We were driven today to the outer edges of sheer boredom, and did something that only the most desperate of hockey fans should ever do — we read the CBA. Some people read the CBA and come out of it with a clearer understanding of the financial picture of the NHL. Others walk away shaking their reads at the madness of it all. And yet others totally ignore all the serious business statbitty parts (read: 99% of it) and cut straight to the titillating, behind-the-scenes stuff. Like how the players get fined if they don’t pay their own incidentals on their room bills when the team is checking out of hotels on the road. And how a player is reimbursed for up to six months of his rent/mortgage when he’s traded. And what the NHL per diem is. In typical fashion for us, though, a discussion of the finer points of everyday life as outlined by the CBA quickly evolved into our vision of how the Devils handle their per diems. The following is how we figure it goes down, and we suspect we’re spot-on. Because we know the Devils really well. (This is also the actual IM conversation we had, verbatim.)
Pookie: Paulie packs all his meals so they’re bland enough for him and then he pockets the per diem. He’s saving up for something nice. Like a new Goldie Christmas ornament set.
Schnookie: Yup! He’s savin’ up. And enjoying those ambrosia cups, all at the same time.
Clarkson spends his on lottery tickets. All of it.
Schnookie: At the first place that he sees that sells them.
Pookie: As soon as they get to the hotel lobby he buys them all up and then goes, “D’oh!”
Schnookie: Then he spends the rest of the day salivating over the other guys’ food, asking, “Are you going to eat all of that?”
Pookie: Fortunately it doesn’t take much for him to charm his way into food. He’s always missing team meals because he’s eating with the maids in their breakroom.
Schnookie: Well, Travis is a sucker, too, so he always shares.
Pookie: Travis does all kinds of research before going to a city to determine the cheapest possible meal. Then he saves the rest of his per diem under his mattress. Out of fear of being an Okie.
Schnookie: Travis always takes out $5 and mails it home to his parents. With a letter:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Am still making good in the big city.
P.S. I miss you both.
Pookie: Nah, Rod Pelley does that. Mr. Kitimat.
Pookie: Marty has Brylin handle his per diem for him. When he has to pay for something he just snaps his finger, walks away, and assumes Brylin is covering it for him.
Schnookie: Marty’s like, “Here, Sarge. You probably need this more than I do.” And he throws the money in Sarge’s direction and forgets all about it.
Schnookie: Zach has his converted to gold.
Pookie: Langer goes to the dog track. And eats there. No betting, though. Betting would be stupid.
Schnookie: He just loves the food carts at dog tracks. “They have the best cheap Chinese food,” he explains.
Schnookie: Gio thought he was going to the horse track with his money, until he ran into Langer there. “Shit. Horses must be HUGE,” he says.
Pookie: Sutter gets his per diem changed into pennies and then gets pissed off when he has to count them out to pay for stuff. Just the way he gets pissed off when he has to put unprepared losers out on the ice. “Life,” sighs Albelin in commiseration, “imitates art.”
Schnookie: Travis loves counting and rolling those pennies for Sutter. It causes a lot of tension with his roomie, though. “Suck up,” Zach hisses at him.
Pookie: Just the way Travis loves being an unprepared loser.
Schnookie: “Being an unprepared loser is my favorite thing in life,” he attests.
Pookie: You bet! Sutter’s like, “Grrrreat. Have a penny!” And he wings a big handful of pennies at Travis’s head.
Our team has issues.
Schnookie: Travis just lets the pennies hit him, and then he says, “Do you want me to count and roll those, too, or should I leave them?”
Pookie: Oduya uses his per diem to buy the ingredients to make his mom’s special Swedish cookies, which he sells in the hotel lobby, thereby doubling his per diem amount.
Schnookie: Oduya’s the secret smart one!
Pookie: He usually uses his extra dough to buy Paulie a more interesting lunch, feeling sorry for him having to eat ambrosia AGAIN.
Schnookie: So Paulie’s the one who’s doubling his per diem! After four years in the NHL, you’d think Paulie could afford the Goldie ornament set by now. But the sad truth is, Paulie has no idea how much it costs. “If you have to ask,” he says wistfully. Greener’s like, “You don’t have to ask. Look. The price is right here on the website, it’s $49.95–” Paulie: * DUNK! *
Fortunately, he eats enough pot brownies that he soon forgets that Greener broke the mystique surrounding the ornament set.
Pookie: Yeah. And when he retires he’s going to have like $600,000 in per diem money. Which… He’ll blow on 600,000 Mr. Pibbs and thus never get the ornament set.
But then, in his old age, when he’s like 86, his roomie in the Old Folks Home For Aged D-Men, Old Man Oduya, will give them to him for Christmas.
Schnookie: Awwww! That’s so sweet! Maybe our team doesn’t have issues after all!