Thursday, February 17, 2005

Look! Up in the sky, why it's the Sun!

After spending yesterday watching the the three Sports networks in Canada devote an entire day of broadcast time to Deathwatch 05, one would be forgiven if we awoke to find a darkened sky, cold blowing winds and freezing temperatures descending upon the land!(hmm, well ok bad analogy for folks living from Newfoundland to Alberta and places north, but you get my drift).

But hey the Sun did rise this morning, those that have jobs went to them. (Not so fast you folks at the NHL and NHLPA and rinks around the continent) and life generally went on as usual.

Despite the furrowed brows of Bob McKenzie, the grave insights of Brian Burke and the countless observations from pundits and prognosticators across the dial, we'll get on with life without the NHL.

The TSN broadcast, which is where I eventually settled down as the day progressed, was full of foreboding gloom, a dark and stormy day for all concerned. The music that of a funeral dirge befitting a Russian commitsar's funeral from the sixties. Was it my imagination or did the graphics just seem darker than usual, shadowy people in shadowy times?

For the most part the various panelists, while lacking in brevity, did a good job of explaining the gravity of the situation. Over six hours to explain a one theme happening may seem a tad overblown, but it probably was their final kick at the hockey cat (apologies to animal lovers everywhere) for a while.

What they all go on to do now is anyone's guess. Some of the lucky hockey analysts will transfer their skills to other sports, but many of these talking heads will be talking to themselves for a fairly long amount of time.

If things now drag on over a year (as some of the doosmdayers have predicted) we may find Pierre McGuire doing local weather "there's a Monster storm coming in, better put on that helmet and get ready to get rocked". Don Cherry won't torment the over sensitive censors at the CBC this spring, the people's network will be a bluster free zone for the first time in many years. Of course without the bluster there will be no luster to those Spring ratings books, the CBC probably makes a huge hunk of change from the hockey festival of April and May, the bottom line at CBC world headquarters is going to be a red line, expense accounts across the Mother Corp are about to take a huge hit.

All sports radio stations across the nation will find thin gruel to fill the waves without the game, with the exception of Toronto and it's ongoing basketball soap opera and those lovable Blue Jays down in Florida, the pro sports scene is barren until the CFL camps of May.

The repercussions for the business world without a hockey industry in Canada could be an interesting study, while the game may be a forgotten niche sport in the USA, it's a multi million dollar economic engine for the media, the lotteries and the merchandisers of Canada. Want to find some sad people, check those industries out, there's going to be some tough decisions made in boardrooms far away from Gary and Bob's offices.

For the HockeyNation the items no doubt will dwindle. Our blog will continue to monitor all things hockey, but to be honest there are other blogs out there where you can find your Euro hockey fix, follow the lower minor leagues and such. The Memorial Cup is coming up and the World Championships should be a far more competitive tournament this year, so there will be some hockey to follow. We'll take a closer look at the AHL with it's Canadian teams, but we won't be providing the same amount of output.

One thing we will do is sit in front of the television one more time this weekend. In an ironic bit of timing, TSN has scheduled their tribute to our game for this weekend, Canada's Game: Hockey Live's here runs from Noon- 6 pm EST (9 am-3 PST) this weekend. A cross Canada trek to see hockey as it should be played, not as it should be ruined. Perhaps it will help to rebuild our faith in great game, trashed by much lesser people!

While the two participants in this Hockey apocalypse retrench and rethink their strategies we'll keep track, but don't expect coverage of every mystic statement from these oracles of ineptitude. Should there be something of value to report we'll add it to the blog, but for now we're going to go enjoy the Sun!

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