Hi Caps fans, I wanted to introduce myself since this is the first post I've written on this blog. I'm thewiz06, and as my screen name implies, I am a Washington Wizards fan and am a season ticket holder for the NBA team. I have looked at many of the posts here before, but I haven't commented much on topics primarily because I admittedly am not as knowledgeable about hockey as you all are. I am impressed with how well the Capitals have come together over the past several years and I'm confident that the Caps are going to finally win the Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.
As you know, our teams share the same majority owner in Ted Leonsis, and he has pledged to treat both of our teams (as well as the Mystics WNBA team) equally and fairly. In the year since he and his partners have acquired the remaining stakes in the Wizards, we have been in the midst of a rebuild process after a previous core around Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison ran its course. As Ted stated early on, he wanted the Wizards to be built in the same mold the Capitals were built in the post-Jaromir Jagr/Alex Ovechkin era.
Starting today, July 1, 2011, the NBA imposed a lockout on its players after the expiration of its last collective bargaining agreement. In a nutshell, the owners want a hard salary cap similar to the NHL and NFL models, while the players union believes that the current system of a soft cap is good enough if the owners employ a more widespread revenue sharing agreement. Because the two sides are still very far apart right now, it is possible and to some likely, that there will be no 2011-2012 NBA season, which would make this similar to the lockout the NHL experienced in the 2004-2005 season. With this mind I have some questions about how you all handled the lockout as Caps fans.1. In lockout situations with sports leagues, a considerable number of fans tend to side with the players, because the owners are perceived to be greedy and they are richer than the players. In the NHL lockout that year and the current NBA lockout, we do see teams that are not in good financial health and there is negative sentiment towards the players maybe moreso than at the owners. Did you sympathize more with the owners during the 2004-2005 lockout, or with the union?
In the NBA, we saw that the New Orleans Hornets turned into a league owned enterprise, which previously never happened before. The Sacramento Kings almost headed for Anaheim with the help of Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli. In addition, the Atlanta Spirit, which owns the Atlanta Hawks NBA team is looking to sell the team, not to mention that the Spirit sold the Thrashers to Manitoba based ownership, and now they're the Winnipeg Jets. Do you guys have any strong opinions on the financial state of these sports teams and their desires to change the labor system? At the end of the day, I just want to see NBA basketball in the fall, but I don't believe the NBA players union has given a compelling enough argument to keep the current labor system with few tweaks and better revenue sharing.
2. Do you all like the current CBA and salary structure system in the NHL?
The NBA is trying to move to a system closer to what the NHL does with salaries. Do you all like the current system in the NHL, and do you think it can be applied in the NBA successfully? I like the NHL system and think it can be applied in the NBA. Ted has been pretty vocal about it to say the least, and even got fined $100,000 by the NBA for talking about it in too much detail.
3. As Wizards fans, overall we don't really know what to do to fill our basketball appetites during the winter. What have you done during what would have been during the 2004-2005 NHL season in place of going to games, etc.?
I know that the fanbases of the Wizards and Capitals aren't mutually exclusive of course, but most Wizards fans probably just like basketball more than hockey, and many of you probably just like hockey more than basketball, and that's okay. I also support and follow the Capitals because they are the hometown NHL team, though I do follow the Wizards more closely because I like basketball more. Did you follow the AHL or the European leagues more? Or did you follow other sports more?
Whether or not the NBA lockout goes into October and beyond, I have made a "resolution" of sorts to also follow the Capitals more closely than I have before, not only because I like watching sports other than basketball and learning more about the greatness of their games, but also because we're all part of the same family.
These are the main things I had in regards to how you all coped with or went through a lockout that ultimately canceled an entire season as NHL fans. Though I am pessimistic that the NBA may very well go through the same situation, I personally hope that we will see a full season of Wizards basketball along with Capitals hockey as both teams rock the red.
Thanks for reading ladies and gentlemen.