Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Around the League: Bettman's Personal Vendetta. . .

Worth a read:


I have really been too busy to write much, but I still catch a radio broadcast now and again. Last week, the guy I only know as the Moje/(the Moge?), went on a rant about Bettman. It was a common theme as he was filling in for Rick Ball. My favorite line about Bettman:

"Why don't you stop being such a condescending ass. Do you think the fans and the media are stupid. Maybe if you told the truth, people would respect you more."

I love it!

Because the truth is, without getting into more than I can handle right now, Bettman is just that - a condescending ass. I've never once thought that he wasn't talking down to everyone - we as fans, the media, the collective hockey world.

And I've always felt like saying, look, Gary, this league has survived and in some ways improved, but it's not because of you. It really has nothing to do with you.

That is one thing Canadians and I will always see eye to eye on, dislike for the commissioner. I just love that some of those in the Canadian media have no fear of saying it.

Keep an ear open today as news leaks out about the Coyotes. My personal opinion is biased. I have heard Gretzky will only coach the Coyotes if they are in Phoenix. I think they have a good young core that, if given a little time, can really be a solid playoff contender. So for that reason I'd love them to stay.

However, to say there shouldn't be another team in Canada is ludicrous. What is the stat - that the 6 teams in Canada alone make for like 20% of the league's revenue. Oh, sure, Gary, they don't need another team. Let's count on NJ, Atlanta, and Tampa to keep selling out their arenas. Oh wait.

Yeah. I could got on for hours on this, but I won't. Stay tuned.


Kerri said...

But you can't over extend the market, either. Look at New York; one team did the trick, and the expansion teams still struggle to fill the arena... Devils even when playing great hockey. The Winnipeg Jets moved for a reason; they had very very poor television ratings and were the smallest market in the league.

The problem is we have too many teams and not enough places to put them where they will truly exceed. The NHL needs to start a grassroots movement in areas by putting AHL teams and starting youth hockey programs BEFORE relocation a team, so the team is actually wanted and welcome, say in a place like Phoenix. And they need to insist on good management decisions and great scouting (Maybe like a probation period?) to get a good team going. See, bad teams never work out in non-traditional hockey markets. See the Pheonix Coyotes.

And these bad decisions are a direct result of Gary Bettman. I. Hate. Him.

(And this is why the Rangers aren't the pets of the league. When we win, it hurts Bettman's cause. One less big market team taking up a playoff spot that the Atlanta Thrashers needs in order to get some fans. Because the Rangers will always have fans. And then everyone laughs about Crosby being drafted "on purpose" to the Penguins, and that "the refs hate the Rangers" and even though it may be silly, in the back of your mind you have to see the connection that the Rangers being good hurts the league, in Bettman's crazy head. Not shouting conspiracy, but you know...)

kels said...

I understand the supersaturation concept. I'm just not sure it would apply in Canada's largest market.
In New York metro, there does seem to be too many teams, and too few fans for them. Because, as we well know, almost everyone wants to be a Rangers fan, even though I can't for the life of me figure out why... (although of course, when they get it right, and it's all glorious, then I do know exactly why).
The Islanders and Devils both suffered in attendance here, at times, but even how much I want to say that was due to fickle and fareweather fans, I have to at least consider it was more a combination of "getting there" and not having enough interest or good enough teams to put themselves through the torture of getting there.
In Canada, if they were outside a market, fans would still travel to see a junior or a high school game. Anything for the sport of hockey. So I have to believe that two teams in some areas of Canada, especially Ontario south, wouldn't even come close to supersaturation.
Maybe Quebec couldn't support a team as well as Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto, but it still saddens me they don't have one. Winnipeg, I'll be honest, I wasn't as sure of the details there. That province is so tucked away in middle Canada, maybe they couldn't draw as well. I am not suggesting putting a team in the Maritimes either.
But outside Toronto, even with Buffalo just over the border, I still think they'd have no trouble filling an arena and getting a lengthy waiting list for a second team. Even if people were die-hard Leaf fans, I think they'd still grab any hockey they could if they'd been on a waiting list of the Leafs for a decade and maybe get to go to a game or two a year.
As for the Phoenix situation, goodness knows what doomed it the most. The arena in Glendale instead of Phoenix proper. The lack of connectivity with the fans. The lack of hockey background, although it does seem that they were going in the right direction there. I guess the bottom line is, I didn't even realize they had been there for 12 years already - 12 years! They should have made better decisions and cared more to start, that much is obvious.
And a shame.
We'll see what happens, I guess.
And, Kerri, you know I'd agree with you on Bettman. Of course he's made horrible decisions. And you can tell there is something behind the Rangers. And I'm not shouting conspiracy theory, although ...well...you never know. But for the interest of the NHL to peak at the time the Rangers won the Cup, and watch it decline in Bettman's tenure, is saddening. Worse, Bettman lying through his teeth saying that the Rangers being successful would do nothing to help the state of the league. I just don't see that. I mean I'm a Rangers fan and I get annoyed when they are on NBC every single weekend for the Sunday game, but you can see why they do it. NY has the numbers. If the NYR were ever really good and relevant again, it would mean good things for the league. So SOMEONE gets it.
But I do think your idea on what is going on in HIS messed up mind is very interesting. Very interesting indeed. Because it's obvious that he is very much in favor of keeping all struggling US franchises at any cost.
However, I more think it's a case of a bitter, stubborn man being, well, bitter and stubborn. No matter what a disgrace it makes him look like.