Play, don’t play: I really don’t care |

Play, don’t play: I really don’t care

Chris FreudOn hockey

The NHL has a real problem.No kidding, you’re saying.The NHL has a real problem because I don’t care that the league could be calling it quits today. I am a hockey nut.When the owners padlocked the doors on Sept. 16, 2004, I thought I was going to have a very long winter. I don’t ski or snowboard. I spend my winters watching sports – primarily the NHL.

Prior to this winter, I had spent the last five years of seemingly endless snowy nights watching hockey on my dish – Hockey Night in Canada, ESPN’s Hockey 2nite and my beloved San Jose Sharks, in particular. I would start tracking my Sharks’ playoff status in early October and revel in their Stanley Cup Playoffs triumphs. (I believe the Sharks beat the Avs last spring in six.)The NBA bores me to death. I really don’t care about college basketball until March Madness. With the NFL done and baseball not starting until April 4, this is when I need hockey the most.Amazingly enough, life has gone on. Professionally, I’ve found myself absorbed in high school sports – Huskies hockey, the emergence of Battle Mountain and Vail Christian basketball, Toby Dawson’s great comeback from a broken foot and the success of the U.S. Ski Team with Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves and our own Lindsey Kildow.On the home front, I’ve occupied myself with copious reading. As a sports editor, I don’t usually do book reviews, but Ron Chernow’s “Alexander Hamilton” is spectacular.

If I need a hockey fix, there’s always my tape of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, when the Sharks mopped up the Avs. On the DVD player, I have “Miracle” and “Hockey’s Greatest Era 1942-1967.” The former is available at Wal-Mart. The latter is a spectacular new documentary produced by a friend of mine – the Daily’s former editor Matt Fults – and in a shameless plug, you can order it from really don’t care that Lord Stanley may or may not be hoisted this spring. The owners made this mess by spending carelessly and now they want to put the cat back in the bag by breaking the players’ union. Not going to happen.The league over-expanded in the last 10 years, lived off the expansion fees and now the bill has come due. The NHL had no intention of playing this season and maybe even next year.I guess it came down to the fact that if the owners didn’t care, why should I?

As a golf nut, I’ve noted that Lakota Canyon in Newcastle has opened. Cotton Ranch and Eagle Ranch will soon be open for business. Pitchers and catchers are reporting. I’ll be filling out my March Madness bracket in a few weeks.After the NCAA crowns its champion (North Carolina), the Giants open against the Dodgers at SBC Park and The Masters will be on the tube. All of these events coincide with what would be the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I’m fine now and am going to be fine then.

And that is why the NHL has an even bigger problem than it knows.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or, Colorado

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