Communication Breakdown

by A.J. Coltrane

It’s early in the morning. The local supermarket is mostly empty. I’m standing in line behind a late middle-aged guy, waiting to check out.

As it turns out, the checkout Cashier has the same very unusual name as the Customer’s son. The Customer gets out his phone to show the Cashier a picture of his son with another guy in his late 40’s – early 50’s:

Customer:  That’s my boy, do you know who the other guy is?

Cashier:  No. (I’m peering over there, but it’s a little too far to see.)

Customer:  That’s Wayne Gretzky. My son played pickup hockey with him in Coeur d’Alene. My son’s a goal keeper.

Cashier:  That’s cool. Alright, have a  good one!

(Customer leaves.)

Me:  I used to play with a guy who would always brag about playing pickup basketball with Michael Cooper.

Cashier:  Who’s Michael Cooper?

Me:  Cooper played shooting guard for the Showtime-80’s-era-Lakers with Magic and Kareem? No? He was a long lanky black guy who would shoot 3’s and guard the other team’s best perimeter player.

Cashier:  Never heard of him. Did you know that Drew Brees is from Eastern Washington?

Me:  I didn’t know that. You may be thinking of Drew Bledsoe. I know he’s from over there.

Cashier:  It’s Brees. He’s in Walla Walla. He has a winery and everything.

Me:  …. Huh….   Have a good one!

Cashier:  You too. Have a good day!

——

This exchange took place not even twenty minutes ago.

I can now spell Coeur d’Alene

The Pending NHL Lockout

By Blaidd Drwg

Imagine that, I actually wrote a hockey related post.

The NHL is in line to shoot itself in the foot yet again with another labor dispute. If the players and owners can’t come up with a revenue sharing plan by September 15th, the NHL will be headed for its second lockout in less than 10 years.  The last one resulted in an entire season being missed and it hurt the league badly, such that hockey’s attendance was just starting to get back to its pre-2004 levels in the last couple of years.

The central issue, like every labor dispute in sports is money. The players currently get 57% of the revenue, the owners want to drop that to 48%. In the middle, the fans are the only ones who get hurt with no games to watch and higher ticket and concession prices in the stadia.

You want to know what the problem with the NHL is? This statement sums it up:

The NHLPA believes it can play a part in bolstering small-market franchises such as Phoenix, Florida, and Dallas.

Even Eeyore smiled when Winnepeg got back an NHL team. Why doesn’t the league move a few more teams around to where they will see actual fan support.

Ok, for those of you who don’t follow hockey, Florida’s team is located in Miami. Do you want to know how small those markets actually are? According to Wikipedia, Phoenix is the 14th largest metro area in the country, Miami is 8th and Dallas is 4th . On what planet are those “small market” teams? Heck, the NHL couldn’t sustain a team in Atlanta, which is the #7 metro area in the country. Support was so bad that the team in Atlanta moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, a metro area roughly 1/8 the size of Atlanta and a city probably most famous for lending its name to a cartoon bear.

It is simple – the NHL needs to get out of most of those southern cities. The teams get no support from a huge population base and if you can’t survive in markets with 5 million potential customers, you should be out of the business. The smart thing to do would be to contract a few teams, but the owners and the players would never go for that. Plan B would be to move the floundering franchises to cities where they would be supported. Montreal and Toronto could both easily support a second team. Quebec City is building a new arena with the hopes of attracting another team to replace the long departed Nordiques. Heck, Seattle would be a great place for a relocated franchise, and you have a built in rivalry with Vancouver. Dallas, Phoenix and Miami are not hockey towns, no matter how much the NHL wants them to be.

Of course, none of this really resolved the core issue – millionaires fighting with billionaires over how to split the money they earned from sucking dry the wallets of the average fan.

Hockey Night – Pictures From The 18th Row

by A.J. Coltrane

Pictures from the February 17 game, Seattle Thunderbirds vs Tri-City Americans.

Good photo opportunity - they're holding mostly still.
Another fight. You can tell this one was serious because the refs jumped right in.
They don't skimp on the intermission entertainment!
2nd intermission - throw a puck in the sunroof and win I'm not sure what. It wasn't a car. I hit the inside end of the sunroof. So close.
The penalty box. He looks like he could use a hug.
A fun night all around.

The Last of the Stars from the North

By Blaidd Drwg

Mike Modano, the NHL’s points leader for American born players, finally decided to hang it up after 21 seasons and 1,464 points. Modano is one of the few NHL players that I still recongnize – I haven’t been a huge fan of hockey for almost 20 years at this point and I probably haven’t watched more than a few minutes of an NHL game in close to 10 years. The number of NHL player that I know has gotten so low that I think that there are more kids of players I remember watching in the league right now than there are players I have actually watched play.

Modano has been in the league so long that he actually played for the Minnesota North Stars *before* they moved to Dallas in 1993.