Friday, September 17, 2004

Bye Bye, NHL!

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
Gordon Gekko, Wall Street

Yes, folks, greed is fantastic because it has removed hockey from the American sporting landscape.

I could not be happier right now. If the twins from Coors Light commercials drove to my crib in a brand new Jeep Wrangler playing LL Cool JJ's "Back Seat" and wanted to swing an episode with me, then gave me the keys to the Wrangler and three duffel bags full of cash, that would not surpass the end of hockey on the Weekend Excitement scale. (It would be very close. I'm not that crazy, even in the hyperbolic world.)

No more hockey means no more Todd Bertuzzi stupidity -- which for all those fans who point out the once-in-a-million times something like that happens, it's more like once a year. No more hockey means no more outrageous free-agent contracts by the Rangers, though I will continue to bash Dolan management any chance I can. No more hockey means the rest of the world can have their consonants back to spell their last names.

There is nothing appealing about hockey. If you like thuggery and buffoonery, try watching a few rap videos. It's more economical on the wallet and the time. Four minutes and it costs nothing. Or maybe try some professional wrestling. A good superplex off the top rope is sure to quench your thirst for mindless aggression. And those guys are more of athletes than hockey players.

Besides, is there anything dumber than the illegality of the two-line pass?

I hope the lockout lasts until some time into next year if not May of 2132. I also hope there's a mass exodus of players to European leagues, so franchies go completely bankrupt and have no choice but to disband the NHL forever. On that day, I will drive a Zamboni to work.

The lockout came about because of greed. Players want more money than Bill Gates to play a sport only a handful of people care about. Why is hockey in Columbus? Tampa Bay? Carolina? Though the Lightning won the Stanley Cup, did anyone see it?

Putting this sport in the rich television markets that didn't have any real professional sports teams already there (i.e. Columbus, and the Yankees' minor-league affiliate and Ohio State don't count) was stupid. Put the sport where people care about it. Disband six franchises and cut the playoffs down by a round. (In fairness, basketball, a sport worthy of rich television contracts, should do the same thing.)

Owners are at fault too. The Gordon Gekko anthem holds true to these suckers as well. They can't resist paying $93 million for two years to some free-agent goon who had more goals than teeth because his jersey will sell out in stores. Then the whole system backfires and the owners claim they can't succeed in an environment they helped to create.

I am rooting for both sides equally in this glorious position, so long as both work cohesively to further destroy the sport. And I thought "Iced out" was only reserved for those who bling bling and lean back.

Stand your ground, Bettman. America is counting on you.

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