I'm pretty much pissed beyond words. Not like that's ever stopped me from spewing some words anyway.
Friday night was a night that "should have been."
I should've been ducking out of work little bit early. I should have been driving down to Mrs. Martini's workplace to pick her up. We should have been sitting in our seats watching the Columbus Blue Jackets win/lose/go to a shootout/you get the point against the Vancouver Canucks in the home opener. We should have been knocking back pints with our kick ass community of bloggers and hockey at the R Bar. We should have been toasting an unheard-of, unbeaten start for the Blue Jackets, or discussing how maybe the lines just need a little more time to jell with all the new guys on the roster.
We went to a friend's company Halloween party. But this should have been hockey night.
So should Tuesday night when the old nemesis Detroit is in town.
But it wasn't. Because the players don't want to play. And if they do actually want to play, the league doesn't want to negotiate.
Simply put... two organizations, with the word "Hockey" in their names, are keeping hockey from happening.
Think about that a moment. Shouldn't an organization with "Hockey" in its name... be doing more to further the sport?
So, you can understand why someone like me might be more than a little upset.
Not that I don't like office parties. Especially around Halloween. Parties are great.
It's the principle of it all. NHL's 30 teams are supposed to be playing right now, celebrating the world's greatest sport. The problem is that the NHL is headed by a guy who runs the league about as well as Scott Howson runs the Blue Jackets.
And the players union is headed by the Antichrist.
Now, to be honest, I am being a little harsh on Gary Bettman. After all, he has presided over growing revenues ever since the last lockout. The past year even saw a record $3.3 billion in revenue. I don't think anyone could say that any ordinary idiot could do that.
However, I think we can all agree that Gary Bettman is no ordinary idiot.
Suppose you're running a business. A very successful business... maybe not as popular as some others, but you have a loyal following and a fine profit going.
So... suppose some of the staff aren't too happy with what they're getting paid. Maybe there's a little back and forth, but still an impasse. You put forth a proposal that's much closer to a middle ground. They counter with a few alternatives. You don't like them, but do you want to keep that record revenue stream going, or not?
Do you just shut down the whole damn business and not negotiate... leaving your faithful patrons looking for another business to spend their money with in the meantime?
Apparently, if you're Gary Bettman... you do.
And if you're Donald Fehr... well, you kill sports, so no need to waste time.
Neither Gary Bettman nor Donald Fehr is one of us. Bettman would probably never watch hockey if it wasn't part of his job. I seriously doubt Fehr has ever seen a game.
Yet they're still getting paid. What about the Blue Jackets and the other 29 teams in the NHL? With no games, what are they doing? Making decisions that affect livelihoods. People with families. No revenues, no salaries. What's next? Shortened work weeks? Layoffs?
So why are Bettman and Fehr the decision makers here? Why is this how they do business?
Fans has Ice Week to fill the void somewhat this weekend, and that is terrific. Every week si supposed to be Ice Week, though.
We should have been celebrating this weekend. Win or lose.
Instead... we're waiting for a season to start. A season that seems as far away as ever... if it even happens.
And my confidence in that is dwindling.
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MORE PRE- AND DURING-LOCKOUT COVERAGE
10/18/2012: Puck In The Players' End Today
10/16/2012: Fehr and Loathing... Mostly Loathing
9/16/2012: Box Full Of Letters, Part IV: The NHL and NHLPA... (and if you like, you can mail the Jumble to the NHL and/or the NHLPA, too!)
9/15/2012: Box Full Of Letters (Postcard Edition), Part I: The Columbus Blue Jackets
9/14/2012: No Year's Eve