It’ll be a struggle for Barry Melrose to pay for those fancy hair-care products, and more importantly, there’s no NHL this year, maybe not next year, and who knows for how long. Dan Patrick, obstensibly the frontman for the league’s broadcast partners opined Tuesday that maybe the NHL lockout was seen as less than catastrophic by the general sporting public because “the game is boring” (note that Patrick made the inevitable soccer comparison, which is just great as the MLS is paying ESPN to show their games). Well, yeah, on the thrill-o-meter, would could be hotter than poker, a made-for-TV series about people playing poker, and Dana Barros on “Dream Job”?

(it’s a Maalox moment for Commissioner Gary)

The LA Times’ J.J. Adande wonders how the NHL’s version of David Stern, Paul Tagliabue or Bud Selig could’ve let this happen. Perhaps that last one wasn’t the best comparison.

“I think we’re killing the game,” the player said.

“We are doing irrevocable damage to our sport by putting our fans through this process,” the team president said.

“We’re facing obscurity,” the agent said.

“Through the decades and generations we have faced a variety of crises and challenges, some of which seemed catastrophic at the time,” the commissioner said. “The league persevered through all these adversities, and the league will persevere through this one as well.”

Why is it that the one man with the most power sounds the least realistic about just how costly this unprecedented season shutdown will be?

But that has always been NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s approach. He never acknowledged the serious problems afflicting his sport, except when it came to how much money the teams were losing. The game itself was left to wither away.

Bettman never did anything with urgency, never appreciated how truly disposable the NHL could be. Here’s a little lesson: The citizens of Los Angeles have survived just fine without a local NFL team. We’re talking about the National Football League. Doesn’t Bettman think that every city south of the Canadian border could learn to live without a local NHL team?

Did he notice how little attention his lockout received in its first five months?

“In the United States, besides today, nobody’s talked about it,” King left wing Luc Robitaille said. “Nobody cares. That’s the biggest thing that I fear, is that nobody cares.”

I can assure Robitaille that someone cares. Perhaps not a “Sportscenter” anchor, but Denis Leary must be bummed out.