2 Minutes to Midnight
So they actually went ahead and did it. A day after Canada won the World Cup over Finland in an exciting final game, the NHL's owners announced they would lock out the players beginning at midnight tonight until they could establish a salary cap. Which, of course, the players' union is dead-set against. Result: No hockey for the foreseeable future. Both sides are being obstinate here, but one columnist really points the finger at NHL Commish Gary Bettman, whose tenure has now seen two lockouts, diminished popularity, a dilution of talent, pointless expansion and a more boring style of play. Way to go, Gary, you weasel.
Well, the majority of Americans probably won't notice the NHL is gone, what with the baseball playoffs, the NFL, college football and hoops (and hockey)...hell, even the NBA. Canadians will suddenly find themselves with nothing to do on Saturday nights, when normally they'd be watching Hockey Night in Canada. Imagine if there was no NFL football on Sunday afternoons...same deal. If there's no agreement by January, the league will cut bait on the entire 2004-05 season, making it the first season without a Stanley Cup since 1919, when a flu epidemic wiped out the finals.
As for me, I'll watch more college hockey, play with my kids more, and get some more reading done. Maybe I'll even blog more often. Who knows, this could be a good thing, after all.