Is NHL Mess A Harbinger?

January17/ 2000

..If you are missing NHL hockey raise your hand? … I thought so … two guys in Montreal and a forest ranger in upper Manitoba who got a satellite dish for Christmas… If North America can survive “no hockey” what else can we survive? …and Swagger gigs those “the guy we wanted all along” coaching pronouncements and some other sports adsurdems.

   There are no heroes in the NHL owner-player squabble.  Millionaire players feuding with billionaire owners with the only sympathetic figures being a few dozen Zamboni drivers and the eccentric little geeks that wear the mascot costumes.  “Stormy” the Carolina Hurricanes’ pig mascot is reduced to doing kiddie birthdays in Willow Springs and the Zamboni guy is driving a forklift at Lowes.  So much for “roar of the greasepaint and smell of the crowd”.

   At least in the US of A the lock-out has been hardly a hiccup to the general economy.  Revenue projections for arena financing payback schedules go in the crapper but those silly things are bogus any way … what taxpayers don’t know does hurt them but they’ll never know!  Each city does have 100s of gameday staff who miss out on their secondary incomes as ushers, concession workers, etc but they somehow manage.  Radio and TV affiliates have air time to fill but that’s why God invented James Bond movie archives and Bowflex infomercials.

   America’s entertainment bucket is amazingly resilient.  The hole left by “no hockey” somehow fills up with “stuff”.  If NHL Hockey ranks as 4th, 5th, 6th, or 21st among your personal pro sports options your “withdrawal symptoms” might vary. If we are admitted gluttons to be entertained by “sports” but we can survive “no hockey” then how vital to America’s psychological and financial well being is WNBA, Arena Football, MISL, WUSA, and the cornucopia of other “competitions” replayed on ESPN2, 3, 5, Classic, and HD at 3 AM?  If Joe Six-Pack realizes he doesn’t need his sports fix, will that kill the sports goose.

   With Pro Poker now all the rage and Billiards close behind, will sports promoters realize what television producers have learned with “reality shows”?  That is that there are now eleventeen dozen cable channels and somebody watches all of them even the nine that carry nothing but Law & Order reruns.  Why pay Sergei Federov $10,000,000 when consumers will buy just as much Levitra from that sexy brunette in her commercial during Millionaire Survivor Apprentices Run An Amazing Race While Trading Spaces With The Swan?

   The national TV market is carved up in so many pieces now that a sponsor is better off laying out his money across the spectrum instead of buying 30 seconds on Edmonton vs San Jose.  With the new season of Alias starting this week absolutely NOBODY will miss the NHL … Jennifer Garner vs Ty Domme … I rest my case.

   I admit I can name more girl soccer players than I can NHL guys.  Well, at least I could before Mia retired, it’s probably 5 of one and 4 of the other now. 

   I do appreciate that hockey is Canada’s baseball … their national pastime.  They should have thought of that before they sided with John Kerry and his bunch last November. Without hockey, what will Canadians do while waiting 8 months to have a mole removed under their glorious socialized medicine system?

   As I have said many times here, EVERY Carolina Hurricane player and staffer I have ever dealt with have been super representatives of their sport and their organization.  But if the NHL is kaput they will survive better than the Pillowtex workers in Kannapolis or the small businesses that go under every year from over-regulation.

   Maybe we have reached the saturation point in our sports economy.  The District of Columbia resisting public financing of a new stadium and risking losing the Nationals is another sign.  When sports owners try to ramrod “new arenas with MORE SKYBOXES” they are running into more and more legitimate opposition.

   Heels and Wuffies love to debate whose basketball arena was the biggest public millstone … the annual and until forever state-supported upkeep of Dean’s Dome or the tax-supported construction of the RBC Center (now with 40 vacant hockey dates).  Both are too big and had totally bogus operating projection plans.  The sole purpose of both was to impress Billy BlueChips.  ARRGGGHHHH!

   Charlotte’s new “downtown arena” will have only 16,000 seats proving AGAIN my incredible insight that LJVMC is the optimum size for a “spectator friendly place to watch a game”.


Ya Gotta Love It …

   After sending the Univ of Louisville fans into total apoplexy by courting Bobby Petrino, LSU officials are now saying Les Miles is “who we really wanted all along”.  When’s the last time we heard that BS … why, just 3 weeks ago when Notre Dame settled for Charlie Weis after Urban and two dozen other “name coaches” publically rejected Kevin White’s pleas.

   The Rose Bowl is no longer a “big game” … yep, “the Granddaddy of All Bowl Games” is now just a meaningless WeedEater Tire TacoBell Joe’s Radiator Repair Bowl … how come you say?  Because Mack Brown won it and according to the Official Mack Brown Haters of Orange County “Mack cannot win a Big Game!”  Despite an ongoing winning % that Tom Osborne would envy, Mack will be forever castigated and reviled because “he lied ta dem boys”.  Yawn …

   Speaking of “who we really wanted all along”, get ready to hear a Wuffie chorus of that song regardless of who Chuck finds to fill his OC, DC, and Asst HC positions over the coming weeks.  For sure that Lupine BCS Kool-Aid is no longer 100 Proof but there are enough “true believers” still hanging on to keep the off-season amusing.

Angels baseball club officially renamed “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” … oh for heaven’s sakes … look for selling “location designations” to become the latest marketing fad.   The UNC Tar Heels next to Carrboro … The NC State Wolfpack only 28 Miles From Beautiful Franklin Street … Duke Blue Devils in Durham but don’t tell anybody … East Carolina Pirates only 180 miles from ACC HQ … … …

   Speaking of “the loonies” we are now heading into Festivus for Loons … otherwise known as “the month leading up to SIGNING DAY”.  The goggle-eyed, tin foil hat crowd will be holding hourly séances from now thru February 2 as no neck 18 y/os, still trying to guess right enough to hit that magic SAT 800, must decide if they want to pursue Pre-Med at Carolina or Aeronautical Engineering at NCSU … decisions, decisions.  Let’s not forget the credo of recruiting geeks … “rating service “stars” only count if our school signs more “high starred guys” than those lying, cheating crooks at that other school, otherwise our coaches simply have a better eye for “potential”.  This will be a landmark recruiting class for UNC as Terry Hunter and Kenny Price have finally used up their recruit eligibility and their “stars” can no longer be counted.  State will, however, be counting Andre Brown for the 2nd go-round.  It’s quite a fascinating comic opera.

Let history forever note that VaTech only lost 3 games in 2004 … to Southern Cal … to Auburn … and TO NC STATE!


Swagger’s Stumper

Is Julius Hodge the best guard in ACC history?

(OK, I read that on a wuffie message board and had to share it!)

What was the name of Lawrence Welk’s orchestra?


   I have a question … what happened to the term “tidal wave” and why does tsunami start with a “t”.  Is it like Tsar for Czar?  Was everyone in Sri Lanka living in “a bungalow”?  If such a horrible natural catastrophe ever does hit the US east coast, will The New York Times have enough advance warning to print “It’s George Bush’s Fault” in a 10” headline?  I did a poll and absolutely everyone on Earth, except Fruitcake Freddie and Helen Thomas, fully expects Kofi Annan to pocket at least an 80% “commission” on this tsunami financial aid fiasco.  Kofi makes Idi Amin look like Mother Teresa. … as always, America is the World’s EMTs … and we won’t even get a “thank you” note. But thats OK, it’s just another reason BobLee and Lee Greenwood are proud to be Americans. 

EVERYTIME I see a “Celebrity Jeopardy” skit on SNL I laugh out loud.  Best ongoing SNL skit EVER!
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