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Hockey adieu, mon Dieu

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The guessing here is that if the National Hockey League owners and players don't resolve their hideous labor dispute by Thanksgiving the entire season will get tanked.

If that happens, professional hockey in North America will be irrevocably compromised and the NHL, as we have known it, will become history. That's conjecture, obviously. But you can take it to the bank.

In their remarkable delusion, the owners hold to the tender illusion that hockey fans -- so long the truly unique consumers in the checkered realm of sports commerce with their quaintly intense if almost mindless loyalties -- will always be willing to forgive and forget. This time, I think, they are dead wrong.

How do you begin to calculate the impact of a totally wiped-out season? You can't! How many jobs -- and not just those of the players -- will simply disappear? That number alone, if it could be precisely calculated, might amaze you.

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