Monday, September 17, 2012

Lockouts, protocol breaches and R&B tight ends


With the third hockey lockout in the past two decades now officially on the books, it's more abundantly clear than ever that the overwhelming share of the blame and responsibility is on the owners. Whatever the players' ulterior motive in offering to start the season without an agreement, it can at least be construed as a gesture of good faith. The same goes for the players' willingness to amend the previous CBA at their own expense, if not to the extent that the league is demanding. And whatever valid business reasons exist for the flurry of player contract signings before the lockout deadline, they are dwarfed by the owners' hypocrisy. Their frenzied, last minute use of a system they claim is broken blows gigantic holes in the league's credibility...Not that the players can lay complete claim to the moral high ground: the fact that NHLers who've signed with European clubs are taking jobs from players overseas suggests there is a selective solidarity among members of the NHLPA, and that they have no compunction about taking food off someone else's table for their own benefit...Even in the violent world of professional football, there are such things as etiquette and protocol, and Tampa Bay rookie head coach Greg Schiano breached both yesterday when he ordered his defence to fire through the New York line as the Giants took a knee on the last play of the game. Schiano's "it's not over 'till it's over" and "that's how we did it at Rutgers" rationalization was beyond lame, and if you think I'd feel differently if the Giants were on the other side of the ball - well, you're probably right...After spending most of last week calling former NHL defenceman Normand Rochefort "Leon" Rochefort, it did my heart good yesterday to hear someone of Troy Aikman's stature repeatedly refer to Jake Ballard as "Hank" Ballard. At least I confused two hockey players with one another. Aikman had a deceased R&B singer playing tight end in the NFL...I suppose it's fun to play spoiler when you're so far out of contention that there's nothing else to play for, but there's something undignified about baseball also-rans celebrating September walk-off wins like they just clinched the pennant. Are you listening, Red Sox and Royals? Have some humility. You've earned it.

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