Morning Mashup: Silent Still


That horsecrap title’s a reference to the first computer game I ever owned, Silent Steel. It was terrible, and I was enthralled by it. Dubbed an “interactive movie”, it was literally a Choose Your Own Adventure that used filmed segments instead of a cheap little paperback book to tell its story and have you make decisions which guided the plot. The Wikipedia entry literally describes it as “an unorthodox submarine simulator computer game.” What’s an orthodox submarine simulator computer game?

Anyways, it’s a meaningless pun because this meaningless lockout is still ongoing, and nothing is happening, and your Thursday Morning Mashup seems to have become a weekly forum for me to find some new complaint about it. So little seems to have come of last week’s marathon bargaining sessions (aside from a sickening “so close, and yet so far” sensation) that I’m not sure there’s anything really worth noting. So I’ll share some slightly-related anecdotes.

On Monday, I was in downtown Toronto for a meeting and had some afternoon time to kill. I wandered over to the HHOF to watch them prep for the induction ceremony – sadly, without any media credentials myself, so the high point of the day was sharing a crosswalk with James Duthie on his way into Brookfield Place. Access was still wide open prior to the event, so I wandered in. Hung out on the unguarded red carpet, walked around the setup, took a photo for sentimentality’s sake.

At the risk of sounding all philosophical-like, I just sort of stood there for about five minutes and had a good think. I’m sure the event staff wondered if they had a problem/crazy on their hands.

It just felt so strange. Here was the staging of what would be a truly memorable and meaningful night for individuals who’d dedicated their lives to the game and represented it with the utmost integrity. The ceremony was deserved. But even before it began, it felt so tainted.

I know I’m late to the party on this, and plenty’s been discussed on the “should Bettman/Daly have even attended” front. I’m not really going to get into that. In lieu of having something real to talk about this morning, I just thought I’d share the depressingly empty feeling one writer felt seeing what should be an event symbolic of sport-wide pride and yet being totally incapable of shaking the sickening cloud of despair and greed that’s permeated the entire thing. It’s just…surreal.

You want to think something as simple as, “It’s so cool to be standing here.” But the entire thing just feels so…illegitimate. This lockout has become a smear on the very sport, and it’s a cancer that’s undeniably spreading into the very sentimentality that keeps us coming back.

Let me be clear – I don’t mean the induction itself. Those players deserved every modicum of recognition they received that night. I don’t mean the ceremony is illegitimate. I mean, the standing on it is.

We’re supposed to believe that the NHL, the owners – however you want to phrase it – give any sort of damn about sentiment. In reality, they preach the value of integrity and history with one hand while they willingly suspend the game itself on the basis of pure monetary greed with the other. It’s the ultimate hypocrisy.

That’s it. If this lockout ends up having a theme, it will be hypocrisy.

A conversation with a friend earlier this week led to some discussion about just how much the owners knew or suspected about this lockout before it happened. Now, I’m not here to present conspiracy theories. But there’s something fundamentally wrong with the entire idea.

Basically, they’re not allowed to collude against the interest of players when the game is on. They can’t work together to artificially lower player values in free agent season, they can’t conspire against the players collectively, and – like any other business – a signed contract is a signed contract.

But the CBA expires, and suddenly: collusion isn’t only legal, it’s deemed necessary? Solidarity goes from being forbidden, to being a game plan.

The entire lockout is the definition of collusion, isn’t it? I mean, the basic premise is, “We did a bunch of things willingly in competition with each other that we now see as fiscal mistakes and would like to collectively take a bunch of money back.” Am I oversimplifying it?

I’m getting dangerously close to a wandering rant here, so I’ll stop. We all know why this isn’t fixed yet. We just don’t want to believe it.

That would mean accepting the reality of just how stubborn, ego-driven, and greedy human beings can really be. But hey, many of us work for or run businesses that are built on the same principles. So I guess us calling the NHL owners out is technically hypocrisy, too.

The difference is, we have no problem realizing and admitting that.

-Matt Mistele

Thursday morning links:

-DGB has a new Grantland piece about a secret first draft of Bettman’s HHOF induction ceremony speech. It’s hilarious, and written in spirit that’s similar to a few of the posts I’ve done here. Like this. Or this. That’s…neat? I’ll keep occasionally writing MLHS ones if you all promise, one day, to buy my ‘Best of’ book so I can repeatedly Retweet your overwhelming praise.

Top 13 Mats Sundin moments, via PPP. Would be awesomer if the post didn’t use a snap from that horrific, soul-crushing loss to Montreal on Mats Sundin night as a feature image.

-Brian Burk talked analytics on Tuesday. Have we seen this yet? Of course we probably have.

-Via TLN, some are having problems with the physics of NHL ’13. They are, apparently, too entertaining.

-Just when we thought it wasn’t humanly possible, TSN’s daily “yep, there’s still a lockout” post contains quotes from both sides expressing their total willingness to meet amongst other quotes saying they have no plans to. WHAT THE [CENSORED]!?!?!

-Here’s a Kevin McGran/Star piece (with more Burke quotes) about how you draft the right athletes. Sweet Jesus. A June topic given a November headline. Someone, please, end this lockout now.