‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the NHL, not a creature was stirring.

Do you hear that sound? The sound of silence?

If you want to hear anything in any NHL arena on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, first you’ll have to break into the joint. Then, having succeeded, you won’t find a soul.

For two days, the sticks stay untaped. The skates stay hung on their hooks. The pucks stay in the freezer. There might as well be a sign that says, “No morning skate to-day.”

The National Hockey League doesn’t do much right, so when they do, it’s only fair to blare it. The appearance of “NHL,” “good,” and “decision” in the same sentence that doesn’t also include “not a” is up there with “Man listens to wife,” so this is big doings.

The NHL, bless their frozen souls, outlaw their own game on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The players are ordered to stay away from “the building.” No games, no practices. If one has the urge to throw a hip check, then it’s to be done to the kids at home, or the family dog.

For two days, not only are the goalies pulled, but so is everyone else. The only sweater worn is a garish holiday one, around the fire at home.

Good for the pucksters. They got one right for a change.

I wish other sports would follow suit.

The NBA has had a fetish for playing games on Christmas Day for decades. The Red Wings used to do it, too, in the 1960s, but then the players and their wives protested and the game was dropped from the schedule.

Do we need sports on Christmas? Are we so ravenous? Is our hunger so insatiable?

The NHL, by giving its teams Eve and Day off, are also saying to their fans, indirectly, “And you should have better things to do, too.”

And we should.

The NBA ought to listen, but I doubt they will. Starting at noon ET today, the TV will be filled with NBA games—at least on ABC and ESPN—until past midnight. A quintuple-header—five games, with start times of 12, 2:30, 5:00, 8:00, and 10:30 p.m.


Can’t we shut it off for a day and maybe say a few words to our families, even if we don’t care for them all that much?

Not to pick on the NBA, because college football serves up Bowl games on Christmas, like it’s just another day on the calendar. The movie theaters swing open their doors, too. And that’s worse, because that requires leaving the house. Isn’t being able to see a movie 364 days a year enough?

Yeah, it’s a free country, with free enterprise. I get it. If mom and pop want to open on Christmas Day, then that’s their prerogative.

But isn’t it refreshing that the NHL has a two day moratorium, enabling players and coaches and arena workers to be with their families? Is that so much to ask, really?

Yet in today’s economy, I can see where it might be attractive for a concession worker to pull in a Christmas Day shift at double time pay. Point taken. But do you really think that those folks have an option?

Pretty much the same people work the same jobs at every game in any given arena. If the schedule says “game,” then they’re expected to be there. Maybe holiday pay isn’t that important to everyone.

I’m probably going to be lonely on this one. I can hear it now.

“Christmas Day games are wildly popular! Who are you to take away our sports? If you have a problem, then don’t watch.”

Just thought I’d save you some time.

OK, fine. You’re right; not everyone celebrates Christmas, number one. Two, not everyone has a warm and fuzzy family situation that they can’t wait to enjoy.

All I’m saying is, I think it’s great that the NHL locks their doors on the 24th and 25th. Mainly because it’s just so anti the norm. Again, refreshing.

And yes, I will take your advice. I won’t watch a minute of the NBA today. I plan on going 0-for-5. Gonna give myself a collar.

I’ll make it up some other time, believe me.