Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mama, Weer All Crazee Now

Just when you think the dolts at the NHL can't get any stupider, they go and throw you a curveball. The season appeared done until suddenly in the last 48 hours, the players dropped their opposition to a salary cap and the owners dropped their insistence on linking salaries to team revenues--the two major stumbling blocks of the whole NHL lockout. They still differed on how much of a cap each team should have: the NHL wanted $40 million and the union wanted $52 million. They got as close as $42.5 mil and $49 mil, and it seemed they would work something out by this morning's deadline, which came and went. Even right up to the 1 p.m. scheduled press conference by commissioner Gary Bettman, it seemed inevitable that the two sides would hammer out a deal and the league would roll out a 28-game season and playoffs. And then, at 1 p.m., Bettman announced they would scrap the season. I, for one, was shocked that they would come so far and then just let the season go over $6.5 million. And yes, Bettman, you weasel, I know that works out to almost $200 million if you factor in all 30 teams, but for Hakan Loob's sake, the owners got what they wanted. The players gave in to a salary cap. You had cost control, and you let the season slip away. The NHL is now the first major pro league to cancel an entire season due to labor strife. Now the question is whether next season will start on time. Both sides have said their offers are off the table, so seemingly, they're back where they started. As an NHL fan, I wanted to see them salvage something from this season. Oh well, screw 'em.

In happier sports news, (for me anyway), Ted Rogers, the owner of the Blue Jays recently announced he was renaming the SkyDome to the Rogers Centre, replacing their crappy old artificial turf, and pumping $210 million into the team's payroll over the next three years. They'll still struggle in the AL East, but at least they're attempting to try. GM JP Ricciardi said he expects the team to finish over .500 next season, which will be a huge improvement over last year's hideous season but still a ways off from being a contender with the Yanks and Red Sox. Oh well, at least they're going to be playing this year.

Retired slugger Jose Canseco's been making the rounds hyping his new book, which purportedly spills the beans on the rampant steroid abuse in baseball. As much of a knucklehead as he is, Canseco's got a lot of people nervous. Baseball was already reeling from the BALCO scandal, and this doesn't help. Nice way to start the season.

I'll be back tomorrow with my MP3 of the week.

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