Not surprisingly, I have given up on hockey. When they decide to get their acts together, I will come running back, but with the election, economy, and craziness of my personal life, I just do not have it in me to follow this garbage of a situation. With the election finally over, I have a little more energy to feed into petty bickering that currently makes up the whole of the NHL, but I still do it from the safe place of cynicism and of expecting nothing. Hockey is supposed to be a source to let all the frustrations of the day out, not add to it. It is a chance to focus on something that does not resemble my day to day struggles.
Lately, my day to day struggles take the form of arguments that I would rather avoid, or difficult conversations. Again, I hope this will fade with the election. It seems to me, and I am also guilty of this, that people comment on things that they know little about, and never really listen anyway. This is more frustrating for an educator. Not shocking, people only hear 25-50 percent of what is said to them. Whether or not we remember it is a totally different story. To add insult, I find that many times we aren't even really arguing about the same thing. The 2 opinions are not opposing of each other, they exist on a similar, but separate level, and trying to get someone to see that is like asking them to kill someone (although I think that might even be easier). I have made a commitment to getting better at recognizing this, but man is it hard when the other side is unwilling to do the same.
Such is the NHL and NHLPA. With millions of businesses who depend on the NHL as a source of income crumbling around them, they get nowhere while enjoying their billion dollar bank accounts. At this point, I find no prediction to be valid. The 2 sides just met for a few days straight, more than they have down since this got started, but I am still left without a sense of hope. Who knows, maybe they are right around the corner to an agreement, or maybe the 4 days of talks are just another house of cards.
What I can happily report on is the success our guys are having around the world. Most are leading their respective teams in point production, but some are also playing in lower level leagues. Kane is doing well in the Swiss Elite League, scoring 2 goals and notching 5 assists in his first 3 games. I look at this as a commitment to hockey, and hopefully a productive future for the young superstar.
The most promising of news comes from Stalberg, who is averaging more than a point a game in the Swedish Elite. In his first 8 games, Viktor notched 6 goals and 5 assists. This is very promising, and I am sure that he is itching to get back to the NHL. The lockout is maybe most hurtful to a player in Stalberg's situation, who was primed and ready to burst into the scene.
Frolik is in the Czech Republic and has 13 points in 14 games, which is good enough to be the leading scorer on the team. This lockout might even have been good for a player in Frolik's position. Hopefully, he has found his scoring touch again, and the confidence to let it translate to American hockey.
There others around the world. Hjalmer just left for Italy, Bickell is in Austria playing below his talent level, and so is Oduya in Thailand. It was thought to have been a joke when Johnny Oduya signed on to play in a tournament there.
I hear talks of a shortened season as a possible future for the NHL. While it stinks that it had to happen this way, I can see it working out well for the Hawks, and it would make for a healthier playoffs. Here's to getting the chance to see what Stalberg has to offer this year, and if Frolik can find his groove as a Blackhawk!
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