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June 6 - Just Do It

And another page is torn off the calendar. That ticking noise you hear is two-fold.

Let's start with the NHL: We are now into June and there is still no agreement between the league and
the players. Training camps for the 2005-06 season are scheduled to open three months from now and,
if the league wants to realistically start the season on time, a CBA needs to be signed by the end of this
month at the latest.

Why? Well, teams need to sell tickets (since I'm sure they haven't collected a single cent for tickets yet).
And the league and the teams need to sell advertising and sponsorship sales. And free agents need to
be signed. And a draft needs to be held. And those are only the front line things that need to get done.
There is also scheduling, travel and other logistic arrangements, training camp plans, etc.

So what is taking so long. Wasn't one season being cancelled enough? Hasn't everyone lost enough
already? Not only has the public basically yawned at the loss of hockey, but ESPN now has told the
league "sayonara".  There will be NO TV revenue for the NHL this season. Not from ESPN, not from
NBC, not from any other network they might negotiate with. None. Zero. Zip. Just the lint currently in the
leagues pockets that has amassed over the last year. ESPN has drawn equal rating with in-house
programming and college sports like softball and underwater basket weaving.

There is no more time for posturing. The owners have won this battle and the sooner the players suck it
up and deal with it, the sooner we can all move on and maybe watch a hockey game. The players have
no leverage and it is time for them to understand that they already had the chance to sign the best deal
they could get. Of course, that was four months ago, back in February, when everyone thought this whole
mess was getting settled.

So, now, just get it done. Just sign the papers and let's see if hockey can regain any bit of relevance.
Just do it.

Now, on to the New York City Stadium mess: After months of posturing and delayed votes, the state
funding today was turned down. It isn't officially dead, but the West Side Stadium looks like it is big
trouble. And with that, so is New York's bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

Just this morning, a report came out from the IOC praising New York's bid. They aren't the favorite (that
goes to Paris, followed by London), but are a definite contender. Of course, the entire bid is tied to the
Stadium getting built. And today, that took a major hit.

I know New York City residents are not overwhelmingly in favor of the Olympics coming to New York, or
for the Stadium to get built, but the positives for it getting built outweigh the negatives. As a city
recognized as "the Capital of the World", there is a distinct need for a world-class stadium in the
Manhattan city limits. Right now, the only stadiums in the area are Yankee Stadium (thirty years old,
minimal luxury boxes, terrible parking, located in the Bronx), Shea Stadium (forty years old, so-so luxury
boxes, located in Queens and a minimum 30 minute subway ride from Times Square) and Giants
Stadium (located in New Jersey, only public transportation is buses on game days with long lines and
major traffic delays). The money generated by the new stadium, in the long run, will more than pay for
the public funding needed to build it. So will the wages paid to those jobs it creates.

The negatives? Traffic on the West Side? Yes. State funding that can be used elsewhere? Yes. What
else is there?

And the Olympics in New York? I love the idea. If a city like Athens can pull it off, think of how exciting
those two weeks would be in New York. The world would be looking at New York expecting only bad
things based on the Big Apple's international reputation. New Yorkers, of course, know differently and
this would be a great opportunity to remind the world how great this city really is.

Now, though, this all seems like a longshot to happen. The state has put the kibosh on the stadium.

Come on, state. The Governor wants it. The Mayor wants it. Use common sense. Just do it.