The NHL’s epic labour fail grinds along with a numbing familiarity. Yet new wrinkles are unfolding in social media’s impact of the stalemate. Saturday night, New Jersey Devils right winger Krys Barch picked up a glass of his favourite beverage (“8 OV deep and starting a bottle of Porte”), sharpened his muse, and then vented on Twitter in a series of tweet-rants that sum up what it’s like to be part of the grunt element losing money this fall.
“No different than a truck driver, farmer or line worker, I have a shot and a beer,” the rugged six-year NHL veteran announced. “… I have made it through sweating, bleeding cut Achilles, broken hands, concussions, broken orbital bones, 8 teeth knocked out, etc. etc. etc.” With his two sons sleeping and his pregnant wife nearby, Barch wonders about his chosen profession and being a man out of time “when a word and a gun solidified and solved all problems.”
Then Barch asks if the owners “have endured any of the injuries that I or any other player in the NHL have endured.
Still, they probably sit their smoking the same brand of cigar, sipping the same cognac and going on vacation. To one of five houses they own. While we sit here knowing they want to take 20 per cent of our paychecks. One half to 3/4 of my peers will have to work for the next 50 years of their lives.”
After congratulating the “lucky select few” colleagues who are independently wealthy from hockey, Barch turns his critique on the NHL’s business plan (echoing National Hockey League Players’ Association head Don Fehr, no doubt). If the NHL wants to keep failing franchises in the south, Barch tweets, it needs to work with players to do that. “Or they need to start to move teams to the North where they still make money ... The only way to stop the work stoppages long into the future is fix the root cause of the problems.
“The lockout is a procedure to take from the players to pay for the NHL mistakes. Let not allow the NHL to make more mistakes.”
Barch urges a deal that can have fans “sitting around in beautiful Canadian falls around a fire playing and watching the game we love.”
Barch signs off, “Here’s to the truth and our next conversation ... like me or hate me I speak what come from my heart!”
This cri de coeur from a guy who wasn’t “a 1st round pick, bonus baby” is an authentic voice, one unheard in the 2004-05 lockout. And it’s why one prominent agent told Usual Suspects that owners can win by attrition this time, but it’ll take at least a year till Barch and his brethren bend.
The Ryder Cup was again compelling TV viewing as the Euros improbably came from a mile back to keep the Cup. Give NBC credit. Even as the Americans bellyflopped, its hosts and analyst were professional and even-handed. They rode the Euro comeback story, didn’t protect the Americans and played it (more or less) straight.
Surprisingly, NBC analyst Johnny Miller was somewhat muted compared to earlier Cups. Miller still had plenty of zingers, but he seemed to lose his edge when the ebullient Colin Montgomerie popped by the NBC booth. Monty’s honesty about Europe’s earlier face plant seemed to take the sting from Miller.
When asked by Dan Hicks of NBC Sports if he’s a fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Montgomerie tartly asked if the NBC boys were hanging on the cricket test results from India. Thanks to Hicks for his constant apologies concerning profane language from the players, thereby confirming our suspicions that what we thought was swearing was in fact an F-bomb.
Sunday morning, British musician Billy Bragg channelled his London Olympic opening ceremony tweeted: to ward off the U.S. lead. “Watching the golf from America, when the locals chant U-S-A! U-S-A!, we should respond with N-H-S! N-H-S!”