Orr: 'Everybody lost' the NHL lockout

Orr: 'Everybody lost' the NHL lockout
January 10, 2013, 4:07 am
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Bobby Orr had no words when first gauged for his reaction to the NHL lockout being over.
Instead, the all-time Bruins great and certified hockey rock star busted into one of his patented wide, joyful grins and raised his hands in the air over his head like hed just scored a game-winning goal in the Cup Finals.
The Greatest Hockey Played That Ever Lived had always kept a positive attitude throughout the 113-day NHL lockout. Orr consistently told anybody that would listen that a deal would eventually arrive for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
His faith in the owners, players and league leadership were rewarded last weekend when a 16-hour negotiating session finally hit pay dirt.
Im thrilled. For the players, the owners, the fans and the people that havent been working because of the lockout. Its better for everybody, so Im thrilled that hockey is getting back to work, said the Hall of Fame defenseman and two-time Cup winner with the Black and Gold. I was optimistic, but I just wish it had ended sooner. There were so many people hurt by the lockout.
Orr, of course, runs the Orr Hockey Group out of Charlestown, and has a keen interest in the NHL from a business perspective. Its Orrs company that represents Bruins forward Nathan Horton, in fact.
But like so many other former NHL players that have watched all of the work stoppages unfold over the last two decades, Orrs biggest concern was about protecting the NHL that hes loved since he was a shinny-playing youngster growing up in Ontario.
Idle conversations about winners and losers within the NHL lockout confound Orr, who didnt see any winners among the players, owners, league employees, fans, media, sponsors, advertisers or business owners that have so much at stake if NHL games are being played.
People talk about, who won? Well, nobody won, said Orr, who was at the W Hotel in Boston on Wednesday for the kickoff party for production Turk: The Movie based on teammate Derek Sandersons story of highs, lows and conquering his demons. How do you pick winners in something like this? You cant pick any winners and losers in something like this. Everybody lost.
No. 4 just hopes that the NHL players begin putting on a show starting Jan. 19, and keep giving fans the kind of electric on-ice product that allowed the league to rise up to 3.3 billion in revenues last season. If the 48-game regular season sprint and playoffs are compelling, hockey fans will come back in droves just as they did before the last four months of madness.
Now you just hope that the players get back to work and they play hard, said Orr. Im sure they will because its going to be a short season. If you get off to a bad start then youre in trouble. It should be really good hockey.
Youve got to play hard and give em good hockey. Hockey fans are very loyal and they missed the game, Im sure, just like I havelike so many people have. If its good, hard hockey and you give it to them consistently every night there will be some that will take their time coming back but hockey fans are very, very loyal. They will come back.
If Bobby Orr says that NHL fans will come back after the most embarrassing lockout in the history of pro sports, that should be good enough for anybody thats ever loved the game of hockey.