Thursday, January 31, 2008

It’s Been How Long?

(x-posted to flyers.femme)

Tomorrow is February 1, 2008.
It’s sure to be one of the worst days in the history of the National Hockey League.

What did we do to deserve this? Is it, perhaps, the trade-off for bearing witness to the greatness of the Great One? Whether or not that is the case, how much longer must it continue?

In case you’re a hockey newbie or just crawled out from under Fraggle Rock thanks to the help of the Electric Company, these lamentations mean it’s been 15 years since Gary Bettman became the NHL Commissioner.

(You have no idea how painful that is to type! Gary Bettman. Fifteen years. NHL Commissioner. No end in sight. I see it and I still cannot make sense of it.)

Here’s a short list of what has been flagrantly stolen from hockey fans under the Bettman Reign:

a.) NHL teams in Hartford, Quebec City, and Winnipeg;

b.) Conference and division names that embody the personality and history of hockey;

c.) Goalies playing as if they were the sixth man on the ice;

d.) The ability to watch an NHL game in the U.S. on the country’s major sports channel throughout the week; and,

e.) The very reputation of the sport, due to two lock-outs in a single decade.

In light of what some fans see as felonious mismanagement by Commissioner Bettman of the job he was selected to do, I ask the hockey faithful to consider an increase of complaints on this sad anniversary. Bring an end to the madness and restore the coolest sport on the planet!

Therefore, I move that:

1.) The placement of any new expansion teams or teams being relocated from poor-attendance markets in the U.S.A. must first be considered for (a) cities which lost their teams during the Bettman Years and/or (b) other Canadian sites.

At least two of the teams which suffered this dire fate were in the midst of a recession in Canada. It was not so much that there weren’t enough fans, but rather a lack of funds. Currently, on any given day, the Canadian dollar is equal or slightly better than the U.S. one.

2.) The names Adams, Campbell, Norris, Patrick, Smythe and Prince of Wales shall be re-instated. Additional names for the two new divisions created through expansion may be taken from other historically-appropriate hockey figures or trophies;

3.) The goalie trapezoid shall be removed from the ice;

4.) Because the score for many games in the 2007-08 season have more closely resembled baseball scores than traditional ones for hockey, all discussion of enlarging the goal shall cease and a moratorium lasting to infinity shall take effect;

5.) The recently renewed broadcast agreement with Versus shall be reviewed and inquires shall be made with ESPN/ABC. If a deal can be reached with ESPN, the contract with Versus shall be shortened or bought out so that the sport can reach more viewers in the U.S.;

6.) Because leadership can lose relevancy and/or efficacy after too much time in office, an individual may hold the post of National Hockey League Commissioner for a ten (10) year period, commencing with his/her first day serving the appointment as said Commissioner.

He/she may hold a subsequent five (5) year extension term as Commissioner provided no lock-out or game stoppages related to contract disputes occurred during his/her tenure; and

7.) Future National Hockey League Commissioners should have a working knowledge of the game and fan culture prior to being nominated for the post.


Paige said...

Uh oh, that's my sister's birthday, I'll make sure she doesn't see that until later...

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fire said...

Bettman's gotta go!!!!!!!!!!

squawky said...

Amen to that (Nadine AND fire) -- we're lucky there's an NHL at all with bettman at the helm.

(signed, an angry Whalers fan)

Cat said...

Hear, hear!

Shan said...

I like the trapezoid, but I think we should trap Bettman, then tell him he can't leave the crease, shoot Fox-track-pucks at him, and put him in some quicksand.

Heather B. said...

Here’s a short list of what has been flagrantly stolen from hockey fans under the Bettman Reign: a.) NHL teams in Hartford, Quebec City, and Winnipeg

I'm not a fan of Bettman overall - I think his tendency to put a smiley face on everything does a disservice to fans and the league - but just to balance the above, he did also show a big commitment to keeping the Sabres in Buffalo and the Penguins in Pittsburgh during those franchises recent financial/ownership problems.

Also, while I hated the lockout - as any good hockey fan would - it hardly killed the sport. Revenues have improved since the pre-lockout season, much quicker than people expected and franchise values have increased a ton and a half since he took over.

He also helped open up the game when players, coaches, and fans complained that it was boring and killing the skill players.

Again, I think there's a lot of bad - he's pompous, I'm not sure he really "gets" the game or its fans, and I'm not big on all the expansion that's gone on in the last decade - but one of the worst days in the history of the NHL? I don't, that seems a little much.

(Of course, I kind of get a kick out of the fact that the game has grown despite not being on ESPN. Screw ESPN, I say! :D)

Nadine said...

HB: I am happy he stood by the Sabres and Pens, too. (Otherwise, there would be no Battle of PA.) I'm also happy that the skill players have more of a venue, too. (Contrary to popular myth, not all Flyers fans believe we need to pound on other people.)

However, we'll agree to disagree over the lock-outs impacts and the current TV deal.

And I did mean the reference to today being one of the worst days in NHL history as a small bit of hyperbole. I just can't believe he's be in that long! :)

Heather B. said...

Nadine, I figured there was at least some hyperbole in there :-) And I totally agree with your shock that it's been 15 years and your eagerness to move on to someone else. I guess there's just a little tiny part of me that will always appreciate him really fighting to keep the Sabres in Buffalo. Of course that part of me is in constant battle with the part of me that was always hate him for refusing to review the series-winning goal in the '99 Cup Finals so really it's a wash :D

Lucky13 said...

Well summarized, Nadine. I especially agree with you on the goalie trapezoid. Stay in the crease, or you are fair game. No more safety zone for these divas. There's no reason for the goalies to come out to play the puck. That's what the defensemen are for. It shouldn't be a penalty if they leave the crease, but it also shouldn't be a penalty if somebody levels them.

Nadine said...

Lucky13: I agree but for a slightly different, two-part reason.

1.If your goalie can play outside the crease and wants to do it, fantastic for your team. (Like you said, no whining if the dude's hit.)

2.a. If he can't, surely he has other skills that make him valuable to the club.

2.b. And if that isn't the case, your team can always take advantage of something called a "trade."