FOR PUCK SAKE!
Did you know (or care) that the National Hockey League was hosting a Play0ff series this year? Apparently it's GAME ON GARTH!
The devastating NHL strike of 2005 is now but a bad memory. (the what?) Yes, unbeknownst to the rest of the Entertainment World the playoffs are back. Hardly anyone noticed, outside of Kommissar Bettman's office, that the collosal clash between millionaire owners and millionaire players not only crippled the Canadian Economy but nearly brought all multicellular life on this planet to a premature and cataclysmic demise! WOW!
It is a welcome relief to see the absolute,very best of the 3,000 (rough estimate) teams back in action in their quest for the Stanley Park Cup. Personally I abandoned the league sometime in the 1880s after the dynastic Edmonton Oilers group was eviscerated and the last real team was finally killed off by the owners. By team I of course mean a group of individuals who play together, sometimes for two consequtive seasons. WOW!
These days the unpopular consonent laden names of unrecognisable players evaporate into the darkest corners of my mind where I keep the latin names for insects and my PIN numbers.
When I was a lad Springtime mean't one thing, Bicycles! no I mean Playoffs! Every boy in the country would race out of their homes before and after every game to ride their Bikes, I mean play street hockey. Yes Hockey still had relevence and the NHL even had identifiable stars, Orr, Mahovolich, Makita, LaFleur, Hull, Howe, Unitas, DiMaggio, I could go on and on. Yes even the biggest weiner in your classroom (that would be me) could rattle off the names of almost every player in the league.WOW!
Since then the NHL has all but disappeared from the cultural radar map of Canada. Now the watered down 3000 team league has lost it's mojo. It is not entirely NHL Kommissar Bettman's fault either. The Information Age inevitably, and mercifully some would add, destroyed, no, disintegrated the time honored image of the sports hero. Today we have the shenanigans of uber-role models like O.J.Simpson, Kobe Bryant, and the lovable Barry Bonds to look up to.. WOW!
But more than this it was Presidente for Life Napolean Bettman and his zany expansion plans that included teams in East Timor, Addis Ababa, Tel Aviv, Naples and the lost City of Atlantis that has somehow completely backfired. Yes, the years of unbridled hubris have ended in a Waterloo of sorts for hockeynut Bettman. The dream of world dominance died in the bowels of the Deep Southern US marketplace where hockey now competes 'toe-to-toe' with 'possum racing.
Expanding to a league of some 3000 teams has watered down the talent pool to the point where three periods of hack, clutch, snore, slash and diving to a 2:1 victory is considered an offensive bonanza. WOW! Yes even a disinterested small child in Ethiopia understands why lumbering defensive behemoths now outnumber exciting speedy finesse players by a ratio of one million to one.
The number 2 problem: Fighting in Hockey is indefensible, extremely tedious, and a mystery to every man, woman and child outside of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. It is a black hole that is sucking the ratings life out of the game. Consentual Assault and Battery exists only to satisfy the deep and troubled psychological needs of tens of hundreds of passive/aggressive Canadians.
Fighting is so anti-everything that sports should be (trying to KILL your opponent is called WAR) that it is truly laughable for anyone to try to defend it. HA HA HA HA!
Hey kids even if you can't skate or shoot a puck, if you can strike another person in the face with extreme prejudice (but without malice aforethought) you can still make it to the show. WOW!
The admittedly seasonal/marginal viewer like myself, now happily satiated by World Junior and Olympic Hockey, pucked off long ago. Sorry Sydney, but I can't help but believe that the league will turn into a Globe Trotter type sideshow in the next twenty years just as the futurists predicted. An Extinction Level Event will occur to the NHL unless of course a couple of dinosaurs like Gretz and Mario take over and fix it.
Way, way up here in the Great White North, look up Gary, waaay up, there ya go, way up here in Whateverpeg the collapse of the Jets has left a permanent stain that cannot be erased from our civic psyche. Unfortunately the present somnambulistic sideshow that you (and your avaristic masters) have created is a mere shadow of the once proud traditional (more or less mandatory) Canadian Institution.
It is an insult SIR to the tens of hundreds, if not more, of puckheads like me who grew up loving..er..really enjoyed the game...um...or who atleast used to watch the flippin' playoffs. Let our battlecry ring forth across this land. 'Je me souviens Hockey!'
Kommissar Bettman, Good Day to you Sir!