Let’s start with some random thoughts about this thing: 1. Glenn Healey needs to get kicked off TSN. I would rather watch SPORTSNET and NICK KYPREOS for crying out loud. Hearing his yelling and ranting about the league is just childish. 2. Pierre McGuire telling everybody to quit acting like children was, well, he should have said it 2 years ago. 3. Bob McKenzie looks much better in a black suit than in the blue suits he always wears. 4. Brian Burke should be running this whole league. And he should be the GM of the Leafs. 5. Have you ever noticed how high Bob Goodenow’s voice is? It’s higher than Gary Bettman’s!
Okay. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Expel the toxins that this lockout has caused. Breathe in the reality that there will be no hockey this year. Grab a hockey stick and smack Bob Goodenow and the entire NHLPA upside the head with it. And let women take over the whole league. We would have finished this deal long ago. Except for Condoleeza Rice. She’s kind of confrontational. So is Sheila Copps. But I don’t want to get into gender issues here.
I woke at 7:00 am (because I couldn’t sleep anymore – I tossed and turned all night wondering about what was happening with the NHL and Henry Burris – sad? Yes. Very) to find that my sports world has crumbled. It lays in a pile of rubble all around me. On one side is what was the 2004-2005 season. On the other, the Riders, sans Henry Burris. More about Smilin’ Hank later. I am depressed, angry, incredulous, and – well, a lot of words that aren’t very nice.
The real tragedy in all of this is: the Tampa Bay Lightning get to be defending Stanley Cup Champions. We go through all of this and the Cup stays south of the border?!?!
Seriously. The sad fact is that a lot of people have lost their jobs today. Referees are installing kitchen cabinets to make ends meet. Arena employees are having to find third and fourth jobs to feed their families. Team employees are finding pink slips in their mail boxes. Fans are turning away in droves.
Who do I blame? Everybody. The situation we’re in now is the owner’s fault because of their constant caving to player demands, but the cancellation of this season – to me it falls on the players. If I was the wife of an NHL player, I would be threatening divorce or kicking the crap out of him right now. Listening to Cory Cross take on Mike Toth on Sportsnet yesterday was enough to make me wish that guy had never been a Leaf. This guy is a number 6 defenseman, and he has the audacity to declare that he deserves to make more money than you and me because “I’m special”. “I’m in an elite league”. And those are direct quotes. Who died and made you king? Marcus Naslund – stay in Europe pal. I don’t need to hear your crying and moaning and groaning. And to think that I thought you were the cutest guy in the league. You’re at the bottom of the list pal. Well, you’re above Cory Cross, so, 2nd last. Chris Chelios – see ya. Trevor Linden – you really are a jerk. Billy Guerin – why the heck are you on the NHLPA board? Daniel Alfredsson – don’t even get me started.
I know that owners have other ways of making money. They all have other businesses and interests, but franchises should not be losing money. Why? It drives us ticket costs for you and me. It causes a team to have a limited payroll and therefore trade away star players for 5 minor leaguers who may never get off the farm team. It limits the product available. It causes THE TRAP. Why? You don’t have enough skill or speed to score goals because you can’t afford skilled players, so you do everything to stop them. These things are bad. These things make bad hockey. No wonder no one in the US wants to watch it. Poker is a faster game these days.
Yes expansion was bad. Stupid. Shouldn’t have happened. But it did. And we’re stuck with it. Was it really that bad for the union? It created more jobs – they’d rather sit out another 5 years than have their “brothers” have their livelihoods taken away. But then again, maybe they wouldn’t care. The NHLPA has flip-flopped as much as John Kerry on the war in Iraq. Not an impressive distinction.
The players have to suck it up and realize that getting 5 million instead of 4 million really isn’t a big deal. If they truly care about the game in North America and the fans, and apparently they don’t because they’re all over in Europe (and if I was a player in Europe whose job got taken away by Dany Heatley, I’d be ticked. Those guys should be back over here, fighting their “battle”), they would have said they’d take a salary cap in September. Or they would have agreed to the NHL’s final offer. But they didn’t. And they are all now considered spoiled brats. Why couldn’t you guys have met with Arthur Levitt? The guy only ran the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The players have taken complete advatage of the last CBA and are now crying because the owners say no more. Who runs this league? The owners. Who thinks they run the league? The players. This season cancellation might show them who’s boss. Maybe not. But the truth is that the last 10 years have brought a quadrupled average salary, arbitration inflations and a great number of other pluses for overpaid boys. I still maintain that boys play sports – not men. They need to accept that in order to fix the NHL and its state of affairs, they’re going to have to help. Otherwise, Edmonton and Calgary will be the next NHL teams to go south of the border.
And that’s what I don’t get. If you’re a player in the NHL, don’t you want fans to have access to the sport in Canada? I guess not, because all you want is money. Money, money, money, money. This league survived 2 World Wars, a Great Depression , a Cold War and September 11th. The only time Lord Stanley’s Cup hasn’t been awarded was during the 1919 season because 70 MILLION PEOPLE DIED due to an influenza epidemic. It is ridiculous, disgusting, silly, stupid, and ludicrous that this season was cancelled because a bunch of whiny, overpaid boys were mad that they weren’t going to be making the 6 million they were expecting. Boo frickin’ hoo. I feel so sorry for you as a student in debt. One who is struggling to make ends meet. Who has a whole $9 in her pocket and literally nothing in her bank account. You guys get to live every Canadian kid’s dream. And it’s not enough for you. You want more, which is human nature, I guess. But for once in your lives think about something other than yourselves. Think of the good of the game that has now officially died in the US. Think of the fans who pay a good chunk of your salary. Why should I spend my very hard-earned dollars to watch YOU play? Why shouldn’t I just stay home and read a book? What is going to make me want to pay to see you play after the way you have treated me? The answer is simple: I’m not. Unless someone pays for me to go and see a game, I’m boycotting you. I’m not paying to see you play.
That’s it I’m done. I could say so much more, but for what reason? No one’s listening. No one cares. And I’m getting more and more ticked off the more I write. So enough. I’m laying this to rest. I’m going to move on with my life and focus on more important issues: Henry Burris.
And now I’m even more ticked off…