This just in: The National Hockey League lockout will end on Dec. 21.
How do I know this? The Mayans told me. Or, to be more accurate, ancient Mayan scribblings told me.
It's true. Although many people, most of whom are gloom-and-doomers with far too much time on their hands, believe those wild and whacky Mayans predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012, it simply isn't so.
Civilization will not cease a week Friday under the weight of catastrophic events such as earthquakes, tidal waves, drought, hunger and a new Adam Sandler movie.
In actual point of fact, you see, the Mayan prophesies were referring to the conclusion of the Age Of Bettman (AB), which began 5,125 years ago or, coincidentally, during Gordie Howe's rookie season.
The Mayans believe we are about to leave the Age Of Bettman and move into a new Hockey World Cycle: The Age of No More Lockouts (ANML).
There will be no cataclysmic events to signal the end of the Age Of Bettman, although the return of Coach's Corner to our flatscreens in the Age Of No More Lockouts will be considered quite calamitous by many players, most notably those who wear face shields and come from either Quebec or Europe.
The Mayans will record the Age Of Bettman as an unfavorable, tumultuous time. They will chronicle his many transgressions and paint images of his bobblehead on their cave walls.
Thousands of years from now, people will make pilgrimages to the Age Of Bettman Caves and offer observations of disbelief and ask many questions.
PILGRIM: "He looks like a weasel."
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "Yes, you are correct...he was a lawyer."
PILGRIM: "Did he really hate Canada as much as they say?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "No, that was blown out of proportion. He only hated the Canadian cities that had NHL teams. Especially Winnipeg."
PILGRIM: "Why did he hate Winnipeg so much?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "The city reminded him too much of himself—too small."
PILGRIM: "He really does look short. How tall was he?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "Let's just say that, much like his role model Napolean, there were rides at the carnival that he wasn't allowed on."
PILGRIM: "Did he really put ice hockey franchises in the Arizona desert and Florida."
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "Yes. He believed people in Phoenix, Tampa and Sunrise were more hockey-savvy than the puckheads in Winnipeg or Quebec City."
PILGRIM: "Why does he have three padlocks in his hands?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "They represent the three times he locked out the players—three times unlucky!"
PILGRIM: "He shut down hockey three times?????"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "Yup. Once every decade."
PILGRIM: "In that painting of him on that cave wall over there, his face is redder than Rudolph's nose. What's up with that?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "Oh, that's from his press conference when he pitched a fit during the great lockout of 2012. People thought his head was going to explode like a pimple."
PILGRIM: "Is it true that he disappeared from the face of the earth after the third lockout?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: Not at first. He bought the Phoenix Coyotes with his severance pay.. That didn't work, though, because his replacement as commissioner, Wayne Gretzky, moved the franchise to Saskatoon and Bettman wasn't allowed across the border. After that, he went all Captain Queeg, rolling ball bearings in his hand, looking for 'the strawberries, the strawberries' and wandering aimlessly through the Arizona desert muttering 'Bob Goodenow...Donald Fehr...Bob Goodenow...Donald Fehr...Bob Goodenow...Donald Fehr' over and over again. All day and all night. It was actually quite sad."
PILGRIM: "And then he vanished?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "Yup. Poof! Just like that. There were all sorts of rumors and speculation. Really wild things. Like desert coyotes eating him. But it's believed he simply went mad."
PILGRIM: "What's his legacy?"
MAYAN TOUR GUIDE: "He left just one thing behind...how not to run a hockey league."