Do the hockey fans a favour and cancel the NHL season

"Even in an age of over 100 channels on our TVs, I’m beginning to run out of channels to watch."

Even in an age of over 100 channels on our TVs, I’m beginning to run out of channels to watch.

Granted I probably only tune in to about 10 of the cable offerings on a daily basis but even that number is dwindling.

Why? Because it seems every channel I turn to, there are talking heads beating a topic to death, talking about it 24 hours a day when there’s nothing new to talk about.

I’m tired of the Americans’ non-stop debate about their political leaders, the fiscal cliff and partisanship.

But I’m even more tired of the NHL lockout, the daily updates and the experts trying to decipher some news and talking points out of nothing.

With all due respect to Trail’s own Ray Ferraro, I guess to earn their pay they have to talk about the NHL even when there’s no NHL to talk about.

But when one of the top stories on the CBC national news is to report that there’s nothing new in the NHL lockout, that’s when I knew it was too much of a bad thing.

Elliotte Friedman might be a nice guy and works well on Hockey Night in Canada but I don’t need his umpteenth comment on the lockout stalemate right after I’m told about the horrors in Syria and the global recession.

Frankly I don’t care if the NHL comes back this season.

The league has such a long, drawn out schedule that I really only get interested enough to watch an entire game when the playoffs begin.

Even then, after the first round, the NHL prefers to space games out to accommodate American viewers that I don’t even bother watching a third-round matchup because the game is scheduled for a Saturday afternoon in May.

I’m proud to call myself a Canadian but watching hockey on a Saturday afternoon in May is not my idea of our national past time.

Listening, albeit briefly, to the commentators explain the ins and outs of contract negotiations is sometimes quite funny because many of them are just repeating the same thing over and over.

It’s like a soap opera. You can watch it once then tune in three weeks later and pick up the story line right away. The only difference is soap operas viewers are more dedicated than many NHL fans and the plots are more plausible.

In a world where division seems to reign when it comes to most topics, you can certainly find a lot of agreement on the NHL lockout walking around Trail.

Neither side deserves what they already have. Most fans agree people should boycott games to send a real message.

But if there is a bright side to the lockout, it makes hockey fans appreciate what we have right in our own backyard.

Friday night’s Trail Smoke EatersLangley Rivermen matchup at the Cominco Arena was a perfect example of the entertainment we crave when we watch a hockey game.

There were end-to-end rushes, great saves, a penalty shot, overtime, cold beer and a hometown win.

Add to that a crowd of young enthusiastic fans and the smart move by referee Mike Boisvert for punting two players from the game for their premeditated fight and the night proved to be a bargain for my entertainment dollar.

There was no bickering over contracts. Players and management didn’t parade out their respective mouthpieces to try and explain to the loyal fans why they’re not playing.

And above all else, there was no panel of experts who spend the next two hours telling me that nothing happened and nothing will probably happen tomorrow either.

I’m disappointed in the laziness of the sports networks when they don’t have the NHL to fill air time.

Instead of expanding their hockey coverage by broadcasting some college or more AHL games, they prefer to fill the air with soccer highlights from Europe.

Sure soccer is a popular game worldwide but I don’t see the TSN panel discussing the latest player movement in the Premier League.

It would be an opportunity to showcase more university sports, maybe even televise some top-flight women’s hockey games.

But that isn’t what this is about. Talking about nothing is the reason cable news and sports exists.

How else can you explain CNN talking about an election for four years? How else can you explain a 24-hour NFL network when teams play a handful of games a season?

The talking never ends until I hit the remote.

And that seems to be my best cure for solving the entire NHL mess.

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times

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