Financially speaking, every NHL markets will undoubtedly feel the ill effects as the NHL will continue to cancel regular season games.  That being said, every market will be affected in different degrees – mostly negatively but in some instances positively – in regards to the product on the ice.  Historically, the American west coast teams do not have the luxury of great financial stability.  The lockout will certainly not help to that effect but more importantly it could put a damper on the delicate fan base that the NHL has put so much effort into growing.

Let’s focus on the Stanley Cup Champions Los Angeles Kings.  Even though they rank 10th among NHL teams in terms of value, surprisingly all is not dandy in the financial world for the Kings.  They continue to sustain operating losses on a yearly basis, have a high debt-to-value ratio, and struggle to compete in an over-flooded sports market.  Their recent on-ice success surely led to an increase in brand popularity in the Los Angeles market.  Luckily for them their recent Stanley Cup run coincided with an early playoff exit from both the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers and propelled the Los Angeles Kings in unfamiliar territory as Los Angeles’ darling sport franchise.  That momentum in popularity will surely be dissipated in the event that the NHL lockout drags on for too long.  It is true that the Kings have a relatively loyal fan following who, just like in any hockey market, will undoubtedly return once the lockout is lifted.  Nevertheless, The Kings  will be once again be face with the lost of the casual fan who will turn their attention back to the NBA and the Lakers newly acquired stars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.  What does this mean for the Kings on a financial level?  Well, it probably won’t have a huge impact on the ownership group since they are backed by one of the biggest entertainment groups in the world, but it remains that it will hurt their bottom line and will prevent them from kicking it into next gear and propelling the franchise into a profitable brand.  @LAKings sums it up all too perfectly.  It wrote: “It looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer to raise a banner around here: — http://ht.ly/eeCoU”.   An unfair consequence – not to mention the most certain diminished effect – to an age old hockey tradition served on a cold platter to a fan base who through thick and thin has been yearning for a Stanley Cup since 1967.  All and all, it’s really bad timing!

On the ice is where the Kings can breathe a little sign of relief if we are faced with a brief lockout.  First of all, the Kings will have more time to recover from the infamous “Stanley Cup Hangover.”  The players will have more time to restore their energies and slowly ease their way back in top NHL player form.  Also, it will give the opportunity to their franchise start goaltender, Jonathan Quick, to fully recover from his off season surgery and ensure that he is not rushed back into action back instead go through the necessary recovery steps in a timely fashion and be in top form when the season restarts.  Let’s not forget the older veterans on the team that will surely appreciate the extra bit of time to completely heal from the rigorous playoff run.  The Kings played a very hardnosed physical style during their playoff run that surely took a toll on most of the players.  The extra rest will be welcomed.

In the event that of a full season lockout, all is not that dramatic for the Kings roster.  One aspect that will be overshadowed as a result is the impressive feat accomplished by GM Dean Lombardi.  In today’s extremely competitive world of sports, the mastermind behind the Kings roster was able to retain the entire Stanley Cup winning roster.  Overall, the Kings roster remains very young with core players seemingly in place for the next little while.  Nevertheless, with contract expirations scheduled to set in after the 2012-2013 season, changes to significant role players will certainly have to be made.  A lockout wouldn’t be earth shattering but more so an ironic punishment for a franchise that has historically struggled to maintain a stable product on the ice.

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