CBC: Hockey Night Or Election Night? Both!

So the CBC has a conflict on election night.

It seems there’s a pesky little hockey game scheduled the same night Ontario’s election results come trickling in (kind of how Leaf victories have come in recent years).

In all seriousness, the proper thing for the public broadcaster to do is to give up the very, very attractive tilt between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens and give us a steady dose of poll results. That would be more in keeping with the mandate of the corporation. As much as it hurts, the Leafs and Habs should be tossed over to TSN or some other willing participant, while the CBC gives us Peter and Rex as opposed to Ron and Don. I do see their conundrum, however. What’s more vital to the fabric of the heart and soul of Canada? Politics or hockey? They both have front row centre seats at any Tim Hortons discussion, 365 days a year. Tough one.

“All’s I’m sayin’, eh, is that McSquinty, or McGillicuddy, or whatever it is and everythink… he might as well have worn a visor on the campaign trail. Brutal.”












Got a solution. Give us a hybrid. Both hockey and politics are filled with cynicism. Is the NHL’s lip service on player safety any less cynical than a candidate’s hollow rhetoric on doing what’s best for the common good? Both are blood sports. I leave it to you to decide which is more heinous. And, like hockey, politics is filled, I mean filled with analysts who can’t wait for the red light to come on so they can pontificate on every single little detail of the action.

I envision a “Very Special Hockey Night In Canada,” on October 6th. We pick up the action midway through the second period. Leafs and Habs tied at 2.

Jim Hughson: It’s close one, folks, lots of chances, lots of mistakes and lots of head shots. Neither side has been able to muster a big advantage.”

Craig Simpson: “You talking about the Leafs and Canadiens, or the election campaign, Jim?”

Jim: “Both, Craig. Let’s send it down to Elliotte Friedman.”

Elliotte: “Guys, Ron Wilson hasn’t been happy with the play of  his team so far, lighting them up with an impassioned, energetic and profanity-laced speech during the first intermission. The kind of speech that might have helped either Dalton McGuinty or Tim Hudak down the stretch. You know, maybe without the profanity. By the way, the Canadiens are out-hitting the Leafs, 10-6 at this point, and NDP leader Andrea Horwath leads in her riding with 372 votes, with 16 of 47 polls reporting. Jim?”

Jim: “Thanks, Elliotte, now over to Peter Mansbridge for a preview of the second intermission.”

Peter: “Coming up, in our second intermission… a full rundown of the key battles in ridings that will, in large part, determine the fate of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government. Our political roundtable includes Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne and P.J. Stock. Don Cherry and Ron MacLean join us, once again, live from Tim Hudak’s campaign headquarters, where Don is expected to give the Tory leader a kiss on the forehead. And, Rex Murphy with out of town scores and highlights. Jim?”

Jim: A delay in the action here as game ops staff members try to unfurrow Brian Burke’s eyebrows… that gives us a chance to send it down between the benches, where Glenn Healy and Wendy Mesley are standing by.”

HEALY: “Guys, you’ve got defencemen throwing it up the middle, forwards missing checking assignments…and, seriously, who doesn’t think the issue of allowing Muslim prayer in public schools is a campaign grenade. Honestly, it’s like amateur night here.”

WENDY: “Also, it looks like P.K. Subban’s knee injury is not serious. He’s expected back in time for the loser’s concession speech, which will happen at an actual concession stand in the Air Canada Club during the 3rd period. Guys?”

Jim: “Like to remind our viewers that a special edition of  “After Hours” comes up following the game…. Scott Oake and Ian Hanomansing are joined by the cast of “Dragons’ Den.” They’ll have all the scores and news from every riding and every arena, as well as post game comments from Jacques Martin and Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley. Now, here’s Ron MacLean.”

Ron: “Thanks, Jim. Special announcement: Circle February 11th, 2012 on your calendar. ‘Hockey Day In Canada,’ originally scheduled to take place in Prince Edward Island, will now be called ‘Hockey and Elections Day In Canada,’ and take place in the Northern Ontario riding of  Algoma-Manitoulin. Instead of constantly changing into different hockey jerseys, I’ll continually cross the floor to join different political parties, from the powerhouse Conservatives, to the fringe parties like The Family Coalition Party, or The Liberals. February 12th, on CBC. Now, over to Elliotte.”

Elliotte: “With Canadiens’ forward Mike Cammalleri… Mike, it’s been a tight struggle so far; your thoughts?”

Cammalleri: “Yeah… sure has… uh… I don’t think anybody really thought the riding of Richmond Hill…

Elliotte: “Your hometown…”

Cammalleri: “Right, my hometown… I don’t think anybody thought it’d be this tight. To think that Reza Moridi might actually lose this… you don’t, you know, think about that…. But, hey, hats off to Vic Gupta. He’s a good candidate, a real pro. Classy guy and, uh, he worked hard.

Elliotte: “And tonight’s game?”

Cammalleri: “Uh, you know, it’s tough to think about that with Reza Moridi may be going down to defeat. So, yeah. It’s tough.”

Elliotte: “A sombre tone from one of the NHL’s feistiest political thinkers. Over to Ron MacLean, to ‘pun’ us out of it.”

Ron: “Power plays will be the key to deciding this, Elliotte. Or, rather, will it be ‘Powerplay’, with Evan Solomon?”

Jim: “Three and a half to go in the second, Leafs and Canadiens tied at two, Liberals leading or elected in 23, Conservatives leading or elected in 16….”


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