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Dowbiggin: Nothing to see here, come back tomorrow

To "it ain't over till it's over" we can now add "the collective-bargaining session ain't over because the NHL issues a press release saying it's over." Yes, the league that cancelled the Winter Classic couldn't cancel a premature press release before it snuck out during Tuesday's "other" epic confrontation in America. You know, the one in the undisclosed location. (If they wanted real quiet they should have gone to Mitt Romney Election HQ.)

"Out of respect for the negotiation process, we will reserve comment until the subsequent discussions" said the press release, drawing to a conclusion talks that would go on for another four hours. In the end, the paper version of "nothing to see here, come back tomorrow" was all the real news we got from the first serious negotiations between the sides since... 2005, really.

There were hints that the two sides have miles to go, but that was about all. At least they didn't come out throwing the furniture at each other. Now hockey fans must hope that the momentum continues today. As Wolf Blitzer said about a million times last night, it's too close to call at this hour. But the polls are still open in the NHL lockout.

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Don't know about you but we're grateful that the NHL and NHLPA went omerta so that we could all watch the U.S. presidential election. Remarkable scene as we sat with others at Vancouver airport watching TV coverage of the returns and the hockey news on our laptop using the iPhone as a router. Even more grateful that NBC did the nice NHL product placement showing the results of the federal election on the ice at 30 Rock.

We tuned in for an election and a football game broke out on the U.S. TV networks. There were ground games, handoffs and unforced errors, passing attacks and even Hail Marys. They left nothing in the locker rooms. Candidates spiking the ball. Why not just cut to the chase and elect Mike Ditka?


Talking to a hockey broadcaster Tuesday, currently twiddling his thumbs, who said, "Pro sports owes a debt to the person who invented the PVR." His point, repeated here before, is that sports is the last PVR-immune TV property left. Advertisers looking for a real-time buy opportunity in TV are flooding to sports like hockey to achieve the traditional experience with their customers.

So what would be the most destructive thing you could do if you owned a sports league? Deny consumers the product. Imagine Apple suspending sales of the iPhone because of a labour dispute with programmers. Or Toyota suspending the Corolla for six months in a dispute with distributors.

Yet that's exactly what the NHL has done in locking out its players. At a moment in history when they finally have visibility in a market such as Los Angeles, they have padlocked the product. You can't sell when the shelves are bare. Yet the league and its players seem content that it can restock those shelves when the lockout ends and have business as usual.

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Mind boggling.


Maybe when the lockout ends, Gary Bettman can multitask a bit to earn back the $7.8 million simoleans he pulls down. After all, NBA commissioner David Stern - Bettman's idol - is now mixing a little play-by-play into his eye-rolling press availabilities. Such as Monday night in Salt Lake City ( Just wish the retiring Stern did a "Boom-shakalaka" on the putback by Memphis' Mike Conley.


"@‏dowbboy Nate Silver says a 79-percent chance that Bettman names Fehr to his kitchen cabinet when the meeting adjourns."

"Tom Harrington @‏cbctom Just passed a sports bar. Peered thru the window & was moved to see people were watching - sports. #22USAVotes #election2012"

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Andrew Brandt ‏@adbrandt Think that each state's choice should be announced by Roger Goodell with the winner hugging him and putting on the state cap...


The great Terry Bradshaw "bucket of chicken" controversy is answered. Sunday, FOX's good ol' boy described Miami's Reggie Bush (who is  black) "chasing a bucket of chicken" as the Dolphin running back scored a touchdown. Immediately the calls went out for Bradshaw's scalp... er, his skullet for being racist.

Turns out it was an inside joke about Bradshaw's partner Jimmy Johnson, who eats fried chicken for lunch every Sunday on the FOX set. Terry was joshig him. We know, inside jokes are the worst. And fried chicken can give everyone heartburn when we're not in on the joke. twitter: @dowbboy

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