With a lockout looming and looking more certain as each day passes, the NHL’s universe is quickly splitting into the standard factions of “It’s the greedy owners’ fault!” vs. “It’s those stupid players’ fault!” as the people caught in between try to figure out how this could happen just one year after the NFL and NBA terrified their fans. The answer, according to one Canadian columnist, is that the NHL’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, is a man hellbent on ruling his league with an iron fist.
The only problem is that he doesn’t have the moon-sized testicles of Roger Goodell, nor does he have the maniacal “F*CK YOU!” attitude of David Stern. Nope, Bettman’s just a clown that works in favor of the NHL owners who provide the big bucks, according to the Ottowa Citizen’s Jack Todd.
This time, it is Bettman who has presented an entirely irrational plan, one the NHL players’ association would be mad to accept – and it is PA executive director Donald Fehr who responded with a propos-al so rational, so well thought out, that we actually hoped Bettman might accept it, at least as a starting point for a new approach.
There is no rationale whatsoever for the coming lockout. The only problem – the only problem – is that the rich owners don’t want to share some of their largesse with struggling, small-market franchises. They’d rather take it out of the players’ hide, which is where Bettman comes in: bilking the players is his specialty.
As Todd points out, Bettman indeed learned from his Sith Emperor in Stern, but the problem that everyone seems to be ignoring is that if the NHL has a lockout, it’s going to be considerably harder for the league to win fans back than it was for the NFL (which didn’t lose any regular season games) and NBA (lost a quarter of its season),
Also, that “so rational” proposal that Donald Fehr offered is only rational if the alternative was being mauled by grizzly bears. Like Bettman’s proposal, Fehr’s proposal clearly favored his side. Fehr’s was simply designed to look like a better mutual offer. Either way, tick tock, you hosers. D-Day coming in 26 days.