Sunday, April 10, 2005

Long on Optimism, Short on results

Well they're still talking, which one suspects is better than spitting at each other on the sidewalk. But what they're talking about is anyone's guess.

The NHL meetings took place over the last few days and the GM's and league officials invited the union to sit in on a few meetings (one suspects they didn't make the short workshop about replacement players) to hash out things like potential equipment changes and rule revisions. Everyone has apparently agreed that goaltenders are evil and need to be dealt with, but as far as negotiating anything resembling a collective agreement, well it's more meetings planned kids!

In fact, Gary and Bob had a one on one session on Thursday night and vowed to keep those cel minutes percolating over the weekend in order to set up more "constructive" meetings in the near future.

It was interesting to note that Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan were invited to the meetings this time, to provide a "fresh" view on the situation. Though one wonders if two players who are close to the NHL retirement home should be involved too heavily, should not the younger players who will have to live with the eventual settlement and with the upcoming rule changes not have more of a say in their own future? Just wondering there folks!

The league then went back to it's business of acting as though they still run a business. The league office gave the GM's an update on official matters. They plan to soon announce a revised format for the upcoming draft (apparently a lottery is the way to go, and hey judging by the perilous state of NHL franchises these days winning a lottery may not be a bad strategy) which having been bounced from Ottawa will become a telephone roll call. Stock tip of the week Hockeyfans buy stock in MCI, Bell and your local telco provider!

As a matter of fact if things don't go well, long distance calling may become the most profitable of NHL sidelines, if the league does end up going the replacement player route phones will be ringing from Anchorage to Auckland, Maine to Moscow and Tofino to St. John's. Kevin Lowe put it best in the Globe and Mail this weekend, when asked about potential replacements signing on next season, "No, we're always out there looking for players," Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe said. "Everybody knows the pool of players available in the world. Until we get direction or confirmation from the league one way or another, we been advised to stand pat."

Stand Pat indeed but keep some quarters handy by the payphones!

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