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The National Hockey League is expected to lock out its players (again) this weekend, leaving hockey fans (again) to cope without their favorite sport, life distraction and quasi-religion for an indeterminable amount of time.
Some will seek the insulated comfort of their hockey cliques, circling the wagons with likeminded individuals to debate Hall of Fame credentials and reminisce about those halcyon days when the NHL could literally go eight or nine years (!) without a work stoppage.
Others will attempt to — gulp — engage non-hockey fans in conversation.
Some of these poor souls, that have yet to let the light of Hockey Jesus shine on their hearts, will no doubt wonder why this work stoppage happened, and ask a serious of uninformed and inane questions about it.
Here is Puck Daddy's Guide To Explaining The NHL Lockout To Your Non-Hockey Friends, which is roughly 1,000-times more applicable to our American readers than our Canadian ones.
Here is a sample conversation between a non-hockey fan and you. Please use is as a template for similar moments of befuddlement and agitation.
• • •
Q. Doesn't hockey know that nobody cares about stupid hockey?
A. No, they're blissfully unaware of this.
Q. I watch ESPN every night and haven't seen anything about this stuff. Are you sure it's actually happening?
A. Unfortunately, yes, but the reason you haven't seen it is because Skip Bayless hasn't found a way to link percentage of League revenue to either Tim Tebow's godliness or LeBron's attitude. Give it time.
Q. Why would they strike again so soon?
A. It's not a strike, it's a lockout. You know, like the NBA and NFL just did? Just like that.
Also, we suspect the owners kind of like it, being that they don't lose as much money by not paying the players and end up getting a crap-ton more of it in the end.
Q. The players should tell them to 'puck off'. Because they play with pucks, right?
A. Clever word play! But the owners would tell them those pucks are a hockey-related cost and therefore the players' share of revenues has to be rolled back to 40 percent to cover them.
Q. What happens to the ice in all the arenas if there's no hockey?
A. It's ground up and made into Sno-cones for underprivileged inner city kids.
Q. What happens to the coaches?
A. They'll still get paid, but some are already lining up work. John Tortorella, for example, has just been hired by the New York City Tourism Board as a crazy person who belittles everything he sees, in order to make the locals seem more calm and reasonable by comparison. Also, Bruce Boudreau has been hired as a model for Weebles.
Q. What happens to the mascots?
A. They'll survive, depending on their proximity to Alyssa Milano.
Q. Didn't the NHL just sign a bazillion dollar contract with NBC?
A. Oh you mean the network owned by one of the team's owners that's giving the league a free $200 million loan to not cover it this year? Yeah, why do you ask?
Actually, I have to be honest: The NHL doesn't actually have a formal national TV contract in the U.S. NBC is legally obligated, under the federal Fair Use Act, to show at least one outdoor hockey game and up to five Stanley Cup Finals indoor hockey games for every new singing competition show it airs.
Otherwise, NHL games are only televised in Canada, which is why you can never find them in your U.S. hotel room.
Q. So they're not going to play the Winter Classic? I love watching two minutes of that every year during commercials on bowl games.
A. Come on, it's football. You can watch the entire second period during the commercials.
Q. I haven't seen a hockey game in a few years. Does Messier still play?
A. Unfortunately, he retired some years back after becoming the greatest captain in Vancouver Canucks history.
Q. Will the lockout keep Alex Ovechkin from breaking Gretzky's goals record?
A. No, he's still on track to catch Gretzky around 2028. It's sick, really. Unbelievable.
Q. The only other hockey player I know is Sidney Crosby. Is he locked out too?
Q. So Sidney Crosby won't be playing hockey this year if there's a lockout?
Q. But didn't he miss most of last year too?
Q. Geez. Does the universe hate this guy or what?
A. I guess so.
Q. What if Sidney Crosby threatened to cut off his hand unless the owners gave into the players' demands? Would that work?
A. No, because either way Ed Snider wins.
Q. Someone said something about escrow this one time. What is it?
A. Basically, the players make money for the owners, the owners hold that money until they make sure there's enough of it, and then they give it to the players so they can buy Halloween candy the following October. It's pretty much the players' least favorite thing ever, after venereal diseases and the handshake line.
Q. Escrow sounds like "ass grow." Like some kind of pill you take to make your ass bigger. I bet Kim Kardashian swallowed the whole bottle.
A. So there's this guy named Dustin Byfuglien...
Q. Don't the players already make enough money? What a bunch of greedy jerks, demanding more money and taking hockey away from the fans that pay for their salary in the process.
A. Okay listen. Never once has anybody decided to take in a hockey game just to make sure the players get paid. You don't pay their salary out of the goodness of your heart. You pay to be entertained, and this contributes to the profits that, eventually, pay their salary. Similarly, you don't give money at the grocery store to make sure the bagger gets paid. You buy a product. And if the grocers go on strike because their employers are offering them an unfair deal, and this act deprives you of a place to buy groceries, you don't gripe about how you pay their salaries so you should be entitled to groceries whenever you want. You just go somewhere else or wait for them to settle their dispute. So stop acting so bloody self-righteous.
Q. What do Canadians do when there's no hockey?
A. It's a dark, dark time for them and they don't like to talk about it. This one winter, there was no hockey, and one Canadian went completely insane. When he woke up, he had invented basketball.
Q. OK, so what will Americans do when there's no hockey?
A. Not watch hockey, as our Founding Fathers intended when they carved up sticks for teeth. No sticks and a full set of chompers … that's as anti-hockey as you can get.
Q. You guys have a lockout, like, every other year. Why do you keep coming back?
A. Because crack tastes so good when it hits our lips. And, frankly, because we all know we're winning the Cup next season. We're due.
(Thanks again to Mooney and Lambert for bringing the funny.)
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