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Friday, November 23, 2012

NHL Turkey Talk Fails to Gobble Up Lockout

Article first published as NHL Turkey Talk Fails to Gobble Up Lockout on Blogcritics.

The National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association are a bunch of turkeys. Even on Thanksgiving Eve they failed to come up with a solution to the lockout, with the league yet again rejecting the union’s proposal. After the meeting NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, “There was movement by us on some issues, but we’re still far apart.” In other words, once again, the fans are discounted as the lockout has gone on 68 days now.

Union executive director Donald Fehr said of the union’s rejected five year offer, “On the big things, there was no reciprocity,” which means that the two sides cannot agree on how to play nice. Yes, the “big things” are revenue and player contracts, with the $67.25 million salary cap one of the things players want guaranteed. To this Bettman responded that the union “isn’t particularly realistic,” noting that losses in revenue continue to accrue as the lost season continues.

To the average fan none of this matters. Arenas remain dark, players are off to all corners with their skates hanging from a hook in the closet, and time is wasting away. As of now there is a distinct possibility that the December schedule is gone, though the NHL has not announced that officially. The way things are going, the entire season is in serious jeopardy.

So, for me, once a loyal NY Islanders fan, enough is enough. I am so tired of these lockouts in professional sports. The lucrative player contracts, the huge money generated by network deals, and the enormous revenue that is there for both sides is never enough. They are so angry with each other that they are like two kids on a playground who want the same swing, and there is never going to be enough room for both to sit down on it. The problem is that as long as they don’t play nice, the fans suffer.

Today I took my Islanders gear out of the closet, shoved it in a box, and put it out in the trash. I reached this point because I believe that this season is gone, and so too is my allegiance to the team and to the sport. I can honestly live without hockey. My Knicks are playing impressively, the Jets keep me interested – even if they are struggling this year (again) – and before I know it my Mets will begin spring training, so I have plenty to keep me entertained.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I give thanks for seeing the light. I am done with hockey. I am tired of the turkeys on both sides, and I have a Jets football game to watch tonight after the big meal. Goodbye, NHL, and good riddance.

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