On the ice in Montreal that wretched September night, Americans were overthrowing us at our game; up in the stands, borne on posterboard above a fan’s head, waved an executive summary of where we stand, hockeywise, at the end of the century. “We breed ’em,” the sign said, “they buy ’em.” If there’s any doubt that the professional game has gone south, it’s in the photographic extravaganza that is A Day in the Life of the National Hockey League. The book itself is lavishly beautiful, featuring hundreds of images snapped on March 23, 1996 by a multiplicity of photographers, pretty well covering the NHL, from dressing room to stands, from press box to slot, from Ottawa to Anaheim, from Vancouver to Tampa Bay. Visually, it opens a remarkable window onto the game, even if the picture isn’t pretty all the way across. Okay, okay, so maybe it’s not just our game anymore – but do we really need those cheerless cheerleaders-on-skates in Dallas?