The playoffs are coming.
And I have four tickets to the Sharks home opener… Life is good.
People follow a sport like hockey and they look for symbolism. They want the game to mean something. They want the game to matter. So to them, a fresh sheet of ice just after the zamboni has laid its final spray of water presents the purest vision of possibility they could imagine. Skates being sharpened over and over and over again are a meditation on perfection. The routines and rituals that surround the rink are a language of dedication in need of no translation. To them, games aren’t meant to be seen - They’re meant to be felt. Blood points a path directly to the heart, sweat a trail to the soul, and tears a connection to a conviction that people search for their entire lives. The ones who look for something more, who believe in something more, are the ones who turn close games into unforgettable nights. Who transform great players into heroes for all time. And who, no matter what, maintain unwavering faith in the incredible. There are people out there who look at something like hockey and they want the game to matter. So it does.
Oh, mama don’t you cry! Oh, mama don’t you cry!
USA hockey is do or die! USA hockey is do or die!
Take a hockey stick in my hand! Take a hockey stick in my hand!
Go on off to a foreign land! Go on off to a foreign land!
Blais said I’d be a star! Blais said I’d be a star!
USA hockey will go very far! USA hockey will go very far!
Take the Gatorade in your glass! Take the Gatorade in your glass!
We just kicked your FUCKING ASS!
Set a date. Take a vote.
I wish it were that simple. I really do. If you care about hockey – and no matter what you say, if you clicked on this, you still care – you want the NHL lockout to end. You wanted it to end yesterday, or last month, or two months ago. You never wanted it to start in the first place. I understand. Me, too.
We want certainty. We want closure. We want a deal. If your job is connected to the NHL directly or indirectly, your livelihood could depend on it. And if you’re a fan – especially if you’re still a fan now, despite all of this garbage – you have every right to demand it. Your emotional and financial investment is what fuels this business. Without it, they have nothing to fight over. They risk it as they fight over it.
But as infuriating and frustrating as it is, remember that this isn’t about making a deal, any deal, for the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association. This is about each side trying to cut the best deal for itself – the owners forcing concessions, the players mitigating losses. This is about franchise values and profit margins and career earnings and job security. And so they are going to keep staring at each other until they truly believe it doesn’t make sense anymore.
You can argue that they’re getting to that point, or at that point, or past it. I have. I see a deal, or at least the path to one. I think it could get done relatively soon if at least one side is motivated enough. I think it should get done before the season is canceled, because based on where the sides’ proposals were last week, they’re too close for either side to make that sacrifice.
But this is high-stakes poker or low-speed chicken, and it won’t be over until it’s over. The closer they get to the brink of cancellation, the more delicate the situation becomes. One false move, one mistake, could be costly. You can’t force the brink to come before its time, and it’s just not time yet.