SUN Hockey Pool

Time for a beer cap

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

The players get their say, the owners get theirs, Bob Goodenow and Gary Bettman - when they're not pointing fingers or twiddling thumbs - will eventually have theirs.

But it seems like the largest and most influential partner in the NHL labour stoppage - you the fan - is supposed to be seen and not heard.

The NHL and NHLPA will let you know when the lockout is over, at which time you'll be allowed to rush back and resume throwing money at their feet. Until then, it's "mind your own business."

That's not right. Since they're building a new CBA from scratch anyway, why not throw the fans a bone, a few creative clauses here and there, to make the NHL experience better for everyone.

For example:

BEER CAP: There needs to be a limit on what they can charge for watered-down draft that makes you feel like eels are having a jacuzzi party in your gut the next morning. It's one thing to pay Martin Lapointe $5 million for 25 points and a -5 rating, but $7.50 for beer-flavoured hangover water is just wrong.

SUIT TAX: Every time Don Cherry comes on TV wearing something that looks like it was stolen from Elton John's closet he should fork over $1,000. It's Coach's Corner, not Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.

CLICHE TAX: If fans are paying honest money, they deserve honest answers. So there should be a system of fines for post-game drivel:

"We need to look in the mirror," costs $2,000.

"We have to take it one game at a time." - $5,000.

"I'll take the Benz AND the Range Rover, and throw in some implants for the girlfriend." - $1,000,000.

CAROLINA CAP: A Carolina Cap. Set a limit on teams from Carolina: None. Oops, seems we're one 'Cane over the cap. See ya later. Get out of the league. Nobody likes you, nobody wants you, your uniforms suck and you're boring. And take Anaheim with you. Mighty Ducks indeed.

ARMCHAIR ASSISTANTS: Once a week, season-ticket holders in each city can make lineup changes. If Anson Carter sleepwalks through a week, LA fans can vote him into the press box. If a fourth-line plumber's work ethic makes Ryan Smyth look like Pierre Turgeon, fans can vote him onto the power play. If the moves don't work out, they can vote to fire themselves.

CURTAIN CALLS: Remember how Tiger Goldstick used to say "If that game was being played in my front yard I'd close the drapes?" They should give fans that option. The safety netting should convert into thick, black drapes that can surround the ice. Then, on nights when the home team mails it in or it's a trapping contest and the shots are 7-6 after two periods, fans, with a simple chant, can vote to "Close the Drapes!" Let players know they expect more for their money.

LEAF BLOWERS: Whether it's the schedule, officiating, media, travel, cheap shots, pre-game meals or a lack of crispness in the new 100-dollar bills, the Leafs are never happy. So when the most hard-done-by team in hockey reaches its limit for griping, they have to get real jobs for a week. Parents with whiny children will recognize this as a takeoff on the old, "I'll give you something to complain about."

BROKEN STICK CAP: Four per game, then the next time someone tries a wrist shot and his hi-tech shaft snaps like Joe Theismann's shin, everyone switches to wood and donates $100 to a fund for fathers who've been pressured into buying kevlar composite for their kids.

THIRD JERSEY TAX: Any team that comes out with a third or even fourth jersey donates $500,000 (double if it's mustard-coloured) to Boston so they can burn those hideous Bear sweaters and go back to the spoked B forever. They'll also pay a tax to Chicago, Montreal and Detroit so they're not tempted to cheapen their proud traditions with third-jersey marketing.

IDIOT TAX: Bettman and Goodenow both have to resign. No matter what happens with the lockout, no matter how and when it ends, they're both gone. Get on the train with Carolina and don't get off until they run out of track. Those clowns have done enough damage the last thing we need is the two of them around to screw things up when the NHL finally comes back.


Videos

Photos