One of the major differences between this NHL lockout and the lockouts that occurred in 2004-05 and 1994-95 is the advent of Twitter, giving teams, media, and players a direct conduit to fans. The NHLPA has encouraged their constituents to communicate their frustration with Gary Bettman and the owners through Twitter, to the point that many of the player accounts seem completely homogeneous.
There is one player’s Twitter account, however, that will always be completely and utterly unique: strombone1. The all-but-verified account of a certain French-Italian-Canadian netminder for the Vancouver Canucks is an endless source of bizarre non-sequiturs , love for reality TV, and an obsession for literal toilet humour, generally at his own expense.
No other NHL player would start a hashtag full of terrible pickup lines entirely making fun of himself. The pseudonym’d Roberto Luongo distracted hockey fans nation-wide from the lockout with the #StrombonePickupLines hashtag and the results are ridiculous, hilarious, and frequently filthy. Be forewarned.Continue Reading —›
Okay. Canucks versus Stars. But first some real talk (NSFW link).
I was really hoping that we would only be writing the “I Didn’t Watch This Game” feature until the end of October, but while I was putting this one together, the NHL cancelled all games through November 30. Granted, I’ve expected this since the last offer came in, since I suspected all along that the last two weeks have had nothing to do with real, meaningful negotiations. You can’t even say that at least the two sides found a middle ground at 50/50, as some are saying, because the NHL’s offer was hardly a real offer. Here’s what I believe happened: the NHL’s 50/50, 82-game-saving offer was a Trojan horse. They knew full well that it would be rejected. But it looked good on paper and online; it made them look conciliatory and helpful and, a day after their focus group had been leaked and two weeks after they cancelled the first block of games, this was necessary way to get inside the players’ P.R. fortress.
By setting up a situation where the league looked interested in saving the full schedule, then letting the players inevitably reject it, the NHL effectively restaged the cancellation of that first block of games and had people re-experience the frustration, this time with animosity directed towards the unyielding union. In short, nothing happened these last two weeks except a perfectly orchestrated ploy to win the P.R. tug of war ahead of today’s batch of cancellations. Here’s Bill Daly’s statement on the cancellations, which basically gives the whole plan away:
“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.”
I suspect that, if Bill Daly’s son was Max from Liar, Liar and today was the day after Max’s fifth birthday, this statement would be very different. If I weren’t such a diehard, these last two weeks would be enough for me to walk away from the game forever. Unfortunately, I am a diehard, so it pains me to no end to say that I didn’t watch this game.Continue Reading —›