OK everyone, skate over here to center ice and take a knee. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started. Welcome to NHL Replacement Player Training Camp.
As you know, reports surfaced this week that the NHL might consider using the threat of replacement players as leverage in this ongoing labor dispute. And while nobody really seems to think it will happen, we have to be prepared. So thanks to all of you for answering the ad we posted in dressing rooms in midnight beer leagues around the continent. Let’s get you ready to be NHL players!
OK, so we need to make sure that you’ll be able to play an NHL-style game. So let’s work on some drills. What’s that? Skating, passing and shooting? Hey rookie, does this look like 1993 to you? No, we’re going to spend the morning on shot-blocking, clogging the neutral zone, and an obsessive focus on positional play. Hey, who’s ready for some dump and chase drills?
Great work, everyone. Well, except for the one guy over there signalling that the dump-ins to the corner should count as a goal. I think you’re looking for the replacement referee camp for the NFL, sir. It used to be next door.
So how do the rest of you think things are going so far?
Hmm… OK, that was actually a test. I just wanted to see what you’d do when asked a simple question, and unfortunately several of you gave answers that were thoughtful and interesting. That won’t do. You guys will need stay behind tonight to take the remedial “How to never say anything interesting ever” course. Those of you who just stared at the floor while mumbling cliches, good job.
I’m sorry, is there some sort of disruption in the back there? Why are some of the players all gathered around… oh for the love of. Mr. Jacobs, I’m going to have to ask you to stop throwing dollar bills at everyone and leave the arena. Yes, I know you saw people who looked like hockey players and you couldn’t help yourself, but it’s very disruptive. Please just stick to handing out millions to your regular Boston Bruins players, days before you orchestrate a league-wide lockout. You know, the usual.
OK, where were we? Oh, a quick note for you goaltenders. We don’t want some hotshot coming and dominating against the replacement skaters, so we’ve taken some steps to ensure that none of you are actually playing at an NHL level. That’s right, all of you will get to spend some time working with Francois Allaire. It was Brian Burke’s idea.
So let’s run down how the rest of the day will go. After lunch we’ll have a seminar called “How to make sure your twitter updates make you sound like a pre-teen”. Then we’ll all head down to the barber to get horrible five-dollar haircuts. And then Jimmy Devellano will drop by with the branding iron.
After that we’ll wrap up the day with… hey! Mr. Leipold, I’m going to have to ask you not to drive your pickup truck full of money onto the ice like that. Yes, I know, you saw the hockey players. But it’s very difficult to run a practice with all those dollar bills you just dumped out at center ice. Don’t you think that it’s maybe a little hypocritical that you… ah, never mind. Just please leave us alone.
Alright, let’s just get started on dividing some of you up into teams. You guys over there, the ones who are holding your sticks the wrong way and forgot to take their skate guards off? You can take these Columbus Blue Jackets jerseys. Everyone who marked down on their application form that they’ll never be available after the first week of April, skate over there and grab your Maple Leafs gear. And you, the guy who can’t seem to skate three strides without falling down for absolutely no apparent reason? Come on over and get your #17 Canucks jersey.
I think now would be a good time to… Mr. Snider, please stop firing rolls of dollar bills at us with the mascot’s hot dog gun! You say that you what? You just signed the janitor to a heavily front-loaded long-term contract? OK, but why are you telling … oh, I see. Well no, I don’t know who you can trade him to. But I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
OK everyone, listen up. I don’t think we can continue this practice, since every NHL owner is currently littering the ice with burlap sacks with dollar signs on them while simultaneously insisting that you hand 24% of it back. We should just call it a day. But I wanted to say something to all of you first.
I know this isn’t how you wanted to make the NHL. But maybe, just maybe, some of you guys will get your shot. And if that happens, it means that someday, somewhere, one of you might get to live the ultimate dream: being the captain of a Stanley Cup winner. You'll stand at center ice, soaking in the cheers, waiting for Gary Bettman to hand you the Stanley Cup. And when he does, what’s the first thing you’re going to do?
OK, all of you who just shouted "Smash him over the head with it" in unison, please leave. Our ad specifically said no fans.
1994 – New York Rangers 3, Vancouver Canucks 2
The memorable moment: A generation of Canuck fans learn that LaFayette is a French name deriving from “La”, meaning “The”, and “Fayette”, meaning “Puck just hit the post oh my lord what did we ever do to make the hockey gods hate us so much”.
From Seventh heaven: When one game decides the Stanley Cup, one of 24 chapters of brand new material available exclusively in The Best of Down Goes Brown.
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