Silver lining

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

If you are like me, reading anything about negotiations to end the NHL lockout makes you want to yank a few hairs, bang your head against the nearest wall and turn the page.

With that in mind, please don't do any of those things over the next few paragraphs.

Sometime in the next month, it's very likely the NHL and its Players Association will come to a new collective bargaining agreement.

A season will almost certainly be played in 2005-'06, and it looks like the NHL will be much, much better off than it was a year ago.

There will be a strong drag on salaries, significantly lower payrolls and quite possibly positive rule changes that improve the flow of an increasingly-boring game. It will be an affordable league, the kind of financially-responsible loop people hoped for a decade ago when the Winnipeg Jets were getting set to fly south.

So, tell us again why the lockout was a bad thing?

DEVILS MAY CARE: A New Jersey congressman wants the New Jersey Devils to change their nickname because of its immoral and anti-religious nature. This from the state that brought you Tony Soprano. Besides, if they did a flip and became the Angels, wouldn't they have to be the New York Angels of a Parking Lot Near Newark? ... Juan Gonzalez returned from a season-long stay on the disabled list to take one at-bat with the Cleveland Indians before aggravating his hamstring injury and going back to the DL. Because he's so injury-prone, two-time MVP Gonzalez is only making $600,000 this season, but if he only takes one at-bat that will be a per-appearance salary not even A-Rod can match ... Mike Remlinger broke his finger in a recliner, Carlos Zambrano injured his elbow by over-using his computer and Mark Prior broke his elbow on a line drive. Isn't it remotely possible that Steve Bartman has taken up voodoo and is targeting Cubs pitchers? ... First the CFL goes back to a lousy football town (Ottawa), then it hands the reins of the Renegades to two of the biggest nitwits who ever pretended to own a team (Gliebermans). What's next from the league's deep thinkers? Put all the CFL's money in the Crocus Investment Fund? ... Big mouth Roy Shivers wants his team to try to break ex-Saskatchewan quarterback Henry Burris's neck this year. This guy's comments are so out of line, he should be making videos for the San Francisco 49ers.

TAKE MY WIFE, PLEASE: News arrived this week that since he was unable to make a comeback in the NBA, Dennis Rodman will now turn his attention to the annual wife-carrying world championship in Finland in July. Since no one would actually stay married to such a lunatic, Rodman will have to borrow a wife for the competition. Tune in next month for a dude in a wedding dress carrying Roseanne Barr. Or perhaps the other way around would be funnier ... Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox wants instant reply to be used in baseball, but only on hard-to-judge home run calls. It's believed Cox only wants limited replays for fear someone will show him one of the Braves playoff appearances over the last 10 years ... This is not the nicest thought, but with the way the Goldeyes are playing and unless the Blue Bombers wildly exceed expectations, that final Manitoba Moose playoff game might be the last one we see around here for a very long time ... Just to add insult to nearly 40 years of injury, the Toronto Maple Leafs couldn't even win the Canadian Press fantasy NHL season. They lost 4-2 to the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup final played on EA Games NHL 2005. The Leafs had an excuse for this one too. They blamed the loss on the fact that their star player had two sore thumbs.


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