It sure would be something if Thursday’s fallout in the NHL labor negotiations were made the subject of this week’s opening sketch on Saturday Night Live. Or even an extended segment on "Weekend Update."
This author regrets to assume that the odds are against such recognition for multiple theoretical reasons. One is that the NHL and SNL share a common abode in NBC. Therefore the network might not want to poke fun at the league’s ongoing crisis, let alone the central figures of the mess.
But admit it, hockey fans. You have been waiting since even before the last lockout to see commissioner Gary Bettman lampooned on late-night American television. The sport will have all but made it when that happens—or maybe when SNL does an NHL-related skit akin to its basketball- or football-oriented bits from within the past year.
Even if NBC does, in fact, prefer to play it safe and eschew the likes of Bettman, it might actually do the NHL a favor by keeping the sport on people’s minds during this labor stalemate. All that would take is to select a player, coach or maybe just a fictionalized fan to caricature on "Weekend Update," with the conversation centered on the bizarre ways they are supposedly passing the time.
Maybe we will get a pleasant surprise and find out the lockout is not off limits for humorous, good-natured jabs. After all, Brett Hull made a cameo appearance on "Weekend Update" almost exactly eight years to this date during the last work stoppage.
Or, perhaps, once normalcy is restored, NBC will have the green light to use its sketch program to help amplify the attention drawn to one of its major sports partners.
Regardless, for reasons familiar to any puckhead, Bettman is one figure who ought to be caricatured at some point. Besides him, here are nine other NHL personalities perfect for parody.