To say that the lockout has caused unrest in the hockey fan's life is an understatement. By now, hockey has done this to us enough times that we shouldn't be surprised or stunned. In our hearts though, we all wanted to believe that the powers that be wanted labor resolution as much as we did. False.
It's certainly easy to be upset with either side, but honestly examining the facts should leave us upset with both. The players have to concede what is necessary to make the NHL work as a business model. The ownership has to recognize that the business model for a sports league is unique to the business model they may have used to acquire the fortune used to purchase their sports franchise. The variable that isn't accounted for in the ownership part of the equation is the inability to regulate and negotiate their own contracts.
On the eve of the lockout, literally hours before the expiration of the former collective bargaining agreement, there were reports of contracts being signed and extensions being given to players. Can the owners be saved from themselves even when the lockout is resolved? I understand that all owners make their money in other venues and must have some sort of business acumen to be in the position to own a major sports franchise. How then can they continue to put together legally binding contracts that aren't cost effective to running their business?
If your head is spinning and you're ready to just turn on the KHL like me, then there are a couple of games that are fun to play that can be used to make the tedious press releases more fun.
In my younger years playing considerably less responsible games, we would use adult beverages and typically the most potent to engage in these games. Ahh yes, the days of drinking King Cobra, Mickey's big mouth or the malt liquor du jour to correspond with a movie or television show. The kids today have beer pong, which seems fun in theory, but I'm more inclined to consume a libation at my own pace these days rather than entrust my fate to a ping pong ball.
If you young sparkplugs are looking for a drinking game that can correspond with the labor negotiations here are my suggestions to you:
- A__hole: Tailor-made for hockey's favorite little power-hungry troll. The key players in this game are the President, who has omniscient powers to regulate and make the players drink on command. Substitute Bettman for president or the other name (which seems more appropriate) and Donald Fehr for the other title character. To make it more hockey-appropriate, you can include beverage rollbacks with a random percentage and of course revenue sharing to make the procuring of said beverages fair and equitable for all parties.
- Quarters: This game is played with the owner of the quarters used for game play providing the game venue, the refreshments, uniforms (if necessary) and promotional/marketing for the quarters game. Before the game is set to begin, the host takes everything off the table, pulls the plug on the entire event, and then cries poor that they can't afford to keep having parties like this.
- Edward 40-hands: In all seriousness, this could end the labor dispute if Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman played this game head-to-head. They each are seated at a table and a 40-ounce bottle of beer (malt liquor for more fun) is duct-taped to each hand. They are required to finish the contents of each 40-ounce beverage before they can be untaped. The results of this will be that both negotiators wet themselves, get sauced up and strike a deal to avoid soiling themselves, or embrace the situation and become some incarnation of "Frank the Tank". Everybody wins.
- Beer Pong: This game has evolved from my time in college. What used to be one cup of beer on the table during a spirited game of ping pong is now six cups filled with beer, no paddles and tossing the ball into the cups. In the NHL version, the table is set up, the players are ready, the ball is chosen, the beer is selected and just when it's about to be poured...."You don't have to go home, but you better get the _____ up outta here!!" yells the bouncer. Any guess what his name might be. You guessed it, rhymes with Mary Gettmen.
- Toasts: I promise there is drinking involved in this game, and Bettman won't show up to lock you out. This game requires three or more people at a table with a single bottle of liquor, or Hawaiian Punch (the red kind if you're feeling frisky). You go around the table raising a glass to toast anything and everything and drink your shot each time. The NHL version requires you to mention what you love about Gary Bettman. You have 10 seconds to come up with your Bettman toast or you drink a solo shot. Good times!
Now some of you who have a moral compass that has just been completely annihilated, please get over yourselves. I am not encouraging anyone to drink, get drunk or anything of that kind. In fact most of these involve not drinking because Gary Bettman always show up to ruin the fun. ESPN3 has the KHL in limited quantities and you can also find it here.
So raise your glass of V-8 or some other healthy alternative that the NHL season comes sooner rather than later. Don't worry, the commissioner won't show up to take your drink. He's busy golf.....er, negotiating the future of the NHL. Bottoms up and as always, enjoy now!