I don't know if the NHL and its Players Union are more concerned with settling their "labor issues" of if they are desperately looking for ways to
keep the NHL in the news so that sports fans do not forget about the league completely. The headline today at CBS Sportsline.com says that the league
and the players are not giving up just yet.
I would hope not; they held a meeting yesterday. Earlier this week, there was the story that they had planned another meeting without Gary Bettman and
Bob Goodnow and that the meeting was to be held in a "secret location." What does that mean? Vice-President Cheney wasn't using the "undisclosed
location" for the weekend? The problem in this dispute is that if I take sides I'll have to be on the side of people who demonstrate human frailties
that I really abhor:
The owners are stupid.
Excuse me; there is no polite way to say that. They have expanded the league into areas where it will not be a "major
contender" for the discretionary entertainment dollars in those areas. And the owners have spent all the money they got from the "franchise fees" with
no plan for tomorrow. This is stupid and it is their own damned fault. In such circumstances, I would always prefer to see them suffer significant
The players are a bunch of hypocrites.
No, I don't mean that they are hypocrites for taking the bloated contracts offered to them; not to do so
would make them stupider than the owners. But they have screeched for two years that there are no economic problems with the league and that they
cannot possibly allow themselves to be exploited by the horrors of a salary cap. Then they turn around and offer to take a 25% pay cut and whittle
away at other mechanisms that escalate salaries. No economic problems in the sport? That offer was pure largesse? I doubt it. And by the way, with
hundreds of the players over in Europe playing for about a hundred grand a year, why is that OK, but it would be wrong to be exploited by a salary cap
that would pay them - on average - about six times more per year?
While the NHL owners are stupid, the people running the Canadian Football League are not. The CFL may not be ready to challenge the NHL in economic
terms should the NHL ever begin to play again, but the league mavens do understand geography. They have winter meetings and this year they held those
meetings in Palm Beach, Florida. At least they showed that they can learn from the behavior of migratory birds and fly south in the winter. Where did
the NHL and its players hold their secret meetings? Toronto -- in January.
The "Terrell Owens Soap Opera" shows no signs of going away. In fact, it appears that it will be a dominant story for at least the next two weeks. So,
to save time and space, I'll just abbreviate it as "TOSO" from here on out. I have to say that T.O. is in a no-win situation, which is standard fare
for central figures in a soap opera. He is being derided as selfish and egotistical for hinting that he might play in the Super Bowl despite the
advice of his doctors. People say he will hurt the Eagles if he does that and that he is putting himself above the team and blah-blah-blah. However,
not two weeks ago, lots of these same sports pundits were chiding John Abraham for not playing in a Jets playoff game when he had a doctor's clearance
to play and he was derided as selfish and putting himself above the team.
Last time I checked, it was the coach of a team who decides who will play and who will not. And that is what will happen with the Eagles. Imagine for
a moment that Koy Detmer declares that he - not Donovan McNabb - can, should and will play QB for the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Do you think Andy Reid
might have something to say about that? Under those circumstances, what are the chances that Detmer is under center for the first snap of the game
with the Eagles on offense? Everyone needs to get their britches out of a knot here; Andy Reid is the one who will make this decision...
If anyone ever questioned Chad Pennington's toughness, give that up now. He does in fact have an arm injury; he has a partial tear of the rotator
cuff. And he played with that for half a dozen games. Many people with that injury go around with their arms in a sling for six weeks while undergoing
physical therapy and living on painkillers; Pennington played quarterback.
The Mets were aiming to be the "Franchise of Choice" for Latin players. However, Carlos Delgado signed with the Florida Marlins and not the Mets. So,
will this give the Mets any renewed interest in Sammy Sosa? If I were a Cubs' fan, I would pray that it were so because Sosa has become discontented
in Chicago and it seems as if at least some of the people in that organization have become estranged from Sammy. And on top of that, it sure looks to
me as if Sosa is well on the downslope of his career.
By the way, has anyone seen an over/under line for when the Florida Marlins decide to do a salary dump and trade Delgado and his $13M per year salary
somewhere else? Delgado's agent, David Sloane, was talking about the whirlwind negotiations that landed Delgado this deal and Sloane was quoted
saying, "If I was going to have a book written about this, it would be tough to choose the author between Hunter S. Thompson and Dr Seuss."
Memo to David Sloane:
1. Write the book yourself. You do know what actually happened, don't you?
2. Your choice might be a bit easier if you realized that Dr. Seuss is dead.
Finally, here is an item from T. J. Simers in the Los Angeles Times:
"The Dodgers signed pitcher Scott Erickson, who is married to Lisa Guerrero, to a minor league contract. It'll be interesting to see which one of them
returns to the big leagues first."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon
[Edited on 1/29/05 by SportzWriter]