It’s time to walk the talk…why do the facts contradict the lip service?



It's an exciting start for Israeli hockey!

It's an exciting start for Israeli hockey!

Gary Bettman says he speaks the truth…whether it is related to the MLSE veto, or the fact he had no influence on the Board of Governors’ rejection of Jim Balsillie……quite simply, he is full of it as the morning show boys had said the fans would say! But don’t worry, according to Gary Bettman, “our fans” don’t want to hear it anymore, as it is bad for the game!

 What seems clearer is that there needs to be something in it for the NHL, or it’s partners. That’s the issue that floats the boat.


Critics of Jim Balsillie said he waived the Canadian flag, when all he wanted to do is get a team in one province… some Balsillie was not doing this for Canada…..well,  he could certainly  put to rest that criticism!


What can be said about a commissioner of a sport who likely believes what he says, but speaks a lingo and language that contradicts reality?

The crazy truth is a conversation with Gary Bettman, without knowing the facts, might actually lead to one believing he has a grasp on the situation. Of course, we know the truth, he doesn’t. But to listen to him, he is almost convincing.

show-morningshow_200x75Take the morning show interview with Landry and Stellick. Bettman was able to handle himself in a way that someone on the outside of reality would think he sounded convincing.

Again, true hockey people know the difference between reality and the Bettman reality. Economics and “Bettmanomics”. Franchises in trouble vs. franchises “never in jeopardy”.

Let’s first look at the interview in a little more depth.

Gary Bettman seems to talk a lot about “our fans”. When Landry and Stellick tried to tell him that the fans in southern Ontario were not happy and wanted to have discussion about Gary’s take on their view, Bettman was quick to say that “the fans” are tired of hearing this.

The Fan boys said No, we want to hear about this, and the phones and emails suggest it.

But no, Bettman was adamant that “the fans”, “our fans” as he put it just wanted this to go away.

The question is, “who are his fans”? The fans outside southern Ontario? Or fans including southern Ontario, because he doesn’t seem to want to listen to a radio station plunked smack dab in the middle of the fans that the commissioner says are not interested.

If we are to believe someone here, would we listen to the radio boys getting the emails and calls and show of interest, or the commissioner of the league that might get emails, etc, but not necessarily from southern Ontario?

Commissioner Bettman says that the league is not going to expand in the middle of a recession into Hamilton, and he does not want to dilute the competitiveness of the game by increasing the number of teams.

We have 30 teams, 30 or so more players in a league of 900 plus (sorry don’t know the true numbers) is going to make a huge difference? As the morning show boys pointed out, it couldn’t get more diluted anyhow, so it wouldn’t make a difference.

There is so much hockey talent out there still. We are talking about the world here. 900 players from a world of billions is not diluting the “talent pool”. Making the NHL is like winning the lottery. Very, very tough.

Bettman has claimed that the games have been terrific, and he is happy with the performance. Did he happen to watch the Toronto – Ottawa sleeper last Saturday? That was far from entertaining for the fans who dropped a $1000 for the best seats, with concessions and parking, etc.

On the issue of the MLSE veto, everybody has testified the veto exists, including Eugene Melnyk, yet Bettman says his interview was “miscast”. Well, the only definition of “miscast” I see in the dictionary describes an actor’s role that should not have been given to that particular actor.

If that is the case, Bettman is right, it should not have been Melnyk given the “role” to make that up. Bettman himself can “act” better and convince the audience of the “fantasy” that doesn’t match the facts or reality.

It is getting really tiresome, isn’t it? When is someone going to say enough is enough to the leadership of an NHL that thinks it has a stranglehold of the elite hockey world?

Expanding into southern Ontario in a recession is not a good idea according to Bettman. Not even if, as pointed out, there is actually a demand for the product. A demand that would mean immediate profits for a league that continues to give away the ship, just as fast as it hangs it’s poor owners out to dry.

But don’t forget about the fans. “Our fans” that the league will not abandon.

Same old, same old.

There are a couple things that really need to happen.

Like in the expansion years of the WHA, competition needs to jolt the NHL into reality.

As in this article, Jim Balsillie can simply say enough is enough, let’s give them some competition:

“I’m not going to tell him what to do, but his money would be better served if he did,” Vanderbilt University sports economist John Vrooman said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “He could call it the Northern Hockey League or maybe the southern Ontario Hockey League.

“He could put Hamilton right at the middle of it. Winnipeg wants hockey [back] … they could have the Jets, the new WHA Jets or something. . . . He’s smart enough that he can figure this out.”

Bettman has made it clear that the NHL is not looking for expansion or to abandon markets.

Of course this flies again in the face of true economic reality, including the lack of confidence the NHL has in Phoenix with the one year out clause for the lease.

If the NHL truly didn’t want to abandon it’s fans, it would guarantee success and take on the obligation of the arena lease, as a league, and walk the talk. Put the money where there has only been lip service. Reality has not matched rhetoric in Bettman’s NHL.

Let’s look to Dallas, where you can enhance your wardrobe at the same time as taking in the game.OttoberfestFlyer_web3

Okay Mr. Bettman, do the math for us won’t you? How are the owners in the poorer markets supposed to survive the recession you speak of?

Not your money, is it, Mr. Bettman?

Unlike the morning show boys, some of us do not have to worry about “how we word this”, do we?

Let’s look at the Lightning, “Big Night Out” package. Giving away the ship there, with 40 home dates, will add up to how much revenue for the year?

When do the prices go to where they truly need to get to, to ensure the survival, of not the franchise, but the deep pocket owners that are being tapped?

Same old, same old, and getting hard to continue to stomach.

Jim Balsillie still has the Make it Seven page up.

I am hoping it is because he seriously is looking for an answer and his next move.

My hope is the next move is to bring in another league, like the KHL, as the Canadian pioneer. And, no, I am not smoking crack, thanks much to the comment from Michigan.

We are talking about a talent pool the world over.

Canadians are even helping to develop hockey in Israel. The Canada Center is the only rink there, but check this out:

canada centerThe Canada Center’s Olympic sized skating rink is the only one in Israel. It has been upgraded so that it meets international standards. You don’t just have to go to the Canada Center for the ice hockey; there is also a great indoor pool, bowling, a shooting range, a cafe for snacks and a whole lot more. A great day out, with or without the hockey stick!

….That’s right, the Canada Center in Metulla, up at the northern tip of Israel, will be holding the Jewish Ice Hockey Championships with six countries competing for the title of the best of Jewish ice hockey – USA, Canada, France, Russia, the UK and Israel.

International hockey is not a far stretch, and Jim Balsillie could be huge in it’s development in Canada.

Expanding that resource into true hockey markets in Canada is really a no brainer, not a “dilution” issue.

Until there are enough Canadian teams, you could have a structure like the MLB. Three game series over the course of a few days or even a week. Travelling would then not be the biggest issue.

Bettman’s take on the Olympics is that in a few years, when the games will be broadcast at 4 AM to 2PM in the afternoon, this would mean nobody would be interested enough to make it good for the game. He is kidding right?

state of our sportOf course not, it is Gary Bettman’s view of reality once again, not that of the rest of the world.

Kind of like the notion that expansion into Hamilton during a recession is not a good idea. Bettmanomics 101 – don’t do anything that might actually make monetary sense.

It would appear the protection of the game, is a protection of the American interest in the game, best illustrated by this cartoon.

The question really is, who are “our fans” of which Bettman speaks?

Cmon Jim Balsillie, the only way in is through another door altogether.

When the commissioner is out we look at merging with the NHL. Then, but only then.

As a final note, Gary Bettman says the fans in small market Canada (Edmonton, Calgary, heck anywhere there is a team, really) appreciate the NHL. Okay, let’s get comments from them to support the NHL, shall we? Would that be the same small markets that are sustaining the revenues? Just wondering.


One response to “It’s time to walk the talk…why do the facts contradict the lip service?

  1. Right on Craig. It’d be funny if it wasnt so transparently manipulative. He pushes peoples emotional buttons then justifys’ all with what he rationalizes as plausible deniability. His backs to wall. Interesting to see if he surrenders gracefully and executes a gradual relocation strategy or falls on his sword.

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