Keep Calm and Carry On (Watching the AHL)
It’s happened again, the NHL Owners and the NHLPA cannot agree to a new CBA agreement without having to resort to the extreme measures, the dreaded lockout. We all have heard about the various effects of this dramatic measure, the laying off of workers, local businesses losing game day business, and finally the overall effect on the true hockey fans.
What many people do not realize is the effect that the NHL lockout has on the other North American hockey leagues, who are suddenly inundated with young talented players who would otherwise be in the NHL. During the past two days leading up to the lockout, about four hundred players were assigned to the AHL. This has an effect on the entire landscape of the league. It also results in many players who might have been in the AHL, having to play in lower leagues or going overseas to play. While this is an unfortunate side effect for many talented players, it makes for some phenomenal hockey for the AHL fans.
During the last NHL lockout, the AHL was privileged to watching many current NHL stars including, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Michael Cammalleri, Patrice Bergeron, and Dustin Brown. The 2005 Calder Cup Champions, the Philadelphia Phantoms, had fourteen future NHL players as part of their winning combination. Among these players were Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger, Patrick Sharp, Denis Seidenberg, Joni Pitkanen, Randy Jones, Todd Fedoruk, Freddy Meyer, Riley Cote, Ben Eager, Jon Sim, Alex Picard, and Antero Nittymaki.
This time around AHL fans should be excited with the influx of incredible talent and embrace them during their time in the AHL. In the coming days I will be taking a closer look at all of the talent sent to the AHL for each team. So for all you NHL fans out there, take a trip to the closest AHL city and watch what is for the time being the top league in North America. Just remember to keep calm and carry on supporting hockey by watching the AHL.