Where to from here? NHL owners and players are going through a period of retrenching and contemplating their next moves. There's word the players are thinking about starting up their own league if there's no agreement in place for next year and the NHL comes back with replacement players.
There's supposed to be a committee of agents to look at an exhibition tour or a players' league.
Good luck, boys.
I don't care whose names are on the backs of the sweaters, hockey fans have shown very little desire to watch NHLers float through another 12-10 game where they laugh and pat each other on the back (see Original Stars.)
Emotion, collisions, edginess ... they are the things that make hockey compelling. They are all noticeably absent from games organized by the players.
"If you've got replacement players playing in Toronto and a players' league down the road in Hamilton with guys like Mats Sundin, Joe Thornton and Jaromir Jagr on the ice, which would you rather watch?" asked agent J.P. Barry (who represents those guys) in the Sun the other day.
Be careful of the answer, J.P.
Given a choice, I think most fans would opt to see replacement players. You think the replacements might be a little motivated? You don't think they will play hockey the way it's supposed to be played?
C'mon, Jagr mails it on a few nights in the regular NHL never mind in an exhibition game.
At the Kanata Sports Club Friday afternoon, where I was a guest on the Hotseat, I asked the crowd how many of them would buy tickets (we suggested in the $30-range) to watch replacement players.
A little less than half of them put up their hands.
Very unscientific, of course.
But you'd have to guess the Senators would probably be happy to have crowds in the 9,000-range for games at the Corel Centre featuring replacement players.