Dear NHL, We're Breaking Up

breakup NHL.jpg

Dear NHL,

Let me get straight to the point, we’re breaking up. I’ve tried to stand by you over these last three or four months but I can’t take it. I’m out. I realize I could be the bigger person and say, it’s not you it’s me, but that’s not true. It’s you. All you. But I want you to grow from this so I’m going to tell you why it’s you. It’s a bitter pill I know, but your big enough to handle it and I hold out hope that you can change. If you do then maybe, just maybe we can talk, but not now. Not while you are the way you are. NHL, here’s why I’m leaving, don’t try and stop me.

You've treated me like crap and you can't even apologize. I've been suckered into the Center Ice Package the last two years. Ok, so I went in that first year on a mid-season discount and then it automatically renewed unbeknownst to me but I paid it out just the same. Now you've been gone for a long time, your only bringing me half a season and you only reducing the price 40%. Let me get this straight. You've reduced the season by almost half and you've reduced your price by less than half? That's some nerve. No thanks, I'll be watching Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty. What you should have done is say "Hey 'Merica, we've been right A-Holes for the past four months and seeing as you guys have been awesome, we're giving you Center Ice for free. Enjoy!" Instead your saying "We'll give you 60% of the games for 60% of the price, now shut-up and keep rowing." No thanks NHL, Uncle Si and his iced tea are calling, I'd better get that. 

You’ve got to quit hanging around Gary Bettman. This is a non-negotiable. He’s a tool and he’s bringing you down. I remember last year Gary was telling everyone that there was no way there would be a work stoppage. No way. Don’t even worry about it. Even though a guy named Donald Fehr was representing the players association. Donald Fehr? Remember him, he tried to kill baseball? If it weren't for steroids and chicks digging the long ball he would have. Don't worry about Donald Fehr Gary said, he's a kitten. Guess what? Gary was wrong, so terribly wrong. And for what? The deal he signed with the players was the deal that was on the table two months ago. Gary’s selfish and I used to think that Gary was just Gary and that you were better. You’re not, you’ve been around Gary so much that the two of you have become one. He wanted to take you into southern states, we all thought he was crazy, we told you he was, but you went anyway. Now look at you. Nobody owns Arizona, no one cares about Florida, Dallas and Carolina, and Atlanta packed up and headed home to Winnipeg. Gary was there the whole time telling you southern expansion would be great for you. He told us it would increase your footprint and thereby increase television revenue. He lied NHL or was incompetent or both. He's made Bud Selig look like a swell commisioner. BUD SELIG! As long as Gary's around, I won't be. I’m over it.

You’ve got to remember who you are. You’re a tough, physical game. Teeth get knocked out, bells get rung, blood gets on the ice. That’s why we loved you. Somebody took a cheap shot, nobody cried to the officials, you had guys who took care of that sort of thing themselves. They practiced the dark arts, inspired fear and more importantly respect. Remember Bob Probert, Stu Grimson, and Terry O’Reilly? Those guys were great. But you turned your back on them. You even did it before everyone started flipping out about concussions. Now it’s like couples skate out there. Except of course for that tricky law of unintended consequences, where forwards can rush down on the dump because no one can breath near them and these forwards routinely bomb in unabated and put defensemen through the glass, the boards, and into the ER. Congrats on that move. It's really panning out. Everyone loved the fighting, and physical play, and you know what, it made the game safer.  Now all that's pretty much gone and so am I.

You’ve also got to remember you’re not all that. You cancelled the playoffs in 2005. There should be a panel on the Stanley Cup that says "2005: We were idiots and now don't have a champion for this season. Sorry about that." Four work stoppages since 1992. You were just getting back on your feet from the last one. You remember when we could only watch you on the Outdoor Life Network? I do, that was a bad look. Versus wasn’t much better. You used to have it all, ESPN games, prime spots on Sportscenter, a big four sport. Now look at you. No offense but the years are starting to show. Kids don’t know you anymore. Even after the Olympics last time, they went back to first person shooters and instagram. You need to be playing on TV, a real channel that doesn’t take a program guide and a compass to find. Wherever that is, you won’t find me there.

I tried, I really did and we had some good times. I used to stay up through three playoff overtimes. I went to see you in your natural habitat Canada once. It was awesome. I bought my wife a jersey and even had them sew the Captain's "C" on it. She's taken that designation seriously for just under a decade. I’ve overpaid for tickets, sat in cold half empty rinks because I believed in you. I told all my friends about you. Told them to just "watch a game, you’ll be hooked." I grew playoff beards, invested in throwback logo t-shirts, tirelessly explained what a Canuck was, sat through that abomination you called All-Star weekend. I held my tongue when you decided losing in OT would still give a team a point in the standings. I didn't say a word when you brought the shootout in to decide game.  I watched you block franchise movement in one breath, encourage it in another. I sat through glow pucks, edge jerseys, heated skates, ballistic sticks, and Winter Classics. I can’t do it anymore NHL. I’m starting to see other sports now. I think I could start caring about College Basketball a little. I might even look at spring football/signing day/the draft as an actual season. Maybe I’ll get back with baseball. (Nah, who am I kidding? Any sport that lasts that long and moves that slowly should be on Outdoor Life.)

 We had some good times and I’ll always remember them. You do the same. I would say, “don’t go changing” but I think if you don’t change you won’t make it much longer. Well this is it. Be strong. Don’t you go crying on me, I’ve already moved on, Big Monday is coming up on ESPN, it's a real channel and I don't even need to use my guide. 



Posted on January 19, 2013 and filed under Sports.