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From The Point: The Final Countdown

It's not as though there haven't been any offers. There have been. Unfortunately, the only purpose they've served is to illustrate how far apart Gary Bettman's owners and Bob Goodenow's players are from reaching a CBA agreement. (Heck, there was a stretch of several months where the two sides couldn't even agree whether an offer had been extended, never mind the content of the alleged offer.)

There have been solutions, too, and strategies and proposals and plans, conjured up from every corner of the hockey world, from the desks of the mightiest NHL overlords to the forgotten fans who are discovering their disposable-income options in a post-NHL reality.

There just have not been any meaningful discussions between the two sides who, ultimately, will be the ones to end this puck-less misery. The league's owners and the players' union have had no negotiations of consequence since they rejected each other's proposals in mid-December. The two sides – in their public posture, at least – remain so far apart…well, it passed the point of ridiculousness quite some time ago.

The NHL lockout is a week or two away from killing the 2004-05 season for sure for sure for sure, yet neither the owners nor the players appear particularly interested in a resolution. Oh, sure, there are rumblings this week of a potential offer by the league, but barring a complete collapse by the players' union, there is NOT going to be NHL hockey this season (as any league offer will surely include a salary cap and/or cost-certainty link, which the players have repeatedly refused.) But you knew that already.

So this is what's come to. A last-ditch, out-of-ideas, can't-skate, can't-sing solution.
We're going to try to save the season with song. A dumb idea? Maybe. Probably, even. OK, yes, it's a dumb idea. But it makes as much sense as anything the NHL or the NHLPA have come up with.

When it comes music, a good place to start is the Beatles. And here's what those four young mop tops said 35 years ago about the NHL lockout:
“So you say you want a (CBA solution)
Well, you knowÂ…
Everybody wants to save the (season)”


Wow. John, Paul, George and Ringo really were ahead of their time. But the fact is, the lockout is now way beyond even the Beatles. It has gone all the way to Europe (which, granted is where the Beatles began, but just play along for the sake of this column). It's in Europe, after all, where nearly 350 NHLers are currently playing (that's about half the NHL population). And it's Europe, the 1980s rock ‘n' roll band, that penned the oh-so-timely song The Final Countdown.

Here are the lyrics:

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
“We're leaving together
But still it's farewell
And maybe we'll come back
To earth, who can tell
I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again
It's the final countdown...
The final countdown
Ooh oh

We're heading for Davos (Davos)
And still we stand tall
Cause maybe they've seen us
And welcome us all (yeah)
With so many light years to go
And things to be found (to be found)
I'm sure that we'll all miss her so
It's the final countdown...
The final countdown
The final countdown (the final countdown)
Ooh ooh oh

(interlude)

The final countdown
Ooh oh
It's the final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown (the final countdown)
Ooh
It's the final countdown
We are leaving together
The final countdown.”


And remember: Rock 'n' roll – unlike a league's worth NHL lawyers and player agents – never lies. Just check out a concert at the nearest empty hockey arena by you.

From the Point with Sam McCaig appears on thehockeynews.com. Do you have a point to make with Sam McCaig? If so, you can reach him at smccaig@thehockeynews.com.

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