Friday, December 07, 2012

They say the neon lights are bright on broadway...

Should the NHL ever get around to playing that historical shinny thing again, we suspect that a new TV contract should be the first order of business.

After Thursday night's double bill of theatre, the NHL needs to tear up their TSN, CBC, Sportsnet and NBCSports deals, there really is only one place for such theatre to be that's PBS, for Thursday night gave us Drama and Comedy the likes of Masterpiece Theatre.

Hockey fans who might have found a glimmer of hope in Donald Fehr's stand up at the Westin (we're looking at you James Duthie) were brought back down to earth when Gary Bettman took to his own podium (twitter feed preparing an update as we speak) to deliver the downside of Fehr's upside, that being that Fehr apparently wasn't on the same page as the NHL.

But before we got to Darth Vader, er, Gary delivering news of the attack on the rebels, there was the sideline humour of the NHLPA learning that all offers were off the table, by way of a message left on a phone.

To reply to this message press one, To save press two, To discard press three... To give up and find other work, press four...

Yes, after how many days of face to face discussions, the pivotal moment of the breakdown of negotiations was handled as though you or I were a) breaking off a dinner engagement or b) breaking off an actual engagement, depending on your tendency to cowardice we imagine.

Perhaps, the NHLPA couldn't be reached, hence the phone message, but really a simple "call us" might have been helpful, if for no other reason than to appear like adults and not teenagers dumping their once BFF.

At any rate, the drama continued on with Mr. Bettman growing in anger with each passing sentence, given to some serious snark whenever he gathers in a press conference, he was in full dudgeon by the time his full spleen venting was complete.


The added bonus to all the dramaramarama being the arrival of a platoon of the NHLPA Praetorian guard, there to observe, occasionally scowl and cross their arms from time to time..

The post speech scrums provided some interesting sideshows as well, word that at one point owners we're trying to pull their players from meetings, suggesting that things might go better if only that snarly Mr. Fehr was to be sent away.

Players tweeting their anger over the now common forum of twitter, where everyone it seems defaults for their stream of consciousness thinking these days.

All in all, a bizarre spectacle that had all the appearances of a warm up to Armageddon Day.

Duelling press conferences, with conflicting opinions and nothing in the way of a blue print it seems to move forward.

The end takeaway from it all being that for the moment there will be nohockeyforus(tm), no discussions between union and management and a clock continues to talk to some magic moment when all discover that the best skating days on the pond have passed them by for the season.

Some of the reviews (enjoy them while they last the paywall craze is spreading) from Broadway have come in, both performance receiving a critics choice and a critics pan in equal doses.

National Post-- NHL labour negotiations come crashing down in blink of an eye
National Post-- League wastes no time in rejecting NHLPA's latest offer
Globe and Mail-- Are NHL PLayers ready to roll over?
Globe and Mail-- Latest breakdown reminiscent of 2004
Calgary Herald-- Hockey world dazed and confuses as sport remains stuck in a boardroom
Edmonton Journal-- Arrrgghh. I'm sick of the whole labour battle
Montreal Gazette-- NHL owners have to deal with Fehr
Montreal Gazette-- Ken Dryden weighs in on NHL lockout
Ottawa Citizen-- Lockout standoff continues to amaze
Ottawa Citizen--  NHL lockout talks break off, as league, players point fingers
Toronto Star-- Owners skating circles around players in labour fight: Kelly
Toronto Star-- It's getting 'surreal', says labour expert
Toronto Star-- Putting on a show rather than doing a deal: Cox
Toronto Sun-- As NHL lockout talks collapse, angry Gary Bettman questions integrity of NHLPA
Toronto Sun-- NHL determined to have meaningful season
Toronto Sun-- Season hangs in balance after NHL rejects offer
Toronto Sun-- Cherry tweets he's never seen Bettman so fired up
Winnipeg Free Press-- Time for players to cast ballots
Winnipeg Free Press-- Players not surprised
Vancouver Province-- All that hope now gone up in smoke
Vancouver Sun-- Seething step backward as deal disappears
Sportsnet-- 30 minutes of madness
Sportnset-- The NHLPA's Bady Boyfriend
Sportsnet-- NHL Carrying the Play
Sportsnet-- NHL, NHLPA Say Goodbye to Good Feelings
ESPN-- Labor talks bring high drama
TSN-- NHL, Rejects NHLPA's Offer, No Future Talks Planned
TSN-- The Bizarre Week of CBA Talks
TSN-- Crosby, Players show frustration with Breakdown in Talks
CBC-- Implosion in NHL talks leaves players with few options
CBC-- NHL, NHLPA down to final 40 days to save season
CBC-- Time for NHL, players to get real
CBC-- Don Cherry on Gary Bettman "I have never seen him so livid"
The Hockey News-- NHL, NHLPA negotiations break down in big way

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