After 72 days of drawing lines in the sand, then standing at the edge of those lines and seeing who can pee the farthest, the NHL and the NHLPA have decided to enlist the aid of Federal mediators Scott Beckenbaugh, John Sweeney, and Guy Serota in an attempt to feign interest in solving the current labor dispute.
Hockey fans were quick to react to this news, with all five of us yawning and quickly returning our attention to our NFL fantasy teams.
Don’t get me wrong: I want the NHL to salvage its season as much as any of you, perhaps more so, so I can actually have some good content about which to write. But come on: who really is optimistic about this latest development? Both sides seem pretty dug in at this point, with the owners coming across as being just a bit more likely to earn the title of, “Most Likely to Make Broomball More Popular Than Hockey.”
(And don’t even ask me about that “sport.” Two drunk guys think it’s a good idea to play hockey without skates, and now I have to read about college students organizing broomball clubs. Lucky me.)
Bringing in a third party may be a good idea – clearly, the NHL and the NHLPA cannot solve this dispute on their own – but I don’t feel asking federal mediators is the answer. Why not? Simple: it’s not drastic enough. More talk is not what we need; what we need is for someone to wake up and realize that this is hockey we’re talking about, and the only way to resolve a conflict in the world of professional hockey is to have two guys take the ice, pretend they want to play nice, then drop the gloves and beat the crap out of each other until one of them is on the ice, praying the ref is going to step in and break the fight up. Unless Beckenbaugh, Sweeney, and Serota are going to let each side send their toughest enforcer onto the ice at Madison Square Garden in order to settle this dispute once and for all, these three amigos are out of their league.
This is not to say that I agree with Ryan Miller when he says that union decertification is the way to go, either; in my opinion, that seems like an act of desperation on the part of the players, and if we get to that point, we may as well focus our attention on how to make the AHL good enough to compete with and ultimately overtake the NHL. Honestly, I don’t know how to solve the current lockout situation, but I’m pretty sure bringing in these stiffs from the government isn’t going to be the solution fans are praying for right now. Having said that, I’m wrong a lot, so you can all hope that I just ended the lockout by voicing my opinion today!