For those hockey fans who are grieving the lockout and having withdrawal, here are the economic stories of the week in a form you may appreciate:
Game 1: Berlin Penny-Pinchers vs. The Athens Big Spenders
Score: Berlin 2, Athens 0
Attendance: 11.3 million angry Greeks
The last time these two clubs met was a knock-down, drag-out affair with Athens coming out on top. Last season, Berlin’s star goalie, Angela Merkel, strayed too far out of her goal crease and gave up three unanswered goals (referred to as 'bailouts' in the European league) in the final minutes of the game.
But kicking off the 2012-13 season this week, the much-improved Berlin club came out fighting. Merkel was booed loudly when she showed up in Athens this week, and security was tight. But despite the angry mob, Merkel was on her game and gave up no goals against the weak-looking Athens team. Both of Berlin’s goals came during penalties, the first against Athens for spending too much on new skates, the second for allowing all of the fans into the game without having to pay for tickets (and buying them free souvlaki during intermission as well).
The two teams meet again tomorrow night, and the night after that, and every day for the rest of the season.
Game 2: Alberta Oilsanders vs. Ontario Bureaucrats
Score: Alberta 4, Ontario 1
Attendance: about a dozen people at Queen’s Park in Toronto
Despite being a young and inexperienced team, the Oilsanders found themselves coming out on top of a contest that wasn’t on the radar screens of the scouts this week. The last time these two teams met, the Bureaucrats head coach, Premier Dalton McGuinty, made headlines for accusing the Alberta team of cheating and driving up the cost of the Canadian dollar in its favour. The gloves came off during that nasty contest but it ended in a tie.
Last night’s 4-1 drubbing of the Bureaucrats, however, was a much different affair. Ontario’s defence fell apart early in the game and was never able to regroup. The team appeared to be much more accommodating of the Oilsanders offence, and the entire game was played without a penalty.
Speaking to the media afterwards, players for the Bureaucrats were quoted as saying, “We understand there’s a lot of opportunity for Ontario in Alberta.” The two teams seem to be getting along nicely this season.
Game 3: American Jobseekers vs. U.S. Recessionistas
Score: Jobseekers 2, Recessionistas 1
Attendance: 0 (everyone was busy watching baseball)
After completely dominating the Jobseekers last season, the Recessionistas appeared unprepared and sloppy in last night’s game. The Jobseekers’ head coach, Ben Bernanke, has been gradually building talent on a team hea has for the past four years described as in the stage of “rebuilding.” While many of the Jobseekers fans have expressed impatience with Bernanke’s slow-but-steady rebuilding strategy, it just might start paying off.
The Jobseekers’ first goal of the game came on news the number of new jobless claims in the United States fell to a four-and-a-half year low. That comes on the heels of a report out last week suggesting the American unemployment rate eased downward to 7.8 per cent—also the lowest the country has seen in years. The Recessionistas weren’t shut out entirely, though. Their top goal scorer managed to find the net late in the third period by pointing out that the reason the jobs picture is looking better is that Americans are simply giving up looking for work, rather than finding decent jobs.
Game 4: Syria Saints vs. Turkey Titans
Score: no score – game cancelled
Attendance: the entire world
In a bizarre but not unexpected match this week, Syria and Turkey went at it again. Despite warnings by the league head officiators at the United Nations, these two teams just can’t play nicely. The event didn’t even get to the singing of the national anthems or the dropping of the puck. The players skated on the ice, immediately dropped their gloves and sticks, and started pounding each other senseless. The UN is siding with Turkey on this one, and there could be severe fines and other discipline coming for Syria in the coming days and weeks.
The only winner in this battle was the price of crude oil.