Here Comes That Vomit Again

Before I get to the meat of the post, an apology on the spam taking over our forums. We’ve addressed it, we think we’ve taken the steps to prevent it from happening again. Stick with us, we’ll get it right.

Ok, usually we like to run pictures with every post. Looks nice and all. But I just couldn’t bring myself to look at Gary Bettman right now. It’s been mentioned a little last night and some today, but the Commish’s appearance at the Hall of Fame Ceremony was nothing short of sickening.

I know, it would have looked awkward for the commissioner to not be at his league’s Hall induction. But that absence would have been washed over by the occasion. No one would worry about Gary being absent while Joe Sakic or Adam Oates or Mats Sundin were giving their speeches. It would have passed seamlessly.

But Gary couldn’t have that.

Not only could Gary not have that, but he had to speak. While I get that it’s customary for someone holding his job title to address the gathering at one of the league’s most hallowed events, sometimes circumstances get in the way. Having the head of the Hall of Fame or a different emcee would have been more than acceptable.

And to make the ultimate middle finger to anyone associated with the game, Gary’s speech mentioned “the dark times we’re in now.” As if the league had been waylaid by a tsunami or earthquake or outbreak of plague amongst its players that was keeping it from operating. As if it was something we just had to all pull together to get through.

The amount of tone-deafness here is utterly staggering. No responsibility, no humility, no common sense. Not only did Betts think he was utterly indispensable to on occasion he could only sully, but that is was fine if he could use it — however briefly — as another stage to make a point. And to say that the league is in “dark times” makes it seem like it has nothing to do with him for being so. As if this was done to him as much as it was to us.

No one is bigger than the sport, no matter how much he may try and convey that or bend and break it to his will (which he hasn’t really been able to do in his near 20 years in charge anyway). But this was an attempt to be so. It couldn’t go on without him, that was the message within Gary’s skewed mind. Does he even know where reality is any more? And by speaking, he made it impossible to ignore all the toxins and anger that surrounds the game right now. No one could have one night to just remember some of the things that are and were great about the NHL.

Contrast that with Don Fehr refusing to talk to the press and leaving early so as to avoid yet another media horde. While Fehr isn’t blameless in all this, he at least knows where these fights and tactics belong. And that wasn’t last night. But then again, Fehr has something of a grip on how the world works.

You wonder how a deal will ever get done when not only is the main man so deluded, but he thinks he is the NHL, and the NHL is him. Everything then becomes a referendum on him, not on the league. No wonder Fehr has twisted him into bits, because it’s easy to threaten someone with an ego so large.

Just sickening.

 

  • Ian S Carr

    Things I don’t think I’ve ever heard before: Fehr has something of a grip on how the world works.

    • Black JEM

      Oh, he has a grip on negotiating. And he can be good on the PR front. But he is human, and like all labor leaders he has a very real problem in permanently injuring the host. He led baseball through its decline. Now he will help stop hockey’s ascent. The players are certainly entitled to that. But the consequences are what they are. Not a single one of those players has a financial investment in the league being successful. Strange how Mario saw the other side real quick once he stopped playing.

      I’m angry with both sides because there was a deal here to be made and neither Bettman or Fehr could see it, or make their sides see it. We will never really know who to blame, Fehr’s unwillingness to start early suggests something, but outside of that, who knows.

      • 334Rules

        I have to say that this — “Not a single one of those players has a financial investment in the league being successful.” — is a ridiculous statement. Many of them have a future interest in long-term contracts that are being placed in jeopardy three ways. First, by losing a year towards their eventual retirement. Second, by the league’s attempts to alter the terms of those deals. Third, by a decline in league popularity and revenue which makes it impossible to sign future lucrative contracts. You also seem to suggest that the players are parasites. But the owners are getting rich off the players blood and sweat. This is a symbiotic, not a parasitic relationship.

        • AirTrafficAJ

          Absolutely.

      • birdhead

        He led baseball through its decline. Now he will help stop hockey’s ascent.

        Hey, who’s that guy who’s presided over three lockouts? Jeeze, his name’s on the tip of my tongue …

  • adelfiacco10

    Every time I see Bett’s face nowadays, I try to imagine the look on it when the next Stanley Cup-winning captain (hopefully) refuses to hoist it unless he backs the fuck away from it.

    • 334Rules

      That would be awesome. Tazer just glares at him: “Back the fuck away, asshole. You defile the chalice with your touch.”

  • OMFS88

    Wasn’t it just last year where he was on the pre-game broadcast prior to a playoff game praising the state of the league and quoting stats which showed it to be as prosperous as ever? Self-inflicted dark times, indeed.

  • justforkicks

    my level of how much i just can’t has gone through the roof.

  • laaarmer

    Adam Oates over Larmer? Fuck the NHL and anyone who owns, runs, or plays in it.

  • DesertHawk

    I just want to be able to watch NHL hockey again. And then talk about it with you folks. :(

  • Z-man19

    This is why the owners stay silent. Most of the anger is directed at uncle Gary and not them.