Wednesday, September 15, 2004

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.



jbreitling said...

Guess which finger I am pointing at Gary?

Jay said...

Good point. In fact, he should get two fingers. The ol' Channel 11.

Anonymous said...

Jay -- didnt't the NHL have a lock out before? How stupid are these owners and players? Don't they realize that out of sight, out of mind? Sure they'll be back, but with fewer fans interested. It's like politicans, businesspeople and journalists who forget that the cover up is worse than what precipitated it. Also, after seeing the coverage of the World Cup of Hockey while I was in Toronto before Labor Day, it's so clear that hockey is such a second tier sport in the U.S. I bet the percentage of Americans who even knew there was a World Cup, was in the single digits. -- Jim Siegel

Jay said...

Hey Jim,

Yeah, 10 years ago they lost half a season to a lockout, and even after all that, they just approved the contract that led them to all this financial trouble now. And the owners kept spending money on salaries without bringing in enough revenue. Really dumb. The sad thing is, the NHL was never more popular than after the Rangers won the Cup in '94. Sports Illustrated had a cover story about how the NHL was better than the NBA, Mark Messier was all over the place on TV, things looked great. And then...they had a lockout. Now, they're just a blip on the sports radar screen in the U.S. It's too bad, because it's a great sport, but really, it's too regional of a sport to catch on like football, baseball or hoops. I could go on for days about this.