I caused a stir at the end of the week when I suggested that the side that is desperate to give Darryl Katz a free arena are a bunch of rubes being led by the nose by the complicit media who are playing the role of The Music Man. One aspect that gets mentioned is that the Oilers' deal will have an affect on other deals in Canada. Well, if Edmonton is lucky, Markham's epiphany will filter its way to their backwoods city council. Friend of the Blog Sean FitzGerald, when not searching the rafters at Maple Leaf Gardens for his missing jock, has been covering the heck out of the monorail-loving council in Markham. This week, there was a huge breakthrough:

Jack Heath, deputy mayor of Markham, Ont., has withdrawn his long-standing support of plans to build an NHL-ready arena in part because of a noticeable wrinkle the private developers have not been able to iron out:

"They were not able to get an NHL team - and this really was about the NHL."

Five of the city's 13 council members have confirmed they are opposed to the proposal, and one of those, Don Hamilton, has suggested there are at least two more dissenters in chambers, which would form a majority. Hamilton also pointed to the uncertainty over the NHL's future involvement with the arena as one reason for his skepticism.

"The way it goes is, [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman says, ‘You build a building, I might give you the team,' " Hamilton said. "And that's no good. That's not a way you can do it."

You'd think a guy named HAMILTON might look into how building a state of the art arena worked out for Hamilton. And then imagine that the only way it could be worse would be to bankrupt the city doing it. My favourite part is how during the entire time that this arena has been discussed the developers and the supporters on council have been talking about how viable the project would be without an anchor tenant. Someone has finally said that the emperor has no clothes. Thank fuck for that.

Markham’s NHL arena dreams take a hit, courtesy of deputy mayor
The full story

NHL Cancels 2013 Winter Classic - On the Forecheck
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Black Dog Hates Skunks: Rod Hockey Man
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NHL/NHLPA deputies meet into night, plan to meet again; What players may get in new CBA
Russo has some details on little things the players may get like their own room on the road.

Larry Brooks’ Slap Shots: NHL’s offer to get lockout talks going by discussing "make whole" contract may be publicity ploy
Brooksie isn't impressed with Bettman which isn't a surprise but it's fun to read anyway.

Jeremy Roenick wants to fight a Twitter follower for charity, but needs legal advice before doing so
Friend of the blog @thekidcanada helps JR avoid jail and frankly ruins what would have been a hilarious arrest and mug shot.

Randy Gumbley and the CHLPA: an inside story
For all of the coverage on the CHLPA meltdown, here's a look at one person's interaction

Dear Geoff Molson: Ditch the NHL, Form a New League
If only some of these billionaires had a set of brass balls...and free top quality non-NHL affiliated arenas.

There's nothing wrong with saying what Tyler Bozak did was racist
Good post but I'd say that one distinction that is missed is covered in the video below:

Strombabble: Oilers Tease a "Wow Factor" Trade for a Goalie, While Leafs Brass Visit the Valley
This situation's resolution will 100% be the thing that sucks us all back into hockey once the season begins

Someone please explain why the NHL and NHLPA are against using a federal mediator
Poor Justin just wants a resolution :( sadly the two sides would prefer a win

List: NHL Teams Ranked by Scariness of Name
Ellen doesn't think that 'Maple Leafs' is a scary name. Oh yeah? Then how come they give me the night terrors? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Michigan State-Nebraska: Spartans players blame officiating for loss
These kids are going to get in trouble.