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Campbell's Cuts: Hockey has bigger problems than song controversy

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

I haven’t been this upset about a television show’s theme song since Gilligan’s Island changed “and all the rest” to “the Professor and Mary-Ann.”

Really, this is terrible, Hockey Night in Canada losing the rights to its own theme song. I’m sure the general populace in Canada is almost as outraged as it was a couple of years ago when Ron MacLean couldn’t come to terms on a new contract.

There will be the predictable protests and screams of outrage and passion from people who feel something sacrosanct is being irreparably damaged. If some of these people channeled their energies on something like this to something…let’s say, a little more relevant…like say, helping the homeless, I might have a little more patience for what is about to become an endless debate.

Face it everyone, it’s a song. That’s all it is. If I were a Maple Leafs fan, I’d be far more upset that - until rival CTV purchased the rights to the song - the CBC had hired Gord Kirke to mediate the dispute between the network and the song’s creator. If I were a Leafs fan, I might just think this ballyhooed “search” for a GM for the Maple Leafs is pretty much a sham. After all, if Kirke is spending his time refereeing a dispute over a song, how can he be searching for a GM for the Leafs?

If I were a hockey fan – and I am – I’d be a lot more concerned about some of the things that are going on around the game than whether or not I’ll be able to hear The Hockey Theme next season when I watch hockey on Saturday night.

For example, I’d be more worried about where the game is headed from a financial standpoint. With the salary cap going up as high as $57 million next season, there are reports at least 12 teams will lose substantial amounts of money because a $40 million salary floor is simply too high for them.

If I were going to vent my spleen over something, it would be because we missed a full season of hockey, all the while being led to believe the system was going to change. And lo and behold, three years into the new reality, it’s clear this collective bargaining agreement is accomplishing almost none of its goals.

There is still a huge disparity between the rich and poor teams, ticket prices have not come down one iota, players are still receiving ridiculous contracts that are the bane of those teams that sign them and small market teams are still being forced to lose players they were supposed to be able to keep.

If I were going to be angry about something, I’d be more upset there are a number of markets in this league that are in serious, serious trouble and have owners who would love to do nothing more than sell their operations. It would make me even more hot there’s a billionaire with a passion for hockey named Jim Balsillie who could save one of those franchises – and probably raise the value of the other seven that are in deep trouble – instantly by purchasing them and moving it to a place where people deserve NHL hockey.

Rather than stew over a song, I’d be more upset Gary Bettman and the league got smacked around again in collective bargaining. I’d be really hot the league continues to insist players get only a certain percentage of revenues, which addresses the macro-economics problem the league faces, but not the micro-economic ills some teams endure.

If I were going to get lathered up about something, it would bother me to no end that the Goalie Equipment Working Group will convene its first meeting in Toronto and will continue to perpetuate the ruse that the league is actually doing something about scoring, when we all know making goaltending equipment smaller is not going to create one more scoring chance or address the real problem, which is coaches have taken control of the game and the game is worse for it.

So don’t worry about it, everybody. Within a couple of months you’ll forget about all of this and HNIC will have a snappy new tune. The real problems in the game, though, will be there long after this issue dissipates.

Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to His blog appears Tuesdays and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.

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