Friday, February 18, 2005

NHL = Nerds Having Layoffs

Well the NHL has shot itself right in the skate this time, announcing today there will be NO SEASON for 2004-2005. And it's a good thing they made the announcement, too, because not many of us were paying attention. The problem is that because the NHL has TV revenues, the players think they should be paid like all the big-name sports such as football, baseball, basketball and the World Wide Federation of Post-Thanksgiving Sales Wrestling. Well I have news for the NHL -- no one is really watching until the playoffs. Which really makes me wonder why they cancelled the season. Just wait a couple months and hold the playoffs anyway! They can flip coins (or better yet toss a bat and use scissor fingers) to determine the two teams who don't appear in the playoffs. Same as every year! Really the NHL is one long exhibition season, and everyone knows it. I've been to the games, and you can see the guys saving it all up for the playoffs. I don't blame them! Who would want to skate around at top speed every night when you know it has virtually no impact on whether you make the playoffs or not? The season didn't just Fall Through Thin Ice, as some newspapers are suggesting. It evaporated under the hot lights of economic scrutiny. The owners can't afford to pay the outrageous salaries when most of the teams are losing money. I'll be an NHL reality show would do better than the actual NHL product. Then all the fist-fighting would be strictly for entertainment and no penalties would be allowed. Maybe they'd get bonuses! It could be "The Amazing Skate" -- players start in the Ukraine and skate all the way to Siberia, stopping along the way to get clues from stragetically placed ex-KGB agents. Or we could have "My Big Fat Obnoxious Goalie," only the joke is he isn't really a goalie, he's just a big guy who stands around in front of the net and guzzles milkshakes out of his water bottle. Or "Who Wants to Hurry a Millionaire" -- women in skimpy outfits help the NHL stars don their equipment. or "NHL Survivor" -- both teams are turned loose on the ice WITHOUT a puck, and they crosscheck and bash each other with sticks until only one player is left standing. Or "Canadian Idol" -- the players take turns crooning the Candian national anthem while the American players vote to see who returns next week. Any of these ideas sounds more fun than watching a regular season game on TV or reading details of the labor negotiation in the papers. Things were better for the viewers (those of us who are women, anyway) back in the '70s when players skated around without helmets and you could see the cuties up close. True, they didn't always have teeth, but now they look practically interchangeable. Sort of like Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots. (which happens to be their function, too, but nevermind) The best thing about the strike is that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be World Champs and Stanley Cup holders for two years instead of one. Or, if both sides get really stubborn, they may be Stanley Cup Champs in perpetuity! The last NHL champs ever! Bummer that it wasn't the Sabres ("No Goal? Whaddaya mean NO GOAL!") but from my current geographical perspective Tampa is the next best thing. And anyway Dave Andreychuck played for both the Sabres and the Lightning. He used to date my cousin, so he is the only celebrity we've ever had at the Reilly Family Christmas party. She is now happily married to someone else entirely, but the rest of us can always say we met a Stanley Cup champion in Grandma and Grandpa Reilly's basement. I know, it isn't like going to school with Paris Hilton, but it'll have to do. Meanwhile I hope the NHL players are brushing up on their Russian.

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