The NHL lockout is a man-made catastrophe with many victims. Montreal poutine vendors, Boston bar-puke moppers and Vancouver glaziers all stand to take a bath this year without the NHL stimulating the local eat/drink/smash economies. Even a third-rate alleged professional league such as the NHL keeps several dozen people employed across North America. I say this as someone who once wrote a co-wrote a story about hockey: These days We Are All Despondent Canadians.
Most of us have the decency to respond merely by cultivating our drinking habits in silence. Then there's Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo, whose column this week, "A cautionary holiday lockout tale: ‘How The Greed Stole Hockey!'" is the obvious fruit of a mind set upon itself, of a man cursed by excess time and wall-clawing, heart-cannibalizing hope. The disclaimer at its open reads: "(Note from Saint Nick: With apologies to Dr. Seuss. Don't take this too seriously!)" This is an essential line, because if we did take it seriously we would—well, we don't know. The phrase "frantic live-saving hero mode" might apply, and no one wants to contemplate that.
The "Greed" in this story is a stand-in for "Grinch," who in a different modern classic "stole" Christmas (but then he gives it back! (belated spoiler alert)). In Cotsonika's telling, the Greed aims to destroy the entire hockey season because of … sumbitch, do we need to spoon-feed you? The Greed is called "Greed." Here are some choice passages:
Down in Fan-ville
Liked Hockey a lot …
But the Greed,
Who lived just south of Fan-ville,
The Greed hated Hockey! The whole Hockey season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his game was baseball or basketball.
It could be, perhaps, that he was jealous of football.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that he thought his wallet was too small.
After months of pointing fingers and trading proposals,
The sides came to New York, the biggest star at their disposal.
The Greed seemed in trouble, for who could it be?
Not Cindy-Lou Who – but Sidney Crosby!
But even with the help of his owners and agent,
Crosby could not keep it from blowing a gasket.
He went back to Pittsburgh asked the big question: "Why?
"Why aren't they even talking now? Why?"
But, you know, that old Greed was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, we aren't close at all!" the evil Greed lied.
"When you hear that we're close, that's only one side.
"So there's nothing to talk about. We'll go to the brink.
"Maybe we'll cancel the season, or someone will blink."
And as if the Fans needed more reason to hate,
That dastardly old Greed would not give a drop-dead date.
In this tale, the Greed ultimately fails to steal hockey, because hockey is bigger than the NHL and it turns out people realize they don't really give that much of a shit about the NHL (ongoing spoiler alert). We don't have to take it too seriously, because the allegory here is that greed (not, say, humanity-arsonist Gary Bettman) is to blame for the lack of beer on the table at the homes of Winnipeg Zamboni drivers. If you want something toothy enough to name names, you'll have to read Harrison Mooney's "Gary Bettman, Commissioner of Christmas: A Puck Daddy original holiday poem." It has drawings and rhymes. It's kind of awesome. But someone drop a puck for Yahoo already.