Archive for the ‘NHLPA’ Category

There are certain topics that I have a leg up on writing about. Systems, the dressing room, player assessment and a few other things fall under the “ex-player” umbrella. There are other items, however, that don’t quite inspire me to write as many words, like, say, the CBA negotiations. (The players are presenting their counter-offer today, hurray!)


Because I don’t give a shit.

I never cared about the paperwork when I was a hockey fan growing up, I never cared when I was a hockey player that it affected, I just wanted them to get a deal done and tell me the parameters so I could start making assessments like “Hey, under the current agreement that Max Pacioretty contract is a real steal for Montreal.”

I feel that way mostly because of how little any of our opinions matter. Hollering about the nonsense on Twitter, Facebook, or face-to-face with your buddies isn’t going to make Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr go “We wouldn’t normally take this deal that we don’t like, but the fans really want there to be hockey, which we didn’t anticipate, so OKAY WHERE’S THE PEN?”

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Cut the bond
with one you cannot reach!
The best of those who make a bond
Are those who can break it.
- Labid, The Mu’allaqa

There is a traditional form of Arabic poetry called the qasida. It is Bedouin poetry, meaning it was developed in a nomadic society in the time before writing.  It’s the kind of poetry meant to be composed spontaneously in front of a crowd, and was therefore both quite formulaic and flamboyantly unique. The themes were set by tradition, so all the artistry was in the execution, the mastery of rhythm and meter, the potency of the imagery. By modern standards, it’s kind of odd imagery (there’s a lot of camels and date palms), but the elegance of the expression is extraordinary.

Pretty much every qasida is about the absence of love. Not unconsummated love, not unrequited love, but gone love. They all begin the same way: the poet arrives at the campsite of the beloved to find her gone- her people have left, her tribe has moved on, and nothing remains but tent pegs and deer shit. From there it spins off in different directions- sometimes the poet tries to track her across the wastes, sometimes he reflects nostalgically on the time they were together, sometimes he falls into despair and dissolution. But they never get together at the end. He never finds her. There are no happily ever afters in a qasida. There is never any actual love. There’s just the hole in your life where the love used to be.

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