The following is purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laugh while reading this, while framing this, or while burning this. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Maybe we've been going at this thing all wrong. A player like Chris Pronger attempts to decapitate an opponent, the league acts self-righteous and embarrassed, then suspends said offender in an attempt to clean up the sport's image to a vast majority of people who simply don't care about athletes who wear thin strips of metal on their feet.
Meanwhile across town at the UFC, essentially the same thing happens but this story ends with a victorious champion collecting a belt, a vanquished opponent collecting brain cells and people who run the league collecting mansions.
So, on the one hand we have Â– no rules, lots of money Â– and on the other - lots of rules, no money. Do I need to connect the dots here?
Think about it: the UFC has Cro-Magnon jarheads going at it at relatively pedestrian speeds while the NHL has the potential of monumental collisions at breakneck speeds Â– with padding!
We already know it's relatively safe. They have but three rules (no biting, no gouging, and no litigation) and there has yet to be one competitor seriously maimed (admittedly though, college, for some, is now out of the question).
The NHL insists on keeping a clean image by mandating this respectful on-ice decorum, yet generates all its publicity when someone breaks from the script.
Dave Shultz and Don Saleski whet the American appetite for destruction way back in the Â‘70s and we've been denying their hunger ever since. So, their thirst for blood goes from hockey to the WWE to the UFC. Hockey has been the big-boned girl trying to fit into the little black cocktail dress. It has not only been denying its past but its destiny as well.
The UFC could be knocked off so easily. They have 12 athletes sparring over the course over an entire evening. Hockey can have the same number fighting to submission on every shift.
It's such a natural progression from where we're already headed. The rules change every year, no one sticks to them even when they do change and the Chris Prongers and Jordan Tootoos of the league are already morphing their abilities and showcasing their talents in anticipation of the coming dramatic shift.
Epic Warriors of The Rounded Rectangle Unite. A new day is coming. Let's get it on Â– this time, legally.
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Friday only on thehockeynews.com.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org