Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daly turns aside queries over NHL's financial prognosis

We join today's play by play in progress...

Daly deftly turns aside McCown's shot from the point, neatly deflecting away Brunt's slap at the rebound, yet another a stellar performance by the Deputy Commissioner as he survives the entire sixty minutes of play with nary a shot behind him...

That in a nutshell could sum up the appearance of Bill Daly, Gary Bettman's right hand guy on Prime Time Sports on Wednesday, as the Deputy Commissioner faced off against hosts Bob McCown and Stpehen Brunt over a number of NHL issues, the bulk of which revolved around the current economic situation and the NHL's place in it.

The topic of the NHL and unravelling of the business plans of some of the southern teams, combined with the economic meltdown currently underway has been of some interest to the hosts of Prime Time sports for a number of weeks if not months.

Perhaps Daly had a primer of what to expect if he had picked up the Globe and Mail on Tuesday and had a look at the article that Stephen Brunt put together for the paper and its website. It was a finely crafted examination of the state of the NHL at this moment in time, one that traced many of the NHL's current problem areas, comparing Gary Bettman's stand that all is well to that of the Larry Smith era of the desperate days of the CFL. A time when American expansion marked the darkest days for the iconic Canadian league, a desperate bid to stay afloat and one that almost wrote the league's obituary.

Through his article Tuesday, Brunt outlined the state of hockey in the sunbelt which it seems is facing the same kind of problems that Mr. Smith's CFL did when it invaded the south, a certain lack of interest in the product, that is leading to an even larger problem of a lack of cash flow.

Wednesday, he and McCown tried to pry some details from the smooth deflections of Daly, without much success. Try as they might, there was no admission that the Bettman strategy of the southern footprint hasn't been a success and in fact it would appear that the plan is to try and keep those franchises in place come whatever may be on the horizon.

That could however soon be subject to change as the economic gyrations yet to come, change the financial landscape far beyond hockey. As Brunt points out in his article for the Globe, a day of reckoning could be nigh for the NHL.

But judging by Wednesdays appearance on Prime Time Sports, we had best not expect any signs of public worry from the NHL head office, they may be thinking differently in private back in the New York highrise offices, but in a Toronto radio studio on Wednesday it was full steam ahead.

Which sounds rather familiar of a day when the unsinkable Titanic chugged ahead no matter what, damn those icebergs anyways...

You can listen along through the Fan's podcast, as First Mate Daly keeps the engines moving full steam ahead, part of the final hour of Wednesday's Prime Time sports.

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