Thursday, October 25, 2012
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - At the Negotiating Table with the NHL and NHLPA
Better bring an extra pair of man-panties before reading this one.
Good morning hockey fans! Last week we tore open the fine print of the NHL's offer like a patent lawyer in heat. This week, thanks to the twin powers of illegal eavesdropping and irresponsible journalism, we've got an exclusive, Donald Trump-esque transcript of the NHL/NHLPA's latest talks.
But be forewarned! The following is not for the faint of heart, the elderly or MILFs who may be nursing.
Two groups of impeccably-dressed men file into a conference room from separate doors. Both groups have stern, weathered faces, refusing to make eye contact with the other side. As they take their seats across the table, icy stares and low grumbling fill the room. Once everyone is seated, a middle-aged man with an intense gaze stands up to address those present.
Donald Fehr: "Gentlemen. Owners. I think we all know why we're here. With just a few days left, the pressure on both of our parties has never been greater. To-day is the day we both put our best foot forward, and see what we can do."
(Nods of assent on his side, rolled eyes and shaking heads on the other. A small man in a mortician's suit stands up on the other side of the table.)
Gary Bettman: "Thank you for stating that Donald. I agree that this meeting, today, will be our last chance to get this critical task accomplished. Let's begin, shall we?"
Fehr: "Absolutely. Henrik, could you dim the lights?" (Zetterberg dims the lights) "Ah, good. Since we called the meeting, we'll go first."
(Fehr drops a stack of papers on the table in front of him. After liberally dousing it in lighter fluid, Fehr starts tossing lit matches on the pile. Despite his best efforts, the paper does not catch the flame.)
Fehr: "What the hell?"
Bettman: "Are those copies of the 2005 CBA? I told you, those documents are so vile that flame dares not touch them. Here, use these."
(Bettman hands Fehr a stack of handdrawn letters from six year old fans asking him to bring back hockey. A few seconds later, the entire room is enveloped in a warm, orange glow.)
Fehr: "Ah, much better. Good thinking, Gary. Anyways, let's begin." (clears throat, brings face up to fire and looks around the room ominously) "It was a dark and stormy night. On a dare, a group of teenagers agree to spend the night at Old Man Snider's place, which --allegedly-- is haunted." (pauses for dramatic effect. Hears Craig Leopold gasp) "Yes... haunted! Some say by Old Man Snider himself. Legend has it that anyone who spends the night at the old barn wakes up the next morning with 24% of their brain missing and--"
Fehr: (angrily) "You've got something to say, Gary?"
Bettman: "That old story was just as lame the first time we heard it. I've got something waaaay scarier."
Fehr: (leans back in his chair, folds his hands behind his head) "Ok, tough guy, let's hear it."
Bettman: "There once was an old, abandoned hockey rink, just sitting there, rotting, in the middle of town. It was all boarded-up and behind a fence, but even the local kids didn't try to go inside. It was really that haunted! Also, birds and animals avoided it, so much evil did it emanate. One day, a dashing young hotshot lawyer from Cornell came to town, to visit some supermodel lady friends he had. Seeing the dilapidated old building, he asked a nearby old janitor what had happened to cause such an eyesore. The old man told him that, many many years ago, the city had a thriving hockey team, one the entire city was proud of and supported financially. But then one day, the players started getting larger and larger contracts, until even the fourth-line goons and healthy scratches were clearing more profit than the poor owner--"
Bettman: (startled, coming out of his reverie) "Excuse me?"
Fehr: "L.A.M.E. As in, 'not scary, do over, try again."
Bettman: "I thought it was extremely scary!"
Fehr: "Nope. Not scary. Moving on."
Bettman: "But look at Jeremy Jacobs! He's over there crying!"
Jacobs: "I'M NOT CRYING!!" (leaves, crying. Several men on the players' side snicker at the urine stain spreading across his expensive pants)
Fehr: "Like I said, lame. Anyways, time's a wastin', we've got a deadline here, gentlemen! Here we go: after you hear this story, every one of you in here will be running to the bathroom covered in your own piss. Ahem!" (brings face closer to fire, does 'scary eyebrows' thing) "Now, I'm warning you: this one is extra scary because it's true. Now, I heard from an archeologist friend of mine that some places --including this very building-- are built on ancient Navajo cemeteries. But rather than spend all that money digging up the bodies, the construction workers just pour the cement over the graves while laughing. All those dead people can't hurt them, right? Well, hundreds of years later, things start happening. Strange things. Unexplained things. Things that even scientists admit they don't understand. In fact, in this very room --why, it was exactly one year ago today-- a man was in this very room, working late into the night, when he heard a noise behind him. He turned around, but there was nothing there. So he continued working. He was all wrapped up in his work until he heard the noise again, this time even closer. He turned around as fast as he could, but whatever had made the noise was gone. So he took a deep breath, and started working again. Not even a minute later, he hears the noise again. This time, he refuses to turn around.. even though the noise is right behind him! He feels a tap-tap-tap on his shoulder, and still doesn't turn around to look at it. He feels something cold and clammy on the back of his neck, but still doesn't turn around. Then he hears a ghostly whisper in his ear, 'we will not honor any existing contracts, including the ones you signed minutes before the lock--'"
Fehr: "GodDAMNit, Gary!! I was just about to get to the scariest part! Why do you have to be so immature!?"
Bettman: "I'm not immature, you're immature with your stupid stories that aren't even scary."
Fehr: "Oh, and I suppose your stories are so scary then? They wouldn't even scare my mom."
Bettman: "Liar! They totally would!"
Fehr: "Alright, that's it! This meeting is over! Henrik, the lights!" (Zetterberg flicks the light switch back on) "I guess YOU don't care if this is the worst Halloween ever!!"
Bettman: "Fine by me! We've got lots of scary stories! Craig Leopold's got one where he picks up two tall, attractive hitchhikers and--"
Fehr: "Don't want to hear any of your unscary stories, lame-o! C'mon, guys, we're out of here!"
Bettman: "Lame-o? Lame-o!?! Oh, yeah, well, uh--" (Fehr and the players leave the room, which suddenly gets significantly quieter) "--you're the lame-o, dorkface."
Tom Gaglardi: "So... that's it then? This is how the NHL conducts business?"
Bettman: (excited) "Pretty cool, right?"
Gaglardi: "I think we might need... a new person in charge of scary stories."
Ed Snider: "I liked the one about the haunted barn that eats brains."
Bettman: "Quiet, Ed. The big boys are talking now."
Snider: (sheepishly) "Oh. Sorry."
Bettman: "Well, let me go outside to tell the world the bad news. There are a couple of Canadian reporters with their heads to the ground trying to listen through the crack at the bottom of the door. Maybe they'll think my abandoned rink story is scary!"
Muffled Voices From Underneath the Door: "Nope! Heard 'em all before!"
Bettman: "Nooooo!!! This is the worst hockey halloween ever!!"
That's it for this week's eye-opening Cupcheck. Tune in next week when we do in-depth analysis of the Olympic basketball re-runs they're showing on ex-Versus instead of hockey. The resemblance to actual sports may surprise you.