Three days of standing on a sidewalk waiting for CBA meetings to conclude sounds like a pretty boring way to spend a weekend in New York.
To be honest, the only truly annoying aspect of the weekend was that we couldn’t stray too far from the NHL offices because we never knew when the meetings were going to end. We were like a bunch of kids asking permission from the various PR reps if we had time to do things like go to the bathroom or grab a bite to eat.
So for the most part, we ended up eating fast food and street meat because we didn’t want to miss anything.
Sadly, I didn’t find Homer Simpson’s Kalkalash stand on this trip to New York. But maybe next time I’ll get to choose between Mountain Dew and crab juice.
But all things considered, this assignment wasn’t too bad and there were plenty of things to keep us reporters entertained as we just stood on the sidewalk.
Here are 10 funny things that actually happened while I covered the CBA meetings this weekend in New York:
1. On Saturday afternoon, Donald Fehr was trying to come out of the NHL offices to meet with the media. Problem was, all the doors were locked and he didn’t have a security card to swipe through. So technically, Fehr is the only person in history to be simultaneously locked in and out by the NHL.
2. While we were interviewing Steven Fehr of the NHLPA on Saturday, a Rangers fan tried to disrupt the media scrum by screaming things like "you guys are greedy" and "fire Bettman". We politely asked the fan to not ruin our interview by yelling and he responded by saying, "I pay $40,000 a year for Rangers season tickets, so I can say what I want." Really, you pay $40,000 for Rangers tickets? Maybe you should stop buying season tickets from a scalper.
3. The NHL Store (located on street level at the NHL offices) was doing pretty slow business on the weekend, thanks to the lockout. To increase sales, I suggested that they put a sign out front that said "NHLPA employees receive a 24% rollback on all merchandise." I don’t think the cashier appreciated my sense of humour.
4. The Broadway play "If There Is, I Haven’t Found It Yet" is playing right next door to the NHL offices in midtown Manhattan. And each day there was quite a commotion when the star of the show, Jake Gyllenhaal, left the theatre. Here’s a little known hockey fact about Gyllenhaal: He was supposed to appear in the original Mighty Ducks movie in 1992, but his parents refused to let him leave home for two months. What a career mistake that turned out to be. Imagine where he’d be if he had some acting tips from Emilio Estevez.
5. A massive street fair took over Sixth Avenue outside of the NHL offices on Saturday. There were hundreds of vendors selling merchandise and food. And to the surprise of all of us in the media, we didn’t see Bettman and Fehr haggling over the price of a knock-off silk scarf.
6. As part of that festival on Saturday, they also had a group of performers singing on the street. A bunch of guys stood up and sang "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" acapella, which is strange enough, but if they were going to pick a Cyndi Lauper song to pay homage to another NHL lockout, they should have gone with "Time After Time."
7. Prior to the meetings on Friday, a high-ranking NHLPA executive was seen walking past the meetings with a large plastic bag. When he came back, he explained to us that he was just talking some clothes to the dry cleaners. I asked if I could write that the NHLPA was now airing their dirty laundry in public. He replied, "Oh, please don’t put that on Twitter." And I respected his wishes by just mentioning the story here in this blog.
8. At one point on Sunday, we became so bored that we actually quizzed our American media counterparts if they could name all the teams in the CFL. High marks to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, who went 7-for-8 and only missed the Hamilton Tiger Cats. But Dan shouldn’t feel too bad; most people miss Hamilton when they drive from Toronto to Buffalo to go shopping.
9. Late on Sunday a group of angry New Jersey fans showed up to the CBA meetings wearing Devils jerseys. To our genuine surprise, none of them was named Krys Barch.
10. On Saturday, Sportsnet.ca columnist Michael Grange showed up to the meetings sporting a new Brooklyn Nets sweatshirt that he bought. This isn’t really a funny story, but I just wanted to point it out to our HR department in case Grange tries to slip this through on his expenses.