DEVILS IN THE DETAILS: New Jersey and NHL fans everywhere aren’t watching hockey because rich people are fighting over slices of pie. Photo courtesy Mike Stobe/Getty Images

This season is over. I’m calling it, doctor. Time of death: about 4 P.M. on November 29th, 2012.

Maybe it’s just my pessimism overtaking me, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there will be no professional hockey this season. I’m okay with it. In deciding this now, I can come to terms with it.

I don’t need to watch the endless charades go on, both sides bickering back and forth while another professional sports season circles the drain. Let’s pull the plug now and save everyone a bunch of agony.

When the 2004-05 season was officially cancelled, it was February. February! We’re only two and a half months into this labor stoppage and I’m already sick of it. To think we might not even be halfway to the league putting us out of our misery is almost too much to handle.

Maybe you side with the owners or maybe you side with the players associated, but the real question is this: who the hell cares? There’s no good guys here. And neither side, despite what they say, has truly made a good-faith effort to give considerable concessions in an effort to just play some hockey this year.

It’s so bad that yesterday afternoon, federal mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said that any further involvement on their behalf wouldn’t be useful. Federal MEDIATORS! They’re job, by definition, is PROFESSIONAL PROBLEM SOLVER! And THEY gave up on these guys!

So, if they’ve given up, I have, too. Maybe the NHL finds a way to work things out, but I just don’t see it. To me, the unfolding of events, compared to the lost season of ’04-’05, is eerily similar. Federal mediators gave up on them back then, too, and they didn’t deem it worth their energy to get involved again until February.

We’re not just talking about there not being an agreement for another three months, we’re talking about the two sides remaining so far apart that even objective third parties can’t see the common ground.

Now the new idea, in theory, is that the players and owners are going to sit down and have a heart-to-heart without all the executives and lawyers. To the untrained eye, it may look like a creative solution, but I know better. I’ve seen the lowest of the lows from this league during the most recent labor dispute and this latest and greatest idea is nothing more than a desperate Hail Mary.

The deputy commissioner has even admitted this much. Said Billy Daly, “Nothing else has worked. The commissioner felt that we mind as well propose something different.” In other words, the Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, is saying, “Eff it. It’s either this or we all go see Wreck It Ralph this weekend.”

We’ll, so long as we’re throwing out crazy ideas, let me throw out one of my own: give the fans some puck-ing results! If you, the NHL, want to do right by the lifeblood of your organization, you’ll lock yourselves in a room, LITERALLY, until both sides hash this thing out.

Professional hockey is a family and right now the family is quarreling. But rather than just solving the problem, we have to sit back and watch these parties jump through bureaucratic hoops while standing on a treadmill and tell us that you’re making progress.

No. Unacceptable. It’s like I said: the NHL is a family, so let’s handle this fight like any other family problem. Let’s skip the pleasantries, start calling people some names, and finally just tell people how we really feel. Let’s let Uncle Fehr and Grandpa Bettman tussle on the front lawn.

Violent? Maybe, but what about hockey isn’t?

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NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for NHL updates and other shenanigans!

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