The Bettman game – an 82-game season beginning in early January? Uh, no…

&&&&& here we are on the World Wide Web, blurs & gams, where the planet’s largest Girl Scout Bake Sale is underway 24/7 and it seems like everywhere you go, SOMEBODY is trying to sell you cookies. …

Where were we? Ah, yes – Gary Bettman’s plan to start an 82-game NHL season somewhere between Christmas and the first week of January. We have three words for that: Daft, dafter, daftest.

Early January, for you Trumpkins out there who have trouble counting, is three months after early October. Ergo, if an 82-game season that begins in October finishes in April, it’s logical to assume that a season that begins in January finishes in early July.

So here we go again, with playoffs in July and August. Among many other things, that would put the NHL up against the postponed Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin July 23, and end on August 8.

Why is Bettman talking about an 82-game season? The 48-game season, apparently, is hunky-dory when you’re trying to muscle the players into accepting a lousy CBA after the latest lockout – but not acceptable when you’re trying to keep the league alive during a pandemic.

Has Bettman lost his mind? Not where money is concerned. He pours all his crazy into the Arizona Coyotes, allows hockey’s good old boys club to run the game and concentrates his considerable acumen on one goal: ripping off the players on behalf of his billionaire owners.

What’s the game this time? Mark my words: Bettman knows it would be stupid to end the regular season in July. So he’ll offer the players 48 games, or perhaps 60 games – but the offer will come with a condition: the players have to accept 48/82 or maybe 60/82 of their salary – somewhere between three-fifths and three-quarters of what they’re owed for a full season.

In other words, here we go again…

SLAPDOWN CITY: Brian Burke, known as “Burkie” to the fawning Toronto media, stuck his foot in his mouth again this weekend when he claimed Canadian teams can’t compete for free agents because of the tax handicap they face in comparison with an American team like the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Las Vegas Golden Gamblers.

It was a stunning bit of ignorance on the part of a guy who ought to know better. Or maybe that’s why Burke bombed in Toronto and Calgary. Either way, it didn’t take long for player agent Allan Walsh to sort Burke out in no uncertain terms.

“I’m shocked at how uninformed this take is,” Walsh wrote on Twitter. “Players in Canada can set up a Retirement Compensation Agreement (RCA) and limit their tax liability to a flat 20%.  With sound tax advisors, a NHL player can actually pay the same or less tax in Canada than he will Florida or Vegas.”

Walsh proceeded to lay out how it works in considerable detail, so if you’re interested, check his Twitter account. I’m tired of hearing uninformed fans say Canadian teams can’t compete because of our tax system – so from now on, I’m going to refer y’all to M. Walsh. He’s a pain in the ass much of the time, but Walsh is one smart cookie.

Something Brian Burke will never be.

Impact, unraveled: Is it something in the water? The Montreal Impact seem determined to have at least one Novak Djokovic moment in every match.

You have to feel for Thierry Henry, who can’t seem to get his players to stop acting like idiots. “We’ve talked about it,” Henry said after the latest fiasco, “but it’s difficult to coach against a reaction.”

The latest reaction came after Romell Quioto scored against the Philadelphia Union. Quioto promptly erased that by elbowing Philadelphia defender Mark McKenzie in the face. Quioto was ejected, Philadelphia came back to win 4-1 and Quioto followed Rudy Camacho and Emanuel Maciel in behaving like a spoiled child on the field and hurting his team in the process.

Maybe the way for Henry to handle this is to react to the reaction and have his own meltdown in the face of every player who loses it on the pitch.

&&&& this just in, the newest addition to the Lame Name Hall of Name, which is not to be confused with the Fennis Dembo Hall of Name: Bryson DeChambeau.

LIES, RUMOURS &&&& VICIOUS INNUENDO: Most of the “failures” that get chalked up to Marc Bergevin are completely bogus – like the P.K. Subban trade. One failure that WAS a failure, however, was the failure to make Alexander Radulov an offer the big Russian couldn’t refuse. That one hurts with every game the Dallas Stars win. …

Proud as we are of little Slovenia for going 1-2 at the Tour de France (an event French cyclists have not been able to win since 1985) the finish was a bit of a disappointment. Slovenian Primoz Roglic, the 30-year-old converted ski racer who had led the race for two weeks, lost out in the final time trial to his upstart countryman Tadej Pogacar, at 21 the youngest racer to win the tour since 1904. …

Speaking of the Tour de France, if you missed it this year it’s because the TV rights were scooped up by some obscure streaming service with a name like stealyourbike.com. We’re heartily sick of this and sick of having to pay every Tom, Dick and Jane separately for every big event. Bad enough that Videotron, Bell and Rogers all stink and all have their hands deeply in our pockets. DAZN has already ruined soccer for me and now stealyourbike.com has done the same to cycling. …

Speaking of corporate ripoffs and television, we are now officially done with Sportsnet. Here we were, happy watching the NBA playoffs on TSN, when they switched to Sportsnet 360. So we cancelled Sportsnet One and subscribed to Sportsnet 360 because we already have the NHL. So lo and behold, there the Nuggets-Lakers game is Sunday night on Sportsnet One, not on Sportsnet 360. It’s an obvious shell game and a ploy to get you to subscribe separately to each Sportsnet channel. And here’s my response: Shove it, Sportsnet – I will hereby subscribe to NONE of your channels. It’s not like I’m going to miss Brian Burke, Ron MacLean and the Blue Jays. …

What we missed because of Sportsnet and its little shell game with the playoffs was an amazing 3-point buzzer-beater by Anthony Davis to beat the Nuggets. One of the all-time clutch shots in basketball. …

God Jack Armstrong is awful. He used to be a pretty good basketball commentator. Then he was Toronto-ized into a screeching cheerleader. …

My Nebraska Huskers may have stuck their cleats in it when they pushed hard for the Big 10 to join much of the rest of the NCAA in playing football this season. The Huskers got their wish – and an opening game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Predicted score: Ohio State 78, Nebraska 8. …

And sad news from my home state: Larry Frost, one of my locker mates on the Nebraska track team back in the day and one of the most powerful and humble athletes I’ve ever met, died last week. Frost’s son Scott, of course, is now the head coach of the Huskers. …

If Bettman really thinks a July-August playoff run would draw ratings in Canada, he needs to check out the reaction around here, where interest in what should be a pretty good Stanley Cup final between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning is right up there with the buzz around full-contact pinochle. …

The raft of injuries suffered by star players in the NFL is the reason I will always back the players side in every contract dispute. Especially in the NFL, where every contract should be fully guaranteed forevermore.

 Heroes: Alexander Radulov, Rick Bowness, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Primoz Roglic, Tadej Pogacar, Naomi Osaka, Clayton Kershaw, Larry Frost, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif &&&& last but not least, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, hero for the ages.

Zeros: Brian Burke, 82-game NHL seasons that start in January, Rudy Camacho, Romell Quioto, Emanuel Maciel, Sportsnet, Jack Armstrong, Novak Djokovic, Dan Snyder, Ron MacLean, the Blue Jays pitching staff, Claude Brochu &&&&& last but not least, David Samson and Jeffrey Loria.

  Now and forever.

TWITTER: @jacktodd46

jacktodd46@yahoo.com