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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters following labour talks, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in New York. (Louis Lanzano/AP)
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters following labour talks, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in New York. (Louis Lanzano/AP)

DAILY GRIND

Dowbiggin: Brief moments of sanity enter the insanity that is the NHL lockout Add to ...

Sometimes, if you close your eyes real tight, you can almost believe that the interminable racket called the NHL lockout is reality. Thankfully there are days like Tuesday to remind us just how demented the process really is.

To set the scene, the NHL Players Association had just filed another tweak of the NHL’s last offer, one it deemed significant at the same time the NHL declared it so much fish wrap.

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With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the midst of his patented “This isn’t good enough” lecture for the assembled media, a hockey fan named Jaymes Hall of Lancaster, Pa., crashed the scrum to ask his own questions of the Commish. When Bettman realized the agitated Hall was simply the kind of unwashed minion you fly private jets to avoid, the commissioner said, “You’re not credentialed media. I think it’s unfortunate and unfair to these people (gesturing to the numb press corps).”

Hall fired back, “I’m a fan!” A fan... oh, right, those people. Damn.

This blinding revelation seemed to briefly flummox Bettman, who quickly recovered to have Hall cut out of the herd to a safe spot where the commissioner could turn the Condescension Ray on him. Hall, semi placated, got in his five cents, apologized for his intrusion and then decamped with several of Bettman’s homilies to the working man ringing in his ears.

The players were not spared, either, as veteran Washington defenceman Roman Hamrlik reached the breaking point in the Czech Republic. "I am disgusted,” Hamrlik told Daily Sport. “We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost [one-quarter] of the season, it is $425-million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr?” Hamrlik added Fehr should step down if the season is cancelled.

Hamrlik was quickly hushed by Montreal’s Eric Cole who said Hamrlik was ungrateful for the sacrifices of others, forgetting Hamrlik has had the honour of being locked out three times now so Bettman can fine tune the NHL’s business. The NHLPA quickly strung up the yellow “nothing to see here” tape around Hamrlik and moved on to discuss decertifying or ordering sushi. We’re not sure which.

And so ended another perfect day in the labour life of the NHL. One thankfully blessed with two brief moments of sanity.

Tweet Nothings

@dowbboy With lockouts more frequent, NHL missing big sponsorship opportunity. Sell “official sponsor of the NHL lockout”. Could bring major $.”

@SpectorsHockey@dowbboy This #NHL Lockout brought to you by Weiser Locks. Keeping players and fans out of NHL arenas, since 1994.”

mc79hockey ‏@mc79hockey@dowbboy I can hear the guys on TSN now, talking about the KRYPTONITE NHL lockout.”

Brian P-C ‏@dowbboy‏@1791bpc@dowbboy@SpectorsHockey Actually I have 2 middle fingers that have “official sponsor of the NHL lockout” in small print on them.”

All aboard

Perhaps it’s the historical theme of the 100th Grey Cup Game that explains why the CFL used 20th-century symbols to promote the big game. How else to explain the Grey Cup train, commemorative coins and stamps to mark the centennial contest?

To anyone under 50, trains, stamps and coins sound more like high school clubs from the 1950s than a way to promote a game in the iPhone reality of 2012.

There is one, count ‘em, one passenger train a day in the West, where the CFL’s base lies. In a city like Calgary you could ask 100 people and none would know where the train station was (they’d know the airport, however). Even then, the narrow aisles of the train could only accommodate a few hundred people an hour when it stopped in cities.

Stamps? Hello, it’s called email. And coins? Going the way of the abacus.

Commissioner Mark Cohon stressed when he took over the job that he was going to reach of out to the younger generation of fans. But the low-hanging fruit of promotions with government or crown corporations was obviously too tempting to resist.

Justin Bieber? Great. Trains, stamps and coins, not so much.

This just in

Speaking of the halftime show, how come the NFL was able to announce its halftime Super Bowl lineup for February six weeks before the CFL announced the Bieber coup for November? Sources tell Daily Grind sponsors who bought into the Grey Cup halftime were not amused at the short promotional run-up time compared to the NFL.

Personally, we’re looking forward to that Justin Bieber/ Gordon Lightfoot mix tape.

FORE!!!

Now that’s a long drive. Jamie Sadlowski, the Albertan who is current long-drive champion in the golf, stopped by the studios of Golf Channel to show off his pipes on their simulator. But nothing could have simulated the outcome.

dowbboy@shaw.ca / @dowbboy

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