Ask any true, tattooed, 10-toothed hockey fan and he'll tell you—the reason the NHL is sinking faster than a cement ducky is all the damn hockey fights.
It's got to stop.
Not the fights. The hockey.
That's why real hockey fans love a former deejay named Darryl (Beef) Wolski, who has an ingenious and bloody idea that might just work: A hockey tournament featuring no hockey.
It's called Hockey Gladiators, and it's coming to pay-per-eeeewwww! in August. Thirty-two goons will show up at the Target Center in Minneapolis in uniforms, skates and pads, lumber out two-by-two to center ice and just start going at it like Tonya Harding and a new boyfriend.
A ref will drop the puck, and the gladiators, mostly former pro hockey players, will fling off their helmets, drop their gloves and start trying to turn each other's pusses into Picassos. But isn't it pointless to wear the helmets and gloves at all? "Well, yeah," Beef says, "but it's tradition."
Yeah, in a thing like this, you've got to take care of the purists.
It's double elimination, which means a mook could fight as many as six times in two days on his way to winning the $100,000 first prize. "Six times in two days?" says the tournament favorite, former Toronto Maple Leaf Frank (the Animal) Bialowas, who had his nose broken 15 times over nine seasons in four leagues. "I used to do that in one night—with a smile on my face."
Somebody wake NHL commissioner Gary Bettman! This could save the league!
Well, it needs something. The NHL is about as popular as a goiter festival. Game 1 of the Tampa Bay- Calgary Stanley Cup Finals (slogan: Yes, both teams still exist!) on ESPN tied for the worst-rated championship series match on cable in 14 years. Among the dozens of cable shows that attracted more viewers, head-to-head, were: