Monday, February 14, 2005

Count me out

I'm sorry, but I don't want a 28-game season. I don't want to invest time watching the NHL hastily clump together back-to-back Monday and Tuesday night games between the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets, nor do I want to see someone score 32 points to win the Art Ross Trophy or 17 goals for the Maurice Richard. At that pace, Steve Sullivan's late-season hot streak could have qualified him for either award. Now, as much as I like Sullivan, should his name — or any other such player who happens to have a hot streak — grace (or disgrace) these trophies? No, no they should not.

Unlike many others who bleat like shaven sheep for the season to begin, I don't want the NHL this year. Seriously, flush it down, and we can all get back to what we were doing anyway.

And, Mario, don't go to the joke of the tournament that the World Championships will become.

UPDATE I realize that none of this matters as the season will be cancelled, but I'd like to score a moral victory and allow people to realize this crummy version of a season isn't much to cry over. Our national past time has become a joke.


At 12:01 a.m., February 15, 2005, Blogger aquietgirl said...

It's not the end of the world, but every channel I turn on has some ridiculous "special" about the NHL lock-out. Give it a rest, Mansbridge.

Also, when and why did the National Post decide to make like a teenage girl and self-mutilate with the font and the design?! *Comics*? In the Post???

At 12:31 p.m., February 15, 2005, Blogger Sea Otter said...

James -- I don't get it. Why do you think the Worlds have become a joke? I love international hockey, particularly when it involves the guys with the Maple Leaf on the front of the jersey. Heck, my son and I even watched some Spengler Cup play between Christmas and New Years when Sportsnet picked it up! I am curious as to why you are sour on the event.

At 9:11 p.m., February 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, the Post had comics on Day One, so it's not exactly sacrilege. And I'm afraid I don't quite get the "I don't want to see any hockey, thanks" vibe I'm getting from so many sportswriters--some of whom will turn around quite soon, no doubt, and find some excuse (perhaps the lockout itself!) to lionize lunchbox guys like Toe Blake and Rocket Richard, who played when a normal season was 50 games or less. Do their achievements not count either? Or is there some nebulous cutoff I'm unaware of?

At 1:06 a.m., February 16, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I'm not going to debate the merits of deciding playoff seeding and individual awards on the basis of playing 1/3 of a season. What playing a lockout-abbreviated campaign that runs into July has to do with the length of a season that Toe Blake played, I haven't the foggiest.

At 3:53 a.m., February 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point--it's Cosh speaking; I forgot to sign that last post--is that there's nothing divinely ordained about the 82-game season, or any other length. I thought that was clear enough. The playoffs and the postseason awards will have whatever meaning we happen to assign to them; you can glue an asterisk on them if you like (or lose the debate by claiming to be above it somehow). I just find "Steve Sullivan might win the Art Ross" a completely weird reason to actively not want to see some hockey played. Who gives a crap? Are you a fan of silverware, or a fan of the game?

At 10:26 a.m., February 16, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You're right, it was clear enough.

It's going to take a small essay to respond accurately to that and at the moment I'm so fed up with trading lockout barbs that I won't be able to muster the energy.

I will say this... I think it is because I'm such a huge fan of the game that a 28-game season matters to me. The NHL has enough problems (the trap, poor officiating, etc.) when they are playing their full schedule (which is far too long). And I just can't see how this joke of a season — i.e. no training camp, fans paying $100 for a seat to watch a guy who hasn't played competitively in over six months, the Stanley Cup awarded in mid-July, and many more — will benefit the game at all.

If people are that starved for hockey, the junior and minor hockey games should be turning people away. It's my belief that to really fix the league, not playing this year will be more beneficial than sprinting through a garbage mini-season. That said, people don't seem willing to make that sacrifice, instead wishing to bleat for a brand of hockey that they openly complain about to return.

At 2:24 p.m., February 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's moot now.

Bettman said this morning that the short season would probably have featured some of those experimental rule changes people have been hankering for, so there's one possible answer to the question of "how it would help the game." Personally I felt the state of the game-on-the-ice was not so terrible when last seen, and that the writers who whine about it excessively have only helped create the crisis atmosphere in which we find ourselves. It's hard to sell a sport when it's shat on eighty times a week. The neutral-zone trap, as a complaint, is just a lazy man's way of meeting a deadline; it had already passed its peak as a tactic, not that anyone noticed. And the dodgy officiating we've seen is a natural consequence of the sudden doubling of the number of refs, which was intended to reduce dirty play away from the puck--an example, I think, of sportswriters complaining about the disease and then complaining even louder about the cure.

The game, before the lockout, had only continued to grow in popularity in Canada, where people aren't so susceptible to media perceptions of how lame hockey has become. I don't consider that a coincidence. -CC


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