Thursday, June 28, 2007

Something needs to be done about Gary Bettman

When Gary Bettman left the NBA for the NHL a lot of people said that the reason David Stern let him go was that the NHL was (then) competing pretty aggresssively with the NBA, and Stern needed a Trojan horse to bring the hockey league to its knees.

It seemed a silly joke at the time, but wow, it seems more and more plausible every day doesn't it?

Word is Craig Leipold has "decided" (i.e. been brow-beaten by Bettman et al) to take $50 million LESS for the Nashville Predators than offered recently by Jim Balsillie of Research in Motion fame. That's right, it seems an owner whose been hemorraging money for years on this ill-advised adventure in Music City is going to leave $50 million on the table.

"To keep them in Nashville?", you ask (incredulously, I'm sure). No. Seems the powers that be have decided that one NHL team failing in Kansas City wasn't enough, and they'd like to see another team go down in flames there rather than send a team somewhere where it will, you know, SUCCEED. (Do you even remeber the Kansas City Scouts??? Exactly.)

The NHL would, it appears, rather see a long-suffering owner (whose done his bit to try to make hockey succeed in a market that doesn't care) lose out on $50 million so that another owner can experience the joy of failing in a market that doesn't care about hockey. All to keep a team out of Southern Ontario. We now live in a world where Florida and California have 5 NHL teams and Ontario and Quebec have three, and it seems clear that the powers that be would rather run the league into the ground trying to sell hockey to people who don't care, rather than giving hockey to people who are salivating to hand over their hard-earned money for it. All out of some delusion that a half empty rink of bored spectators in the U.S. is somehow better for the NHL than a sold out rink of excited hockey fans that happens to be North of a line on the map. As though the potential (unrealized for DECADES) of 10,000 spectators a night and no corporate sponsorship in a 300 million person country with huge corporations will EVER be better than the reality of 20,000 fans and ACTUAL corporate support in a country of 33 million. The Stanley Cup finals can't even outdraw Gold Cup soccer in the U.S. (SOCCER people) even when the hockey is on NBC broadcast in English and the soccer is on Univision broadcast in Spanish. Bettman is clearly living in some fantasy world in which somehow decades of declining interest and increasing national ridicule in the U.S. is going to be turned around by moving the league back to cities that rejected the sport years ago (Bettman's motto: "If at first you don't succeed, stay the course." To Gary, it's the universe that's wrong, not him, and he's more than willing to wait for the universe to change, dammit).

Now, kvetching about Bettman is damn near our third national sport, and who doesn't LOVE seeing the guy booed everywhere he goes (the only credit I DO give Bettman is that he is generally pretty good-natured in public about the fact that everyone who cares about hockey hates him). However, now it's not even funny anymore. The man needs to be stopped. Someone has to save hockey from these people, and I think we need to start having a national discussion about what we can all do to help.

Any sugestions?

Maybe someone should start by suing Bettman for collusion with Stern to bring down the NHL. It wouldn't fly (it really is just a joke) but maybe the optics alone would be enough to finally run the guy out of town. I'd also like to investigate ways to ban Bettman from entering Canada. A message needs to be sent, and I'd love to hear your suggestions on how to send it!

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Aeneas the Younger said...

Please God, "rid me this meddlesome Priest!"

What and who keeps him in his position?

bi Hung said...

d) Clean water supply systems; sewage systems; and wastewater and waste collecting and handling systems;

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