Hey, remember that game, the one played on a cold, slick surface? Sticks were used to knock around a black cylindrical thing.

I think they called it hockey, though I could be wrong on that.

The NHL lockout has gone on nearly three months and 527 games have been lost; hockey has completely slipped out of the national consciousness.

The National Hockey League just can't get it right. It's embarrassing for the game, and probably setting it up to be passed by soccer and badminton as the next most popular sports in America behind football, baseball, football and basketball. And football.

I used to watch hockey, before the 2004-05 season was lost to a lockout and the sport was expunged from ESPN, sending hockey to fringe channels like what was then the Versus network.

Without the consistent ESPN coverage, the NHL has become a niche sport, only highlighted by the fact that this NHL lockout has carried on so long without much notice.

When the NBA had its lockout last year, it was pretty big news. Yet it was dwarfed by the coverage of the NFL lockout, showing what Americans put the highest priority on in the sports world.

Whenever the NHL finally comes back again, it will take another huge hit in ratings as people have already found things to do other than watch the Dallas Stars.

Regardless of the issues involved, it's sad for hockey fans that the league can't figure out a way to play the game.

Let's hope this time the season can be saved. That way I can go back to not remembering what channel that one sport comes on, you know the one, that game where they glide around on skinny blades and ram each other into walls?


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