Monday, October 22, 2012

The Gang of Four: Gary Bettman edition

When Gary Bettman looks up and down the owners table in New York, he can at least tell his Board of Governors employers that despite all the labour strife of the moment, he's still keeping hockey as a topic of discussion when it comes to the big four sports.

Though perhaps not for any of the right reasons.

The Cornish who has taken the NHL to the mattresses for the fourth time during his reign (20 years this February!), still resonates with sports writers, where developments from the New York offices still make for interesting copy and fascinating story ideas.

Sadly for hockey fans, it seems the bulk of that copy kind of makes hockey look like a muddled mess, though Mr. Bettman can take comfort as he has company, oh does he have company.

Grantland's Bill Simmons recently posted a well thought out article called A Hierarchy of Hypocrites, mainly it's about Roger Goodell and his fascinating mis-steps with the NFL this season. Proof that even an entity that is nothing but a licence to print money sometimes finds ways to cause observers to go huh, what?

It's a must read for anyone who wants some insight into the world of pro sports. A world which somehow survives, despite those that actually run the leagues that fleece the flock, er, offer up fine entertainment for the fans.

And while the article is mostly about Roger, with a smattering of Bud and a healthy heaping of David added to the mix, it's the items of note about the NHL's boss man that we found particularly interesting, informative and entertaining.

Among the observations:

And then there's Gary Bruce Bettman, the serial killer of the National Hockey League, someone who keeps murdering games and seasons without being caught. He's only missing a catchy/creepy nickname like the Zamboni Killer or the Canadian Bogeyman. 

Meanwhile, Gary Bettman will celebrate his 20th anniversary next February as (a) the NHL's commissioner, and (b) David Stern's mole with direct orders to turn hockey into a second-class sport. For all we know, he might be Brody and Stern might be Abu Nazir. Don't believe me? FOUR WORK STOPPAGES IN 20 YEARS!!!!! 

At this point, Bettman would lose any election to any human being with even rudimentary hockey connections unless it was the actor who played Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson in D2: The Mighty Ducks. 

And Simmons didn't even mention the House of Cards financials that some of the member clubs seem to feature these days, nested in locations that don't actually seem to have an interest in the sport to begin with.

It all makes for an interesting character study into the ownership of the league, this is the man they have chosen to be the guy holding the compass?

Somehow it seems apparent as to how they got so lost in the woods...

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