A couple of podcasts ago (you know...October), Tyler said that he figured I was lapping this lockout shit up. I bitched at the time that I was getting tired of it (and maintain that I was), but man if Deke wasn't right. The negotiating process was and still is frustrating, but I haven't been able to turn away from it like I wish I could have. Now I find a startling realization: I'm actually a fan of this shit.
I'm absolutely disgusted at the thought of it, but there's no point in denying it anymore. I wish I could walk away like Petrella over at The Production Line did yesterday. I'm pissed off that it happened and I'm sad that hockey drove him to that decision, but mostly I'm jealous that he can do that and I can't.
I realized this about 11:30pm on Friday night as I read through the .pdf of the NHL's filing against their own players. I still don't fully understand the filing, but I know that I want to and I know that there are a lot of questions that this filing raises about the possibility of an NHL decertification/disclaimer of interest and the future of North American sports. We've seen the threat these lawsuits loom powerfully enough to end lockouts in both the NFL and NBA. Based on "the script" being followed, I think that the likelihood remains that this is the beginning of the endgame to getting a CBA completed between the NHL and the Players Association.
But there's also a chance that this is really just the end of the beginning, that the trial runs in football and basketball were a setup to use hockey to redefine the landscape of sports labor law in North America.
Honestly, at this point, this thought might actually interest me more than a 48-game regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs. If there is going to be a season, it's going to be a mess of a sample size and, no matter what happens, is going to lead to a dissatisfying conclusion with an unengraved asterisk scarring yet another portion of the Stanley Cup. Of course if the Red Wings won it, I'll probably get at least a week of not giving a shit about that, but it would always be in the back of my head as a sad truth I simply wish weren't there.
Even worse, the specter of the unresolved lockout script created by Proskauer Rose will linger over sports. I'm worried that there's no resolution at this point which leads to both a season being played and the confidence that this won't happen again sooner or later.
So, I'd kind of like to see that resolved. Hell, more than that, I'd love to see it resolved with gusto. What I'm rooting for is that this all gets settled and the end result is the burning husk of Proskauer Rose being paraded through the streets while the fucking shitheels that make up that particular firm openly lament their pending sentences to the 8th and 9th Bolgias in Hell's eighth circle.
Ok, I know that won't happen (lawyers gonna lawyer, afterall). Thinking more on it, it's probably the polar opposite of what I truly wanted to have happen: a full, uninterrupted hockey season. Neither of those things are possible now.
What worries me is that there's no reason to believe that Proskauer Rose doesn't want this situation to end up in a lengthy legal battle. Why wouldn't they? By all sane assumptions, they're going to get paid handsomely if this does go through. What's more is that they get to be the law firm at the center of an incredibly interesting legal case. What do they have to lose in this? The NHL as a client? Too bad; I guess they're just going to have to take comfort in knowing that two bigger leagues, the NFL and NBA are eternally grateful to have such a set of questions answered and will be all to happy to keep around the law firm with the greatest inside understanding of how it all came to be and the biggest head-start on planning ways to adjust to the changed landscape.
So if I really want to root for the interesting-yet-painful legal process, I have to root against the people who would bring me my favorite sport at its highest level and I have to root in favor of an outcome which either unfairly punishes the players for whom I root or indirectly mercy-kills 100 or so of their jobs playing professionally in markets that I insultingly don't see as an affront to the very game itself.
Or, I can root for a joke of a season played under the cloud that sooner or later, I'll probably be back to doing this again in a matter of years.
And it's all because I simply can't force myself to stop following this joke.