Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ball busters, crotch grabbers and other Easter weekend musings

As tiresome as Hockey Night in Canada's pro-Tampa theme has become three games into the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there was at least one element of Sunday's coverage that gave Montreal its due.  Toronto-based filmmaker Tim Thompson's game-opening musical montages have become as much must-see as Coach's Corner, but certainly not because of the train wreck factor that draws a substantial portion of Don Cherry's viewers.  Thompson's montages are carefully crafted works of art, and for a non-Montrealer, he demonstrated uncanny touch with Sunday's opening segment.  Set to the strains of local chanteur Michel Pagliaro's "Some Sing, Some Dance", the two minute and 10 second homage tapped perfectly into the relationship between the city and its hockey team, and was a welcome departure from Hockey Night's usual insincere and ham-fisted attempts to feign respect for the Canadiens.

After six days and nights of edge-of-your-seat Stanley Cup playoff fare, I'm more convinced than ever that the comparative dreck that passes for regular season hockey is criminally overpriced.  Hundreds of dollars for a pair of good seats to a mid-January snoozefest is a rip-off, but by today's economic standards, the same money is well worth it for an overtime barnburner in the post-season.  Therefore, I propose a business model whereby ticket prices are determined AFTER the game by an impartial arbitrator with equal amounts of expertise in hockey and economics who can decide what represents fair value for the dollar.  I get one percent of the gate for coming up with the idea.

It doesn't matter that the five thousand dollar fine assessed to Bruins thug Milan Lucic for spearing Detroit's Danny DeKeyser in the groin is pocket change for Lucic.  What's important is that by getting caught on camera pulling the same stunt twice in the last three weeks, Lucic has been exposed as a serial offender of the most despicable act one man can perpetrate on another.  Karma and the hockey code (such as it is) will take care of the rest.

Remarkably, while Lucic was only fined 5 grand for a vile and deliberate attempt to injure, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was docked 25k for the obscene but relatively harmless act of grabbing his own crotch during a loss to St. Louis.  Comparisons aside, both gestures added a new phrase to the hockey lexicon: if you can't beat 'em, scrotum.

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