Stumped by the suits

I miss hockey.

I am not the only one.

I believe this, no matter what the media and the Nielsen people say, no matter what Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow do, no matter how quickly all the ice melted.

It is late May, time for the Stanley Cup finals and the buffoon suits – commissioner Bettman and union executive director Goodenow – have silenced the roar that raged for nearly eight decades.

All I have left is disappointment and disgust.

All I have left is Stuart Scott, game-show host.

The television ratings system, which was designed in the 1950s before there was remote control, TiVo – before "Stump The Schwab" for heaven's sake – tells us that many viewers are glad Bettman is an idiot and celebrity bowling exists.

I don't buy it.

I am not the only one who watches "The Best Damn Sports Show" only because there is no sudden-death overtime playoff hockey, which is truly the best damn show in sports.

I'm not the only one with a hole in his sports calendar.

I can't be. Right?

Of course, making matters worse this week was news that Bettman the Buffoon is telling Greedy Goodenow that a labor deal needs to be in place by mid-June or next season could be gone too. Bettman figures that, without sponsors and advertisers signed up by then, there can't be a season.

That makes sense, except for Bettman believing anyone would be dumb enough to advertise with the NHL.

This entire thing has gotten so absurd it would comical, except we're stuck watching "The Sports List," which inexplicably passes off obscure former celebrities (the guy who played Caroline's boyfriend on "Caroline in the City," anyone?) as experts.

It's enough to make you nuts.

Watching Bettman and Goodenow play corporate chicken is like watching Britney Spears and that dude-who-knocked-her-up's new reality show. It is more than just a train wreck; it is simply impossible to believe people could be so stupid.


Bettman is completely delusional and wholly incompetent. Yet he has an ego that would make Donald Trump blush. He seems to really believe he is a genius on the verge of fixing the sport. (Alas, he is not yet genius enough to realize he was the one who broke it in the first place.)

So he torments Goodenow by never compromising on anything.

Meanwhile, Goodenow stands strong as his players' revenue share melts away. Bettman is correct about one thing: The players will never see a deal as good as the one they turned down in February.

Not that either suit really cares. This isn't about hockey. This isn't about sports. This isn't about saving the game, just saving face.

Which is why we are stuck watching college baseball.

As we've maintained all along, until the players and owners who still care about hockey, who still remember what a Game 7 feels like, take control and throw Bettman and Goodenow overboard, nothing is going to change.

It's the leadership, stupid.

But don't take it from me.

"Both Bettman and Goodenow have wasted time and squandered goodwill," Bobby Orr recently wrote in a guest column in the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune. "They now have a responsibility to either lead or get out of the way."

Unfortunately, Bobby, they've proven themselves incapable of leading and uninterested in getting out of the way.

Maybe we can run them over with a Zamboni. Call it "Stump the Schlubs."

I bet we could get good ratings for that.