I meant to wake up for at least some of the United States- Russia game, I honestly did. However, when all was said and done I awoke tired and drowsy at around noon and had missed the entire game. Buzzing from Canada’s victory over Slovakia, one which was thrilling if nothing else, I was intrigued to see who had become Canada’s main competition. I quickly turned on my computer and headed to one of my favourite sports sites in search of the result. All in all, it took me about 5 minutes to find out that Russia had defeated the US 2-1 in most likely the best game of the tournament thus far. That is because what came up as the headline story disturbed me worse then any New York Islanders third jersey.
The first image that popped up on the website were of two faces that I had tried so desperately to forget. Those would be the faces of Gary Bettman and Bill Daly, who appeared in picture like ghosts from my worst nightmare. Now I would like to consider myself a lockout optimist. Up until recently I truly believed that a deal would get done. Read my earlier article for this site where I outlined why the NHL’s December cancellations where not the end of the world, but in fact probably a positive for the agreement. However, all of the my lockout optimism, and I would consider myself among the most optimistic, evaporated when I heard mention of the NHL and NHLPA going to court.
At that point I lost interest, especially with the excitement of a foreign concept called “live hockey” taking place with the World Juniors. Seeing that headline and banner annoyed me quite a bit. At this point I don’t want to hear anything about the NHL lockout or the NHL for that matter until the dotted line at the bottom of the CBA has been signed and a season is set to be played. The majority of hockey fans feel the same way, which is why it is so frustrating that hockey media outlets continue to make this their main focus. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that this has been a difficult year for hockey journalists. They have been forced to cover everything up to and including Steve Fehr’s sweater choice.
But at the moment, there is hockey, and quality hockey. The World Juniors have so far been an entertaining tournament and have been covered extensively. But I would much rather hear about an equally entertaining Spengler Cup then I would anything to do with a league that has caused me so much disappointment. I understand that they need to cover this, and there is still a faction of the population who are interested in the negotiations. But putting it as a headline on any top sporting website, especially with two intriguing stories from a very important World Junior tournament?
Twitter has been no better. At any mention of the lockout all of my favourite hockey analysts absolutely drop everything and begin to launch their opinions and thoughts. It has led me to unfollow several journalists who were once staples on my Twitter feed. At some point enough is enough in a process that has been as repetitive as any modern pop song. There has been a least 5 or 6 different instances when journalists were reporting that the lockout could be near its end and obviously the bargaining table is still set. I understand this was a major development, that this could lead to the real end of the lockout. But I have heard it before, more then once.
So please hockey media, there is high quality and compelling hockey being played at the moment. Please don’t overcast it with the kind of politics that every hockey fan has become sick of hearing. At least not until both sides shake hands.