Thursday, October 07, 2004

Saving money (or saving face) at the NHL head office!

If it comes to penny pinching in Gary Bettman’s office, the first thing to go will probably be the Hockey News subscription. In a hard hitting editorial, Senior Writer, Mike Brophy called for Bettman to step (or be pushed) aside with or without a successful solution to the current impasse.

In a rather sharp and pointed compilation, Brophy painted a rather bleak picture of the league under the sixth president/commissioner since 1917. Brophy recounts the many troubles in the NHL under Bettman’s watch, the sour labour relations with the players, a strike by the officials during a playoff run and franchises that are losing less money by not actually icing a team. Brophy examines an American TV footprint that has dwindled year by year, to the point that should the league ever return to the stadiums, the next US deal will feature no money up front.

Brohpy looks at the current state of the league as dire, featuring a tired product on the ice and a fan base that seems to be falling off city by city, pointing to a league in crisis. All of which happened under the watch of Gary Bettman.

The most damning comment in the article is the suggestion that the current stalemate is all about saving face for the Commissioner, nothing to do with saving hockey. He ends the blistering editorial with a call for Bettman to be replaced; stepping aside in Brophy’s opinion is the best that Gary Bettman has to offer.

It’s doubtful that the Commissioner will be taking Brophy’s advice, doubtful that Brophy will get an exclusive interview with the embattled President and even more doubtful that you’ll find a subscription to the Hockey News in the Bettman hockey stocking this Christmas.

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