Humpday Hater Report 12-19-12
In case you’re wondering, and would like to jump right to it, the primary lockout-based topics can be found at the bottom, as they’ve irked me the most this week (as usual). But if you are one of those people, I urge you to come back to the good stuff at the top. You just might, or might not, learn something.
Let’s get started!
I never thought Iâ€™d say this, but I wish he was back in hockey. Sean Avery, formerly hockeyâ€™s lovable goon-in-chief, has seemingly fulfilled his dreams of working in the fashion industry. Despite the fun-poking of Paul Steigerwald a few years ago, which Iâ€™m sure cut him very deeply, Avery has landed himself a position at the Lipman agency, an advertising agency in New York City, according to a report last week in the New York Times.
I could only imagine the insight and buffoonery Avery could provide on the NHLâ€™s current lockout situation. And how I could, in turn, spin that smelly substance into gold.
I mean come on! This is the guy who referred to Dion Pfanufâ€™s girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert as his â€œsloppy seconds.â€ You canâ€™t tell me he has nothing good to say about the handling of this work stoppage.
Come back to me, Sean.
Level5 Strategy Group
The Toronto-based marketing group doesnâ€™t make the list directly, but is instead being mentioned because of their findings regarding the NHLâ€™s newfound branding problem in Canada.
Level5 conducted a study, not as a benefit to the NHL, but instead for corporate sponsors of the sport of hockey, and found there were â€œalarmingâ€ levels of damage to the leagueâ€™s brand across the Great White North, according to the marketing companyâ€™s CEO David Kincaid in a story done by Canadaâ€™s Globe and Mail.
Kincaid told the paper, â€œIf anyone thinks the lockout can end and everyone will come back to Happy Valley, it ainâ€™t going to happen.â€
A pretty strong statement when you consider heâ€™s talking primarily about Canadian fans of the sport.
A regular to the list in years past, Subbanâ€™s dirty antics arenâ€™t his ticket back to the Humpday Hater Report this week. Instead, Subban joins a longer list of people who have guaranteed hockey to be played before the end of the season.
In an interview on last Fridayâ€™s podcast â€œMarek vs. Wyshynski,â€ Subban said of playing hockey this season, â€œWe will, we will. Guaranteed we will.â€
What does P.K. Subban know that the rest of us, or the NHL and NHLPA as a whole, seemingly do not? Listen, P.K. In the words of Mike Lange, weâ€™ve seen this fish before. Less speculation, more mediation.
The Toronto Maple Leafs forward was spending his lockout with Russiaâ€™s Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, the whooping boys of the Kontinental Hockey League.
But after the KHLâ€™s holiday break ends, Lupul wonâ€™t be back with the club, saying his heart belongs here, in North America. Iâ€™m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Avtomobilist is 5-21-7, and has only 24 points in the KHL East standings, 44 points behind leaders Ak Bars and Avangard.
Surely it has nothing to do with the city of Yekaterinburg, which I like to call â€œthe jewel of the Urals.â€ Just ask natives like Pavel Datsyuk, Nikolai Khabibulin, Boris Yeltsin, and, my favorite, Miss Russia 2010 Irina Antonenko.
Imagine the sights to see in Yekaterinburg! Everything from the statue of Yakov Sverdlov to the Berlin Buddy Bears and the infamous Keyboard monument (seriously, look it up).
But I guess Toronto is alright, too.
I think I speak for 98 percent of fans when I say â€œYYUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!â€
As if it isnâ€™t bad enough that the NHL is driving away fans via their impractical reasoning and negotiation skills, the league and the NHLPA have engaged in a form of incomprehensible legal banter that most average people canâ€™t understand.
Terms like â€œdisclaimer of interest,â€ â€œanti-trust suits,â€ â€œclass-action complaint,â€ â€œunfair labor practice,â€ â€œvegetables,â€ just to name a few of the foreign words, have been swarming around newspaper columns and TV reports since Fridayâ€™s announcement by the players to disband their union.
As a member of the media myself, itâ€™s my job to understand what the heck those terms mean. But that doesnâ€™t mean I have to like it. If I wanted to learn about law, I wouldâ€™ve went to law school (and probably ended up making a lot more money). But I like my job of not having to worry about said terms. Canâ€™t we just refer to these things as â€œnot caring about our status anymore,â€ â€œI-donâ€™t-trust-you suits,â€ and â€œyouâ€™re-doing-a-bad-job complaintsâ€?
All in favor?
NHLPA Executive Board
Itâ€™s not only hurting my head to consume all these legal terms, the practices are also getting under my skin. I didnâ€™t know who to point my finger at for this monstrosity, so Iâ€™m just going with the board in general.
Look, I understand what the players are trying to accomplish by disbanding the union. By doing that, theyâ€™ll be able to claim in court that lockout is illegal, thus ending this mess. But do they really think that will work? Sure, the league pre-empting the playersâ€™ move last Friday by filing complaints with New York federal court and the National Labor Relations Board is scary for the NHLâ€™s future, but I fear the worst has yet to come.
(Iâ€™ll get to that later.)
But for now, talking about the NHLPA, I respect their move to pull their last punch, play their last hand, make their final charge, or whatever other clichÃ© fits the bill. But the players are going to end up like General Custer charging Little Big Horn. Sure theyâ€™ll fight valiantly, but the league knows the terrain of the lockout far better.
Who is Paul Engelmayer, you ask? He might be the most important man in deciding the immediate, and perhaps long-term, future of the National Hockey League. Engelmayer is the New York City federal judge who has been assigned to the looming court battle between the league and players association, described by Canadian Sportsnet legal analyst Rob Becker as â€œyoung but brilliant.â€ (And by young, he means 51 years-old)
Becker also goes on to say in a report he published on Sportsnetâ€™s Web site Monday evening that Engelmayer will likely â€œsee right through the formality of the disclaimer of interestâ€ filed by the players, explaining that it will be viewed as just another negotiation tactic in what has become a war between the two sides.
Thatâ€™s not just bad news for the players, itâ€™s also bad news for the fans (remember them?). Should Engelmayer grant the case to the NHL, the owners will likely become unquenchably power hungry.
But Iâ€™d rather see the future of the league in the hands of â€œyoung but (hopefully) brilliantâ€ federal judge than in the hands of…
I mean, who else did you think was going to be No. 1?
Let me give you the image that is playing out in my head about the lockoutâ€™s status: the league and owners are the Sharks from â€œWest Side Story,â€ while the NHLPA is the Jets. The two of them are dance-fighting each other with switch blades and slicked back hair.
Bettman plays Chino, and (SPOILER ALERT) is about to shoot and kill Tony, who represents everything for which the players stand. How does he do it? By employing the tactic I implied earlier that I feared he would. We forget that Bettman has the power to full-out cancel the NHL season, and thatâ€™s likely what heâ€™ll do should the players go through with the disclaimer of interest plan.
In other words, anything you can ruin, I can ruin better.
Now, to get back to my â€œWest Side Storyâ€ analogy, we just need someone to be the love interest between the NHL and NHLPA, that will eventually bridge the gap between these two sides so they may lift the mangled corpse of the NHL season and carry it out together.
I read the synopsis of â€œWest Side Storyâ€ on IMDb. Donâ€™t judge me.
That will wrap up this weekâ€™s version of the Humpday Hater Report. Given that next due to the holiday next week, the Report will be posted Thursday, Dec. 27, instead of Wednesday, Dec. 26.
Happy holidays, and, until then, happy hating!