Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Slapshot Up the Ass 

That's what both the NHL owners and players' union deserve this evening. I don't buy for a second all the "We're so sorry it had to come to this" BS. Yeah right, if you were so concerned about the fans, an agreement would have been made sooner. This was a case of both sides playing "chicken," and neither side being smart enough to avoid a collision.

I wholehardedly agree with Michele: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was god-awful long before he announced the cancelation of the season today. Whenever he attended an all-star game, Stanley Cup ceremony, or other function, it was the fans' tradition to boo him as loudly as possible. Does he really expect to be the one to convince embittered fan to come back? Ha!

The players are barely any better. Often times, many of them had zero clue what terms the union was putting forth on their behalf. They can't be blamed for maximizing their salaries, but any foresight would have told them that interest in the league was stagnant at best. Did they honestly expect to continue to get paid close to the same salaries as baseball and football players?

Both sides just lost their game of chicken, and the kicker is many fans aren't going to bother to pick up the pieces of the car wreck. Want to know how big a problem the NHL has? Here's a giant red flag:

NHL lockout leaves Canadians indifferent: poll
WebPosted Wed, 09 Feb 2005 17:16:48 EST

Hockey's bickering owners and players should take note: a new poll shows a significant number of Canadians aren't missing the NHL.

A new poll conducted by Decima shows that 37 per cent of Canadians aren't anxious for the NHLers to return to the ice.

Uh huh, Canadians aren't stupid. There are plenty of minor-league teams for them to get their rink fix. Meanwhile, fan interest isn't strong enough outside of the hockey heartland (Canada, Detroit, Minnesota, ect.) to take the major blow of at least one cancelled season. Nice hole you dug yourself in there, eh?

Indeed, much of the attention will likely turn to which franchises are most vulnerable. Canadian Press includes Anaheim, Carolina, Florida, Nashville, NY Islanders, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Washington in its list of possibly endangered franchises. Notice that most of these teams are relatively new? That means that much of what Gary Bettman and Company tried to achieve during the 90's goes down the drain. Nice managerial style there, guys.

Most of us fans will rant and rave for awhile, but then get on with our lives. The irony is I live about a dozen miles from my team (the Sharks), but now the nearest team I care about is back in Fresno. It's alright, there are twice as many fights in Fresno Falcon games as in the NHL.

Give me that old time hockey, baby.

The last word, courtesy of Michele: FREE STANLEY!

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