season.
Players: Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, Victor Rask, Nicolas Blanchard, AJ Jenks, Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk, Riley Nash, Jerome Samson, Justin Shugg, Jared Staal, Brett Sutter, Brody Sutter, Chris Terry, Tmmi Kivisto, Justin Kruger, Austin Levi, Rasmus Rissanen, Bobby Sanguinetti, Beau Schmitz, John Muse, Justin Peters, Joe Sova
Phillippe DiGiuseppe - Michigan Wolverines
If you want to watch PDG's Wolverines, then be on the lookout for Big Ten Network's television's listings then they come out. There are usually some Michigan games aired on that channel. Michigan hockey games can also be watched on some Fox Sports stations for those of you with satellite or FiOS services. Also check out their school's web site for more information on how you can watch games.
Danny Biega - Harvard Crimson
Two of Harvard's games will be shown on the NBC Sports Network this year; Nov. 16th vs. Cornell and their Jan. 18th showdown with rival Yale. Biega is the captain of Harvard's hockey team this year, so I would mark those two dates on your calendar if you want to get a sneak peak of what he could bring to the Canes in the next few years. You can also look at Harvard's web site for more information on televised games and view their schedule. The ECAC has a deal with NESN, so I think most people in the Carolinas might be out of luck if they want to watch Harvard, unfortunately.
Brendan Woods - Wisconsin Badgers
Carolina's fifth round draft pick from this year will be playing his sophomore season with the Badgers and there is a good chance you might be able to watch some of their games on the Big Ten Network or one of the Fox Sports stations. View their schedule for more information. Their game against Nebraska-Omaha on Mar. 1st can also be seen on the NBC Sports Network.
Collin Olson - Ohio State Buckeyes
The CCHA and the WCHA are well represented in the Canes prospect pool as their sixth round pick from this season will be a back-up goalie for the Buckeyes this season. Olson is a freshman and there are three other goalies on the roster so I'm not sure how much playing time he will get, but if you want to watch the Buckeyes, be on the lookout for their games on the Big Ten Network or FS-Ohio.
Canadian Hockey League
There's a good chance that these games won't be on television unless you live in Canada, but you folks in the stats can stream OHL games from this site. That or hope that the NHL Network streams some CHL games. As for the WHL, they also have a streaming site available. Carolina doesn't have any prospects in the QMJHL but I'm sure they also have a site like that available.
Ryan Murphy - Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
The lockout made the decision to send Ryan Murphy back to junior about 100 times easier for the Hurricanes because he can't make the team if there is no training camp. It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers Murphy puts up this year and how much his overall game has improved.
Daniel Altshuller - Oshawa Generals (OHL)
He might be the starting goaltender for the Generals this year after winning OHL Rookie Goaltender of the Year honors last season.
Brock McGinn - Guelph Storm (OHL)
Carolina spent one of their second round picks on him in this year's draft and a lot of people considered it a huge reach because McGinn is primarily a checking forward and doesn't produce much offense. I'm curious to see how he turns out because while I wasn't a fan of the pick, I am hoping that he works out. Also worth noting is that former Hurricane Scotty Walker is the coach of the Storm.
Trevor Carrick - Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Carrick is billed as a a solid, stay at home defenseman and appears to be a good mid-round pick for the Canes. He is one of the team's youngest defensemen, so I'm not sure what kind of role he will play but promising things are ahead from him if he can stand out among the pack in Mississauga.
Matt Mahalak - Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Plymouth was the top team in their division last year and there is a good chance that they will be depending on Mahalak to be their starting goalie next season to get them to the playoffs. The Hurricanes have quite a few young goalies in their system at the moment but Mahalak could be the best one under 21.
Keegan Lowe - Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Lowe played big minutes on the Oil Kings last season in route to a Memorial Cup appearance and he will be looking to do it again this season. When you're the son of a former NHL great, there is always going to be a lot of pressure on you and that is probably multiplied by a thousand for Lowe since he plays in the city where his father played most of his career in. He hasn't let that affect him too much, though as he has made a nice career for himself in the WHL so far.
Tyler Stahl - Victoria Royals (WHL)
Stahl played in only 20 games for the Royals last season and had only 2 points in that span. Nowhere to go but up for the former sixth round pick, I suppose.
Unless you live overseas, I'm not sure how you can watch these games but I'll be on the hunt for streams and let you know as soon as possible.
Gregory Hofmann - Davos NLA
Hofmann has played in the Swiss elite league the last few seasons and has yet to really make his mark there. Here's hoping that changes.
Erik Karlsson - Frolunda J20 (SEL)
Karlsson fell to the Hurricanes in the third round of this year's draft and has a lot of potential. This is will be his first year outside of junior hockey so that is going to be a huge test for him and we'll have to see if he's up to the challenge.
Mike Murphy - Spartak Moskva (KHL)
Murphy made NHL history last year by being the first goalie to be charged with a loss despite not giving up a goal. Aside from that, he hasn't made an impact in the NHL and it's hard for him to do so with Cam Ward manning the net for Carolina, so he will take his talents to Russia's best league and hope to earn a starting job with Startak Moskva. Best of luck to him.
Evgenii Dadonov - Donbass Dontesek (KHL)
It's hard to determine whether or not Dadonov has a future with the Hurricanes because he was only traded for in January of this year and it appears that he is going to spend the next few seasons in Russia.
Jaccob Slavin - Chicago Steel (USHL)
Slavin has committed to Colorado College but he will be playing in the USHL next season. Go to the USHL's site for information on how to watch games.
There are a lot of other players who have yet to state where they will be playing hockey during the lockout or if they will be playing hockey at all and most of them are players who have one-way NHL contracts. The Staals, Ruutus, Jokinens and Gleasons of the world. I'm sure that some team that most of them will end up over-seas for the next few months since they are going to want to stay in shape during the lockout and not be rusty once the NHL resumes. Be on the lookout for those announcements soon because I am sure that there is bound to be a few.