Volume 93, Issue 24

Wednesday, October 13, 1999


Western defeats the Warriors

Mustang hockey checks back in

Midseason sports begin

NHL: In the 1990s it's not the same acronym anymore

NHL: In the 1990s it's not the same acronym anymore

NHL now stands for Never-ending Hypocritical player/management Law changing association – and this new name truly represents what the league stands for in 1999.

Never-ending. The two word phrase is self-explanatory and puts the epic that Atreju and his mud sinking horse made to shame. Oct. 1 was opening day for the league and it will be well into spring before we see one team lift Lord Stanley's holy grail to the sky.

The schedule includes 84 games and playoffs which can last as long as the regular season, for a total of eight months. Why is it so difficult for the NHL to let go and crown a champion?

The strike-shortened season of 1995 was some of the most exciting hockey the league has seen this decade. For once, every game mattered and players were fresh for every period. One would think with all of the injuries plaguing the league's talent that Bettman and his cronies would put their swelled heads together and do something.

These athletes are not machines and unless the NHL starts allowing Autobots and Decepticons to play, mere mortals will not be able to take the punishment.

Hypocritical player/management. In these economical times of multimillionaire athletes, hockey players and their bosses are leading the way in the prestigious art of hypocrisy. From management crying poor in their business operations to players crying foul in various contract disputes, there is more blubbering currently going on in the NHL then at a Beluga whale convention.

Do they all really think the media and the informed ticket buying public feel sorry for either party? This is a game, not a suit and tie, nine to five office job. These are men who get paid millions to play games - a Canadian pastime which has been exploited well beyond its early shinny origins. Between festering egos and a coldness rivaling the frozen surface they play on, players and management will continue to disease the game from the inside and sadly, the real victims will be the fans who pay for it all.

Law changing. The past decade has seen a constant "tinkering" in various game regulations. The rules of hockey are what keep order and consistency in the league. With that said, why has there been more game play and officiating changes in the past 10 years than in the first 100 or so?

Some of the favourites have included "four refs on the ice to make sure the whole game is one power play" and "if you start a fight, you'd better get a lawyer instigator rule," as well as the game momentum killer "big toe in the crease, no-goal rule." New to this season is the "four on four overtime breakaway contest" rule which should make a mockery of any overtime record currently stored in the Hall of Fame. Change is good, but enough is enough already.

The National Hockey League and its sport remain dear to every Canadian's heart and as hosers, we tend to expect a lot from them. However, the above is not an exaggeration of the state of the game, but is a situation which is projected to get worse as we enter the next century. So although Never ending Hypocritical player/management Law changing association is a mouthful – get used to it – it's going to be around for a long time.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999