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Making alternative plans
Playoffs or not, a lockout looms
4/11/04 - By Paul Krill

This year's playoffs are a bit different than previous playoffs. Yes, it's nice that the Sharks are in them again, but the fact is, these playoffs may be the last Sharks hockey we see for a long time. As we know, owners are vowing to install some kind of cost certainty, ie, a salary cap, and players are dead-set against it. Pretty much no one is expecting the season to begin on time next year and the consensus among many is next season already is lost.

As far as who is correct in this battle, we all saw Niko Dimitrakos, not one of the league's higher paid players, finish the job in Game 1 while Keith Tkachuk, who is one of the top-paid players, first took a stupid penalty late in the game and then failed to convert on a 2-on-1 breakaway in OT. It is questionable whether is makes sense to pay players $5 million-plus a year when hockey is mostly about team chemistry anyway, not individual star power. The Sharks dumped the two $5 million-plus players they had last season (Owen Nolan, Teemu Selanne) and haven't exactly suffered in the standings, instead racking up their best season ever.

If there's no hockey next season, we'll all miss the game. There's nothing like the thrill of a Sharks victory to cap off the day. But for me, I'll get a break from:

= Rushing out of work to get to Sharks games.

= Leaving my wife home to care for two small children while I go to Sharks games.

= Selling off tickets to Sharks games so I can stay home and help out with the aforementioned two small children.

= Spending lots of money on Sharks games.

There definitely is a silver lining in the dark cloud that surrounds the 2004-05 NHL campaign. If there's no hockey, I'll keep myself plenty busy while players stand united against the owners who have made them fabulously wealthy young men who are the envy of all of us. Maybe I'll even do what I did during the 1994 lockout and catch a San Jose State club hockey game at the frozen Ice Centre, featuring players who are paid nothing.

I believe most fans will do just fine without the NHL and will happily return when the lockout ends, whenever that is. Next year might just be a refreshing break for all of us.

Contact Paul at at

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