BUFFALO (MYFO) — In a completely unexpected and baffling turn of events, tomorrow’s NHL AMP Winter Classic has been canceled due to the ongoing WGA Writers Strike.
Last minute talks to save the telecast, which was scheduled for 1PM Eastern on NBC, broke down in the eleventh hour in what is being called a “huge blow to outdoor sporting events that are usually accustomed to being played as indoor sporting events.” The city of Buffalo has been left in complete shock, a welcome change from most of the winter, during which their extremities feel nothing because of the icy wind chills.
Many analysts of the game were under the impression that the Writers Strike, a production impasse that has left us all watching hastily-assembled game shows with lucrative premises and even more lucrative grand prizes, would have zero effect on NHL regular season game to take place at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Sabres and Penguins both insist that they perform their own material on a nightly basis, and it is widely known in hockey circles that left wing Andrew Peters can’t read OR write. However, the involvement of occasional hockey network NBC has brought this outdoor spectacle to a grinding halt, as the broadcasting coverage team was to rely heavily on scripted material for its pre-game show, intermission reports, and funny but true anecdotes about playing pond hockey when they were kids.
NBC’s broadcast team of Bob Costas, Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Mike Milbury, and some guy who insists on being called “The Panger” all agreed to take the gig only if NBC would write their scripts for them so that they may enjoy the Christmas holiday at home with their respective families. Other than hosting the Olympic Games that just happen to have ice hockey being played somewhere nearby, Costas has very little experience with the NHL and would likely struggle without a WGA-sanctioned team of writers penning his intros and outros on his behalf. Said Costas, “When I was in the movie Pootie Tang, they already had my script written for me. Frankly, I loved it – it was so little work for a nice paycheck. You know what? I really loved Pootie Tang.”
Buffalo and Pittsburgh will move their game back to the HSBC Arena at a later date, and the make-up game will have to share ice time with the touring company of “High School Musical: The Ice Tour.” We hear that Jordan Staal and Zac Efron have become good buds. As for the giant sheet of ice in the middle of the Buffalo Bills’ stadium, it will be left there until NFL pre-season next year. With an repeat quarterback controversy between Losman and Edwards in the works, having it play out on a frictionless surface will add a freshness to the battle. Unconfirmed sources expect hilarity to ensue.
Even if the WGA agreed to a one-day waiver that would allow guild members to write for NBC, Pittsburgh left wing Jeff Taffe would still be forced to the sidelines. While a healthy scratch years ago in Phoenix, Taffe co-wrote several episodes of According to Jim and My Wife and Kids. Taffe did not immediately return a phone call for comment.
The other option the NHL had instead of cancellation involved moving the telecast to Versus, where their existing hockey coverage could ad-lib.
Either way, nobody gets to watch outdoor hockey on the first day of 2008.