So here we are, exactly two weeks into the NHL lockout, and you know how they say no news is good news?  Well in this case, no news is just that - no news.

As expected, absolutely nothing has changed since my last writing.  Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow have both made separate appearances on a couple of Canadian talk shows, namely “Your Turn”, part of the CBC’s nightly news digest “The National”, yet they had nothing to say which we haven’t already heard 100 times.  They both were very coy in answering questions from concerned fans over why we’re in this mess to begin with, both very careful not to say anything which could endanger the possibility of talks, whenever or wherever they may take place.

Let’s make no mistake, both sides have their positions, and neither side is willing to budge, period.  The so called leaders of both sides are, for whatever reason, not in a position to discuss anything.  The prediction from many is this thing may not get resolved this year or even next.  The only fitting way to describe it is to think of two kids at the local playground fighting over which way they want to go on the slide – up or down – all the while both kids knowing full well the slide was only designed for going down.

The people you really have to feel for here are not the owners, the players, the fans, or the league.  It’s the people whose very livelihoods depend on the sport, the folks who work in the restaurants, bars, and concession stands – the folks who check your ticket stubs – the people selling 50/50 tickets on the main concourse – not to mention the future stars of our game, the younger fans and younger players who don’t fully understand the economic issues, and even if they do, don’t understand why the two sides can’t just get it done.  Believe me they aren’t the only ones.

So, until the NHL or NHLPA have anything concrete to say, here are just a few things you won’t see me do or mention within the realm of this column or on my website.  Call it my pledge to you the fans and loyal readers, in the hopes I can actually write about something other than the nothing we’re now experiencing.  And if not, well at least you can’t blame me for trying to shed some light on an otherwise dismal situation.

-         I will not start any of my subsequent columns with “This is now day ___ of the lockout, have you lost your freakin’ mind yet?”

-         I will not write a third article on how to combat hockey withdrawal – after all, I’m not George Lucas and this is not Star Wars.  (If you'd like to read my previous offerings on the subject, please click here and/or here - or check the Archives page).

-         I will not renew my subscription to The Hockey News.

-         I will not mention the words “hip”, “check”, “slap”, or “shot” in the same sentence.

-         I will not spend $600 for an in house pop machine cooler with customized NHL logo panels – the fridge in the kitchen is just fine thank you.

-         I will not poke fun at or undermine any fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs or New York Rangers – they will suffer enough once this is all said and done as they’ll have to watch players who are said and done.

-         I will not eat at Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant, at least not in the foreseeable future (unless of course I happen to win the lottery in which case I will celebrate with the Great One himself at his private table while we discuss plans to build a similar restaurant in Ottawa).

-         I will not say anything derogatory about Tie Domi, Todd Bertuzzi, or (insert name here).

-         While we’re on the topic of Bertuzzi, I will not begrudge him his right to make his wrought iron fence higher than officially allowed in Kitchener.

-         I will not criticize the NHL method of officiating or lack thereof.

-         I will not talk about any team attempting to “buy the Stanley Cup” – in fact, if we don’t have a season it would be interesting to see which team will try it first (my bet’s on New York).

-         I will not cry if there is not an NHL Draft in Ottawa next summer, even though it will mean “the next one” Sidney Crosby will have to play one more year in the “Q” League.

-         I will not miss Gary Bettman’s yearly All Star break “I promise the fans we will fix this” interview with Ron Maclean – in fact, I will not miss the All Star Game.

-         I will not miss Peter Forsberg.

-         I will not be ordering the Bettman/Goodenow special at the local pizzeria.

-         I will not see Don Cherry get fired – nor will I buy another one of his Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em DVDs.

-         I will not pay attention to anything Jeremy Roenick or Brett Hull has to say.

-         I will not pay 50 cents more for a Tim Horton’s coffee unless they come out with a double extra large size exclusive to NHL arenas – watch the lineups then.

-         I will not order the NHL Centre Ice package if they wait until January to drop the puck – as a matter of principle, I may not order it ever again.

-         I will not support the Ontario Stars Hockey League tour which looks as though it might already be defunct after only two games played.

-         I will not watch Trading Places during the same timeslot Hockey Night In Canada would have played.

-         I will not hold my breath waiting for McFarlane to release the next series of NHL collectible action figures – as of this writing a higher priority seems to have been placed on an Elvis Presley “Viva Las Vegas” figure.

-         I will not travel to Toronto or Hamilton to see an AHL game (although Syracuse or Binghamton are distinct possibilities and are closer to Ottawa).

-         I will not purposely dress in my favorite NHL team colors.

-         I will not answer any more spam joke e-mails asking for me to donate a portion of my salary towards a locked out NHL player – give it up already folks, it was funny the first time, but the novelty has since worn off!

-         I will not lose any sleep during the course of the lockout.

-         I will not resume couch potato status when NHL hockey resumes.

I won’t waste any more time telling you what I won’t do, so here are a few things you can count on until the NHL goes about their business again, whenever that may be.

-         I will go watch the Ottawa 67s play, the price of admission costing less than a beer costs at an NHL game.

-         I will watch the next World Junior and Memorial Cup tournaments with great interest.

-         I will watch the World Series in its entirety for the first time since 1994.

-         I will review NHL 2K5 and NHL 2005 within the next few weeks.

-         I will try to sit down on a Sunday and watch football – the CFL not NFL.

-         I will treat every “Sens Insider” e-mail as spam.

-         I will buy as many $6.88 Wal-Mart bargain bin DVDs as humanly possible – and actually sit down and watch them.

-         I will count the days until “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” is released and will be first in line to pick up my already reserved copy.

-         I will keep writing a column at least once a month.

And I will find something else to do – in fact there’s a shopping centre, a movie theatre, a high school rink and a bingo hall, all within walking distance.  It could be a very interesting fall and/or winter.

Take care folks, and stay tuned for more right here.  Next time around I hope to actually have something to talk about.


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