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SportsMonday: The NHL's Karmic Comeuppance

The overarching question has to be, will incompetent sports owners and commissioners ever pay a significant price? Will fans ever say, you know, we don't have to give them so much of our money, we could figure out something else to do with our time and resources, at least for the short period of time that would be enough to get their attention?

And if the fans and players ever said screw it, we're all going to go do something different, then you might really get somewhere.

On the heels of the ridiculous scene in Nashville on Sunday, the scenes in the NFL during the past five years and the ridiculousness that so frequently runs rampant in all major pro sports these days, it is way past time for a reality check for management.

I used to try hard to avoid anything having to do with All-Star games except for baseball. And then baseball introduced the ludicrous policy of tying home field advantage in the WORLD SERIES to who won the PATHETIC ALL-STAR GAME. So the last few years I've avoided the baseball mid-season ceremony as well.

But attention must be paid to the story that played out at the NHL's All-Star "game." (It was actually an entertaining three-on-three tournament, or so I've heard - that's another ridiculous part of this deal; the NHL finally came up with a decent format for its All-Star weekend and then ensured it received no attention at all.)

That was where the league's brass at least suffered karmic comeuppance for what truly qualified as its persecution of the big lug, John Scott, who was selected to play in the All-Star game as an inspired, goofy joke. A group of fans thought it would be funny to vote for the league's leading enforcer, a guy who has scored five goals in his entire career but who has also emerged as the game's best fighter. It caught on and Scott ended up leading the voting.

Scott, a former Blackhawk, told his own story in impressive fashion in the week leading up to the game. The lowlight of that piece was that apparently someone from the league office who Scott chose not to name contacted him and said he would be embarrassing his children if he didn't drop out of the All-Star game.

You cannot make this stuff up.

And that was not all - not even close. When Scott, who made it clear he was considering dropping out of the All-Star game for a time, apparently did not do so quickly enough, his team traded him to a team (the Canadiens) that immediately sent him to the minors. That's right: as punishment for not dropping out of the All-Star game promptly, the Coyotes traded him to Newfoundland.

In the end, the hockey gods evened things up and Scott had his revenge. He actually flashed considerable skill in the tournament and scored a couple goals.


When the NHL still wouldn't back off, when it tried to force fans to vote for players other than Scott for tournament MVP on Twitter (by announcing three other players as finalists), the fans voted for Scott en masse. He won the MVP and the minivan that goes with it.


So what can be done going forward? Here's a possible start: the Hawks could tell the NHL that if Jonathan Toews remains suspended for Tuesday night's game in Colorado, they will sit out as well. Just go ahead and call it a forfeit.

Why can't people figure out that the NHL Is trashing Toews' character by suspending him and it is not okay that they are doing so "because there is a rule?" With the suspension they are saying the Hawks' captain, the guy who might be the most respected player in the league, wasn't actually sick over the weekend. They are saying he was faking his illness so that he could skip the All-Star weekend.

As for the fans, well, I know a boycott won't happen, but how about a concessions strike? How about saying that at the next home game, fans will take a break from buying ludicrously overpriced beer to say, You know what, we're not just going to sit here and take it when the league impugns the integrity of our team's captain.

I know, I know, not gonna happen - folks might express displeasure for a little while but they'll still spend massive amounts on games and gear and ensure that the NHL remains ridiculously profitable.

Then again, maybe John Scott's amazing victory is a sign. Maybe it is a sign that if the lovers of sport stay steadfast and finally draw a line against the overlords who would ruin it, good things can happen.


Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

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