Friday, November 23, 2012

Time To Just Say "Cancel It"

I would never say anything so bold as "no one has been waiting for an All-Star game in Columbus longer than I have." It's a foolish thing to say… and something that thousands of people in Columbus would certainly dispute.

However, I can say like those many thousands of others that I've waited a pretty damn long time.

Of course, that makes what I'm going to say in the next sentence sound really crazy.

You know what… I think I'm ready to wait a couple more years to see the All-Star game in Nationwide Arena.

Blasphemy, you say?

Nah. I can say it's more practicality than anything else. You can probably throw in a little pride there, too.

I would contend that it's kind of appropriate. After all, at the rate things are going, we're looking at a mid-December starts at the very earliest for any kind of abbreviated season. So, that's... what, about six or seven weeks before the All-Star game? It's just impractical. Actually, it's damn near stupid.

Now, about that pride part. Columbus is a fine hockey city. Sure, the performance of the team is not a good indicator. Go ahead. A lot of people say it. Were used to it.

But the people who choose to spend more money for seats and season tickets and individual game tickets for Blue Jackets games are a passionate lot... at least most of them are. We're hockey fans.

Now, we realize that our sport is to the Big Four sports what PBS is to TV networks.

However, the passion that hockey fans feel toward their sport rivals that of any of the other big three. Sure our numbers are fewer… but you can be damn sure that the people at a hockey game are there to find out if there's anything to the belief that blood does indeed bounce on ice.

The fact that our sport has fewer felons and dopers per capita is an extra perk.

Sadly, the corruption in our sport comes from different sources. But enough about Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr. That's for another post.

Or two.

I've said before that hockey fans are mostly a very happy, healthy, dysfunctional family. Columbus and its fan base are like the sibling gets picked on a lot, usually by trolls that just feel better about ripping on other teams to make up for their own inadequacies (or their team's). And that's okay... we rip on one another online, in bars and in the stands, and by the end of the game we're clinking pints of Molson... and maybe save the bird-flipping for when the other's back is turned later on.

However, through a combination of overpaid/underachieving players, horrific (and hopefully remedied) team mismanagement and just plain $#!+ luck… Columbus has had one hell of a tough year.

And quite frankly, Columbus deserves better than to have the NHL All-Star game during this god-awful mess of the abbreviated season, if it even happens.

Yes, it probably means waiting another two years, because the league will probably insist on the 2 1/2-week Olympic Break for "My Dream Team is better than your Dream Team."

And it puts on the back burner all the hard work that the team and local officials put into the bid for this great event. However, as I just said, Columbus deserves better. Those efforts are worth so much more than having to plan such a great event, only to have it associated with this labor fustercluck, engineered by two guys who couldn't manage a McDonald's, let alone a major sports league.

So go ahead, Commissioner. Let's just stop this now, and cancel the All-Star game... so that Columbus can host it in 2015, when you, the NHLPA and your respective cronies have your $#!+ together, and decide that maybe HOCKEY should be a priority in the National HOCKEY League. Maybe if we're lucky, you'll be gone by then.

But I'll worry about the bonus later.

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