Monday, January 31, 2011

Today shall be an off-day for hockey fans

The distraction/some people can go days, weeks, even, without hockey: I'm not one of them. I'm watching a mix of Lord of the Rings, All-Star Game replays and my Firefly DVDs to distract from the fact that there are absolutely no NHL games on tonight. Zip. Zilch. Diddly. It's just wrong. But 12 more hours and all will be right with the world once again.

Get well soon: No sooner had Portland Winterhawks fans swallowed the news that Oliver Gabriel (signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets over the summer) was undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, than we learned today that Captain Brett Ponich (signed with the St. Louis Blues last year) will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. He may also be done for the season.

The Tri-City Americans are indeed bad luck: Brett suffered that injury during a Tri Cities game on January 18.

Injured players, no hockey games, what's a girl to do?: Well, I guess I could try to cover this rule:

NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 16: League Schedule; Playing Rosters; Reserve Lists; Practice Sessions.

16.5, Restricted Days. (a) No NHL game, practice or travel to a city other than the Club's home city shall be scheduled on the day prior to Christmas Day. Christmas Day shall be an off-day for al purposes, including travel, and no Club may request a Player's consent to play on Christmas Day for any reason. No NHL game shall be scheduled on the day after Christmas Day, except an NHL game that is to be played against a Club where the average scheduled flight time between the cities involved would not exceed two and one-half hours.

(b) No NHL game, practice or travel to a city other than the Club's home city shall be on the day prior to the All-Star Game. The day of the All-Star Game shall be an off-day for all purposes, including travel, and no Club may request a Player's consent to practice on the day of the All-Star Game for any reason.

Morals of the story:

The game: Somehow I don't think the NHL figured in what qualifies as "average scheduled flight time" during the blizzard-o-rama that is blitzing the Northeast every other weekend or so. Because if they did, then this rule would have to include another section entitled "airport weather strandings" in which they outline what the league can and can't ask of players who are trapped in Dulles Airport, for example.

Life: Did you notice that, thanks to technology, people don't really go on vacation anymore? They take a "working" vacation in which they check email, answer voicemails and never really disconnect. If you want to take a real vacation like the good old days, you have to leave a message that says "I will be in a third world country studying the mating habits of rare birds and therefore unreachable by cell phone or Crackberry, please call my assistant if you expect to get any business done today." That's why we need this rule for Corporate America. No work, semblance of work or attempt to work shall take place on the day before an employee leaves for vacation. A vacation shall consist of 5 or more days in a row, which will be off-days for any and all reasons. On the day of the employees return, no employer may request that the employee actually work or do anything resembling work. The employer may request an exception to this rule, but they are advised that no employee who is properly self-medicated will agree to it.

Next up: Article 16, Practice Sessions, Game Times, Travel Requirements, Single Room Accommodations.

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