baby DGB needs a new pair of shoes.
But there's more labour strife on the horizon, and this time it comes with a much closer timeframe. The NHL's referees and linesmen have been without a contract since August 31, and while negotiations on a new CBA are ongoing there are reports that the league is in the early stages of contacting potential replacement officials.
What's behind the stalemate? Sources tell me that while money is a focus, it's only part of the discussion. As it turns out, NHL referees and linesman have a long list of issues they'd like to see addressed in a new agreement.
My spies have supplied me with some of the officials' demands:
- When we agreed to the clause in the last CBA about always giving 110%, we didn't realize it was referring to our escrow payments.
- We're willing to accept the league's demand that we no longer publicly vow to target Canucks winger Alex Burrows with bogus penalty calls, as long as everyone agrees that we can still secretly vow to target Canucks winger Alex Burrows with bogus penalty calls.
- We don't want to seem like spoilsports, but we're really not big fans of that "everyone in attendance wins one free slice of pizza if the referee takes a puck in the throat" promotion.
- Every time anyone calls a penalty against Tomas Kaberle, they get an angry phone call from his father.
- We're getting a little tired of ignorant coaches calling us blind, when in fact many of our members don't meet the technical standards for legal blindness in several states and provinces.
- Let's just say that it's not exactly fun breaking up fights between Colton Orr and Matt Carkner knowing that one linesman is inevitably about to get 230 lbs of dead weight dropped on top of him.
- We just want the same thing any other union gets: Time-and-a-half for working overtime.
- Whenever we skate onto the ice we can't tell if the fans are saying "boo" or "I hope somebody boo-urns your house down you soulless cretin", although now that we see it written down like that it probably doesn't matter very much.
- We find this whole "mandatory penalty for high-sticking" thing way too restrictive, and would prefer to go back to it being optional like during the 1993 playoffs.
- Hey, just a thought, but maybe when the league feels like taking a break from buying high-def TVs for the video review war room they could invest a few dollars so that we don't have to call them on a phone with a twisty cord from 1983.
- If we're being completely honest, not a single one of us knows what that trapezoid thing behind the net is supposed to accomplish.
- Now that Brian Gionta is apparently going to be named captain of the Canadiens, it's going to be murder on our knees having to kneel down every time he wants to discuss a call.
- Look, we know the media has a job to do, but it would be nice to be able to work just one game without Ines Sainz throwing herself at us afterwards.
- While we understand that the mascot with the hot dog gun is popular with fans, that still doesn't explain why he gets to kick in the door to our dressing room and fire off multiple rounds at point-blank range during every intermission.
- It's been years since any coach was kind enough to offer us a donut.