The end has come, the lockout is officially here. While most fans were most likely hopeful that a deal would have been reached, I would say that most of those same fans were a bit pessimistic that anything would be accomplished by the September 15th deadline. I’m sure that most would have been more positive that we would have a deal by now, however no one (especially those at the negotiating table) has forgotten the last lockout. It was pretty much inevitable. And when it comes to labor negotiations, people tend to have very long memories. For example, my mom is a retired teacher. 33 years ago, her local union went on strike. No one who was around back then in her small community has forgotten that to this day. Now while her local faced later frustrating negotiations, they never went on strike again, as it was too stressful for all involved in the community. However, this possible work stoppage in the NHL comes across more as a bunch of billionaires and millionaires whining about things the rest of us “real” people would love to whine about.
However, there is a tiny bright spot. While it does nothing to reassure fans that the league owners and the players’ union will get their collective heads out of their behinds, it is a mere 30 seconds that can lift one’s spirit. And considering how abysmal the future of this season looks, I’ll take 30 seconds of levity. This spot of humor comes from the crew at the Twin Cities all-sports station KFAN 100.3FM.
In this spot, we see a face that has become familiar to Wild fans, that being head coach, Mike Yeo. He’s in his second home of the Wild locker-room. However, instead of standing in front of professional athletes ready to hit the ice on opening night, he is facing a sad-sack group of middle aged Twin Cities radio sports personalities, that he needs to get prepared to talk about hockey again. The group comes across as either completely incompetent or simply disinterested.
The first group of “players” addressed are the trio from the Power Trip Morning Show. The three on the bench doing everything but looking like actual hockey players remind me of the classic image of the three monkeys that portay “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” On the left is Cory Cove who is just sitting there looking like he’d rather be elsewhere. Former Minnesota Vikings long snapper, Mike Morris, sitting in the middle is at least looking at his hockey stick, albeit not in a true hockey player way. The kicker is Chris Hawkey on the right. He’s sitting there picking at his feet. However, considering the style of their morning show, there locker-room behavior shouldn’t come as a real shock.
The next “player” that Yep must confront is the radio voice of the Minnesota Vikings. Now for Twin Cities sports fans, no one would be shocked that Paul Allen, aka PA, would show up in a Vikings’ t-shirt. Now if the Wild locker-room wasn’t so nice, they should have had PA checking out one of the thoroughbreds from Canterbury Park there with him. Yeo has to remind PA (while trying to keep a straight face) that it’s “hockey season not football season.” In a quick change, we then see PA fully outfitted in a Wild jersey and helmet complete with a half shield. The irony however, is that there just might not be a hockey season.
Then we have one of the more “controversial” personalities from KFAN, Dan Cole otherwise known as Common Man (and sometimes just referred to as Common). He’s the person that people either love or hate, you know, like coconut. I’m of the “hate” variety, as I just don’t find him particularily humorous. I’ve been told by some that I’m simply not “smart” enough to understand him. Clearly, Yeo in this spot isn’t expecting much out of Common, as he is told by the coach that he’s nothing but a gadfly. And considering Common’s schtick, that’s an apt description. The best part though is the highly confused look on Common’s face. To help Common, Yeo calls in a substitute, that being Brandon Mileski. Mileski serves as Common’s producer and just so happens to actually know a thing or two about hockey.
Yeo quickly moves on to the last member of the sports talk team, former Minneapolis Star Tribune writer, Dan Barreiro. Barreiro’s role on KFAN is a bit more involved than his counterparts. Besides the obvious of talking about sports, he delves in more to news and current events. His airtime is that crucial 3-6:30pm slot, where people are returning home from work. He combines all the sports updates with what has happened during the day that you may have missed (well depending on your workplace internet policy). He also has fantastic connections, and can pretty much call anyone in the Minnesota sports world (both past and present) and get an interview. Because of these connections, Yeo’s task for Barreiro is to get Lou Nanne on the phone, which he appears to do right away.
However, the best part of the entire 30-seconds is when the team runs through the beautiful wood doors with the Wild logo on it. Yeo had just given the “team” the parting pep talk of “let’s talk some hockey.” Standing just outside those doors is the Wild beat writer at the Star Tribune, Michael Russo. His job is purely to cover the Wild, unlike the crew at KFAN. As the team leaves the lockerroom, you see Russo jotting some notes in his notebook, saying to himself with a look of disbelief on this face, “this team has no shot.” All that was missing from the ad as a whole would have been Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid serving as assistant coaches as Kevin Falness as the equipment manager.
It is now obvious with how things went down yesterday (meaning no negotiations took place), that this season pretty much has no shot. It’s hard to say whether or not anyone at the league offices or the players’ association really care how things go down now. We as fans now just have to wait until they get their collective (insert expletive here) sorted out. Well my dear fans, time for you to pull out your home improvement lists. You’re going to have time to get all those tasks completed before the next NHL puck drops.