The National Hockey League owners, who have locked out the players since September 15, threatening the first-ever entire cancellation of a professional sports season in North America, have rejected the players' latest compromise offer, and announced that they will immediately lock the players out of their homes, as well as from most hotels, Chinese restaurants, Wal-Marts, bordellos, all retails outlets that start with the letter "S", and the state of Michigan.
The players, who have steadfastly refused to accept a salary cap as the owners have insisted, were disappointed at the rejection of their latest compromise offer. The proposal, a celery cap, would have controlled costs by requiring owners who exceeded a payroll of $25 million to wear a hat made out of celery to most public places, thereby discouraging any further inflation of salaries. NHL union head Bob Goodenow expressed disappointment, pointing out the health benefits of the crunchy green vegetable. "Besides forcing the owners to control the costs that they themselves have allowed to spiral out of control," he explained, "celery is rich in vitamin C and is beneficial toward the prevention of arterial disease." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman rejected the proposal out of hand, but conceded that celery is high in insoluble fiber.
Previously, the players rejected the owners' proposal of a salary nap, under which players would have to sleep through ten games each season, thereby reducing their salaries by approximately 12%. The players then countered by offering a Samurai cap, by which Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi would fight Nashville Predators' owner Craig Leipold in a fight to the death.
Meanwhile, Detroit Red Wings' players living in the locked-out state of Michigan were given 24 hours to vacate the state, or be forced to watch tapes of every game of the New York Rangers' 2003-04 season in their entirety. Horrified by that prospect, and unable to gain access to their homes or a good egg roll, several terrified Red Wings, having just been informed of the news while skating in an informal practice, were seen in full uniform and skates running south on Route 75 towards the Ohio border. Though some of the players broke their skate blades on the concrete, they were unable to enter Sports Authority to buy new ones.