Author's note: After watching High Fidelity and remembering how enjoyable it is to make top five lists with friends, I'm going to try something new. Every Thursday (or a day that ends in a "y") I'm going to come up with a top five list that involves Minnesota Wild current events. Is it original? Hell No. Does that matter?
The big hockey subject, for better or worse, has been the ongoing collective bargaining agreement talks between the NHL players association and the owners. With Thursday's news that the Traverse City prospect tournament has been canceled, the players' counter-proposal to the (laughable) owners' opening position and both sides trying to make their claim in the court of opinion, this will continue up until and possibly past the September 15th deadline.
Regardless of which side you take, the biggest fear among is the threat of another Lockout. No one wants to see one although if push comes to shove, honestly I'll live without NHL hockey. I didn't miss it the last time there was a Lockout because with the Gophers and the rest of college hockey, there are plenty of ways to get that hockey fix.
It's not what anyone working for the Wild wants to hear but that got me to thinking which teams would lose the most from another Lockout and my top five are below.
5. Florida Panthers
No one deserves more praise than the Florida Panthers faithful. Going a decade without a playoff appearance, seeing UFA after UFA leave and making some questionable trades that don't improve the club will make even the most diehard fan question themselves. That's why having a work stoppage the year after the Panthers won the Southeast would undo much of the goodwill from that run.
It's too bad because the atmosphere the Bank Atlantic Center had with the rats and Florida taking the Eastern Conference champions to 7 games was just as good, if not better, than during the Heat's championship run this season.
4. Dallas Stars
Dallas is in a weird position where a number of older veterans like Brendan Morrow, Michael Ryder, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season and need time to gel with the team. While their younger core remains in place, it hasn't been enough for the Stars to make the playoffs the past four years. That's one reason why GM Joe Nieuwendyk made moves to bring in veterans - trading away mainstays like Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott- and a work stoppage would give them less time to come together.
3. Los Angeles Kings
The defending Stanley Cup champions would lose out on just that. Like Tampa in 2005, the Kings wouldn't be able to celebrate with their fans (both old and new) and get the pomp and circumstance throughout the league as the team that last won the Cup. To be fair, Los Angeles would get that whenever the season starts, however, a shortened season is a different story and won't help the Kings keep their heads in the Lakers fray.
2. Minnesota Wild
It's safe to say that this off-season is one for Minnesota folklore as a market which never signs elite free agents got both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to 13 year deals. The deals have given the Wild new life in the market and the team has sold 3100 season tickets since July 4th. Really there isn't much which can derail that train of positive momentum...except for a Lockout. Minnesota can't showcase their stars if they're playing in Europe and there are others like me who can find their hockey fix elsewhere in the market.
(Throw in Craig Leipold paying front-loaded contracts to Parise and Suter along with being up against the cap and he also has much more to lose with the Benjamins if they don't come back.)
1. Phoenix Coyotes
On one hand, Phoenix fans have to enjoy winning a Pacific Division title and being in the playoffs the last two seasons. On the other hand, they've also had to deal with the league owning the Coyotes and being threatened with relocation for most of the last few years. That's hard for any fan to deal with and makes it almost impossible for the team to sell season tickets. While the Coyotes' endgame hasn't been written yet (and may find its conclusion with this next CBA), trying to win back fans who are holding back of a team that only has been in Phoenix 16 years and looking to move along with a work stoppage is nothing short of a Sisyphean task.