The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

36 Hours

We are now less than 36 hours from the end of the NHL season.

Normally, that statement would be made sometime in early June, and the ending would be noted by a final horn, a bunch of guys mobbing one another, some silly hats being passed around, and those two impeccably dressed guys with white gloves carrying the greatest trophy in all of sports out onto the ice for the celebration.

No, this NHL season will end with a short guy in a suit standing up at a podium at some hotel in New York City, reading a prepared statement that had been printed up probably six to eight months ago. No silly hats will be handed out; no guys in suits with white gloves will carry out a trophy to be paraded around. And no one will be hugging anyone in celebration - though a whole lot of hockey fans will be crying in consolation.

It was the unthinkable, not that long ago, that a major professional sports league - any sports league, for that matter - would lose an entire scheduled season to a labor dispute.

There will be press, there will be reporters asking questions. The answers will be measured out, rehashing the same old words that have been thrown around for over a year now - "cost certainty", "salaries tied to revenues", "change is needed."

All this because a bunch of people can't decide how to split up the money they earn from playing a children's game.

Even the kids don't understand why this is. Perhaps they should be the ones consulted in negotiations; the mighty mites who get their gear on every Saturday morning, go down to the local rink, play hockey, and then go out to the local Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts afterwards as a reward. Maybe they'd be able to figure out how to divvy up all that money, even if they can't count to 100.

36 hours. That's all that's left between the NHL and oblivion.

On a brighter note: in less than 12 hours, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Florida...