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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fly on the Wall

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a silent witness to the NHL labour meetings? Little progress has been made so far, and many wonder why they cannot agree on a compromise. Well, the two sides will supposedly meet again this week ,and here's the Red Line take on what may happen.

Bettman: "So, Bob, you're looking well, have you lost some weight recently?"

Goodenow: "Why thanks, Gary. I may look a little slimmer, but I haven't really lost any weight. I'm actually testing a new product line called the 'Girth Guard'. It's great! You put this thing on like you're shrink wrapping a BLT. It holds all the flab in quite well."

Bettman: "Great! Product testing is a fabulous idea, I'm doing it myself. The product I'm testing is called 'ACME Ear and Geek Reducer'. It's supposed to get rid of the unsightly facial features that define geekdom. Keep in mind I'm in the first phase of testing."

Goodenow: "Well, first phase or not, Gary-O, you're lookin' like a confident babe magnet."

Bettman: "Wow thanks, Bob. Maybe after the meeting we can hit Studio 54. But for now, shouldn't we get down to some business here, Bob? I think that we may be running out of time to strike a deal here. Oh, wait, my watch says February 8, that's not too bad at all. Wanna get some lunch instead?"

Goodenow: "Well, I'd love to but I told my wife Trevor that we'd at least talk about a luxury tax. But not just any luxury tax, this one's different. It functions like a luxury tax and has virtually no punitive effect on restraining salaries, but on paper we will call it a luxury cap. What do you think?"

Bettman: "I'm intrigued here, Bob. Do we get fries with that?"

Goodenow: "I don't think the union would go for that."

Bettman: "Even still, I like where you are going with this concept. So let me see if I'm understanding you correctly. What I'm hearing from you is that you will unconditionally accept a hard cap at $21 million dollars, give us a 69% rollback in salaries, allow every team to take a player to arbitration at any time, have the player wives bake cookies and serve tea at all NHL functions, and ceremoniously perform a daily homage to the NHL and all its glory by reciting 'God bless the owners' at centre ice before practice. But instead of calling it a cap system, we will call it a luxuriously wonderful season saving deal sans cap. I like it."

: "Erm, Gary, I didn't say that at all. You of all people should not have a hearing problem. What I said was we would accept a luxury 'cap' if it's totally, in no way, linked to anything other than the rate of construction of Starbucks outlets."

Bettman: "Bob, my ears are not big. I'm small ear challenged and I'm trying to provide you with a graceful exit to this nasty strike of yours. Insulting my physical features is uncalled for and now I'm taking guaranteed contracts off the table and we will make a league-wide switch back to Cooperalls."

Goodenow: "The only thing you could provide grace to would be the cover of the Operation Dumbo Drop DVD. And it's not a strike, Gary, the NHL locked us out you twit. If you take guaranteed contracts off the table we have absolutely nothing to talk about. Noting at all. I'm finished speaking.....By the way, did you catch that Super Bowl last Sunday?"

Bettman: "The NHL locked you out? I never got the memo. And comparing me to a the world's most popular and lovable elephant is not an insult in my books. Ask Arthur Levitt, he's been in my books."

Goodenow: "Gary, this is your last chance. Accept our latest deal now or all of our players are going ditch the NHL entirely and sign-up for the Eastern Pacific Old Timers and Railroaders Hockey League. And then what will you do without us hmmmm??"

Bettman: "Arkgalak Qapla' putaQ Ruskalacktoiakc!!!"

Goodenow: "Stop speaking Klingon you freak!"

The first punch is thrown with many more to follow. Curious sounds erupt from the board room, much like the sounds of the Tasmanian Devil on a rampage. During the fireworks, not one punch actually hits either man. But at the end of the meeting, the walls are in need of some patching and a fresh coat of paint.

After each man tires, they agree to keep the lines of communication open.


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