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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fools.

For want of the will to close a 6.5 million dollar per team gap, the NHL and NHLPA have blown up the season. It would have taken all the creativity God gave salad, but it is evident there not a brain neuron to be found in this sorry bunch.

To hell with the lot of them--all of the posturing of the past year by the Bettmanians and Goodenowers has been revealed to be just that: rank posturing. At the very last instant, both sides backed away from the "inviolable" linking and salary cap stances.

Too late. Why couldn't you have done this last June? There's no honest answer, apart from pride. Jerks.

I am going to miss professional hockey--especially come April. There is nothing like the thrill of sudden death playoff hockey. The words "Game 7" have a magic all their own.

Now...a test pattern.

I have likely seen Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios play their last games. Probably Brendan Shanahan, too--he's been talking that way of late.

I will never forgive the game that.

And if the NHL/PA thinks that the fans will return like they did for baseball, you've got another thing coming (Spare the Rob Halford takes--Mgm't.).

Hockey is often called "the fourth major sport." That's a polite courtesy title--like the title "slugger" or "champ" given to a little boy.

It's not anything resembling a "major" sport. Not even close. Hockey is a niche sport in America, where it is woven into the culture in only a few select places. The strongholds of the devout can be named safely on the fingers of one hand: Minnesota, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York. That's it. Most people have learned they can live without hockey--especially outside those states. It's an afterthought, and getting dimmer in the mind all the time.

When it returns, it will return to the sound of crickets. Entire franchises will fold--count on it. The fan base will be greatly shrunken. When it comes back, it better be humble. Because it's going to be humiliating to learn how little most people care.

For want of a brain, the sport was lost.

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