Tag Archives: Gary Bettman

All-Star Game Baby Naming

In just nine months from now, the NHL all-star game, which normally would be held at this time, won’t be because if all goes well, players will be suiting up as Olympians in Sochi instead.

So women everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they can get pregnant and not miss any all-star action because they’ll be in the delivery room.

You can, however, name the new baby Bettman or Sochi if you want.

Last year’s all-star game was supposed to take place in Columbus, but didn’t because of that little hiccup called the lockout. So now it’ll be two full years without titillating drama, like the classic of two years ago when Team Lidstrom edged Team Staal 11-10.

I was on the edge of my seat. The edge of the porta potty I always bring into the living room so I don’t miss anything.

Have you ever considered the name Porta Potty for your baby?

When the games are played, it’s heart-stopping drama, as we saw in 2009 when the Eastern Conference team beat the Western Conference 12-11, or 1993, when the Wales Conference clobbered the Campbell Conference 16-6.

Unfortunately, very few parents wanted to name their babies Wales, although I think there’s quite a few Campbells. But no Drama. Maybe there’s the odd kid in Hollywood called Drama. There’s Moroccan and Exton, so why not Drama?

It wasn’t always football scores in all-star games. When the format meant the Stanley Cup champs against the best of the rest, both sides wanted bragging rights, so the games were serious and hard-hitting. In fact, the record for lowest amount of goals scored occurred in 1956, when the Cup champion Habs and the NHL elite tied 1-1.

The Rocket scored for Montreal, while Terrible Ted Lindsay did the same for the NHL.

Surprisingly, I’ve yet to run into anyone born in 1956 named Rocket or Terrible. But there are a ton of people named Richard and Lindsay out there.

Things were also deadly serious in 1979 when NHL players played a three-game series against the Soviet squad called the Challenge Cup, which saw the foreigners take two of three games, including a 6-0 whitewashing in the deciding game..

If you were born in 1979, is your name Challenge? Or Foreigner? Or Helmut Balderis?

And for the record, my daughter was born just after this series. We named her Shannon. My wife wasn’t much of a hockey fan.

 

 

Mr. Campbell Talks Habs, Parity, And Expansion

It’s the Habs in Newark tonight, and it’s anybody’s guess what we’ll see from the gang that sometimes can’t shoot straight.

I’m not even going to try.

One thing is certain, though. The team that went to the Stanley Cup finals last year was the New Jersey Devils, and one year later they’re not even making the playoffs.

Teams can’t remain strong. Players become UFA and are gone to the highest bidder. New Jersey lost Zach Parise because Minnesota came along and threw 98 million over 13 years at him.

Do you like this sort of thing? Do you enjoy the fact that with the way the league is now, it can be Stanley Cup finalists one year, bums the next?

It’s parity at it’s finest. Gary Bettman’s dream. No dynasties. Everyone the same. Here today, gone tomorrow. Yawn.

I’ve talked about this before, and some disagreed and that’s fine. My opinion, which hasn’t changed, is that I think there should be an absolute powerhouse in the mix, a team others yearn to beat, and one which fans come out to see, boo, and hope like hell for a whipping. That’s the way it was for many years with the Canadiens. Everyone wanted to beat them, and it was a feather in anyone’s cap when they did.

Clarence Campbell felt this way too, as you can see in this 1959 interview I found in my trunk, entitled “Canadiens Are Good For Hockey.”

“When the teams are all bunched up and battling for playoff berths the way they have this season, then I’m a happy man. It actually makes it easier for me. They’re so busy doing what they’re doing, and the rewards at stake are so great, they don’t have much time for misdemeanors.”

“Well, with the exception of Montreal, this is the kind of hockey race you must appreciate,” writer Ed Fitkin said.

“It’s a dream,” Campbell agreed, “but when you say ‘with the exception of Montreal,’ the only people who feel that way are the other teams. Actually, my view is that it’s an awful lot better to have a front-running team that will set a standard that everybody else has to shoot at. I’d far rather have one team away out in front than one away out behind.”

Later on in the interview, Campbell discusses the idea of expansion, which has nothing to do with what I was just talking about, but I think is fun regardless, coming from a much simpler time.

“Expansion,” declared Mr. Campbell, “is quite a problem. One of the things you must always keep in mind in connection with hockey is that the ideal league is six teams, combined with our present playoff system. That leaves two teams out of the playoffs but who are, as we always hope, constantly in the running. Now you add to the league, and have just one more team that isn’t going to make it. And the present formula for successful operation in hockey, and this applies to other leagues as well as our own, is that a six-team league is an ideal thing. Now that’s for a start. There are other considerations. And that is, if other cities do develop with the necessary facilities and the interest sufficient to pay what it costs to support a National Hockey League team, then of course they are obviously entitled to consideration, and if any such groups do evolve, we’ll have to do it. That, of course, raises the question of transportation, which is becoming more difficult all the time as far as the operational of the league is concerned. Then it might mean that we’d have to go to the air more.”

Campbell

 

 

 

Jim Ralph Found Another Way

I remember Jim Ralph when he was a goalie for the Ottawa 67′s in the 1970′s. He was never a great backstopper, and his career didn’t amount to much, just bouncing around the minors for a decade after junior, and he never made it to the bigs.

But there’s one thing about Jim Ralph – he’s a funny guy, which has led to many, many television gigs and speaking engagements around North America. Ralph settled in nicely, doing what he does best, after his playing days were finished.

Here’s a sampling, with Ken Dryden, Wayne Gretzky, Gary Bettman and others chuckling away and having a grand old time listening to him.

Seven Bucks

Yes, Gary Bettman’s vision of NHL in southern cities is definitely working out. If you’re a Florida Panthers fan.

The Panthers have announced their new ticket promotion and it goes like this: Buy a season ticket and games can be as low as $7 a ticket. This also includes free parking and a Panthers jersey. Total this and the three comes to $336.00 for all of the 48 games.

Now compare NHL rinks in Canada to what the Panthers are offering. Off the top of my head, maybe $100 a ticket, $30 for parking, and $200 for a jersey, which works out to $330 for ONE game. Then it’s another five grand or so for the remaining 47 games, plus parking.

With not a palm tree in sight. And scalpers prices? I don’t even want to go there. I can tell you first-hand, it hurts immensely.

Yes, it’s a great deal for hockey fans in Sunrise. Seven bucks a ticket? I’m glad I don’t own this franchise.

Hockey? I’m Not Ready Yet

I woke this morning to the news – that NHL brains have made a sharp u-turn and hockey will begin again, maybe on January 15, maybe on January 19. (Details can be found on 8,537 news and sports sites).

I’m not ready for this. I’m not finished talking about Gary Bettman and rich hockey players yet. It’s too soon. It’s only January and it’s cold. Hockey should be played where it’s hot, like in Phoenix and South Florida. And how am I supposed to blog about actual hockey games forty-eight or fifty times in the next while when I’m out of shape? Players need training camp? So do I.

I just hope Bruins fans and others don’t keep bringing up the shortened season after Montreal wins it all. It’s going to be a nice, handy excuse for them – that they were just getting going and if it was any longer, they would’ve made the Habs look like the German junior team. This is what we’re up against. It’s gonna suck but we have to be ready for it.

I really was in a no-NHL-state of mind. I’d learned to occupy myself other ways on nights when hockey wasn’t being played. Like watching Sportsnet and TSN go on and on and on about hockey not being played. Good, quality entertainment.

I’m worried for some. Scott Gomez was on a roll with his Alaska Aces, notching six goals and seven assists in just eleven games. Now what? Now he has to stop scoring again. You have to feel for the guy. And Brad Marchand is only halfway through his grade seven course and will have to either stop completely or do homework on planes.

Maybe I can help Marchand, with this advice that comes via Eddie Shack. When Shack was playing, one of his teammates in the dressing room asked him how far he got in school, and Eddie said grade eight. When the other player asked how he managed to get so far, Eddie said it was easy, he’d lend the teacher his car.

It’s not just Gomez or Marchand. They all have to go back to work now. I know this feeling. A nice two or three week holiday and then I’m back in the thick of things and it’s hard. The players have been laying around and golfing and traveling to New York for six months now. Imagine what they’re going through. Hopefully they were able to keep busy. David Booth probably had a nice time blowing bears’ brains out, and Evander Kane had a nice picture taken of himself in Las Vegas holding a couple of three inch wads of bills and pretending the money was a phone. Now that’s fine humour. That’s how you keep busy.

I feel for the owners. Now they have to act like nice people when they show up at their private boxes, and that means they’ll have to tip the $9 an hour person who brings them their 20-year old scotch. Hollywood people can act like they’re nice and normal because they’re actors. Owners don’t have this luxury. They have every other luxury, just not this one.

What about Russian fans who’ve been flocking to KHL games this year? My stepson Denis in St. Petersburg says hockey in Russia has never been so exciting and invigorating to fans there. Now these players who took jobs have to come back to North America and not take anybody’s job and fans in the old country will be left with the team that once was. It’ll take some getting used to. And it’ll be nice for the captain of St. Petersburg SKA to get his “C” back now that Ilya Kovalchuk won’t be needing it anymore.

Can Montreal do well this year? It’ll be a sprint instead of a marathon, and who knows? It depends on how many games before Andre Markov gets hurt, and whether the power play can score sometimes. Maybe Alex Galchenyuk will be in the lineup! Let’s just embrace what we’ll have – a short race to the finish line. It’ll be over before we know it. Then we can get back to what we’re used to – no hockey.

 

 

 

Raising The Cup

Cup

Unless these folks in New York decide to come to their senses, quit this nonsense, and give us a lousy 48 game asterisk season, maybe it’s just fine that the Cup probably won’t be awarded this year. The Habs aren’t quite ready yet. Next year they could be, and so thank you Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr and all the wild and crazy gang for not giving us hockey this year, thus allowing the Canadiens to blossom into a force to be reckoned with next year.

In fact, I think I’ll raise a cup right now. My coffee cup.

In the meantime, don’t just watch other sports, check sports betting options and make some quick cash. This is how I’m going to retire to a life of leisure. Betting on sports. I know of no other way.

Here’s what the two sides seem to be down to, from Elliotte Friedman’s fine piece in Friday’s CBSsports site – Bitterness Grows . Maybe you’re trying to make sense of all this, like me, and Elliotte’s explanations below might help somewhat.

Cap: League wants it to be $60 million next year, and Commissioner Bettman is trying keep it low to protect the floor from being too far from the ceiling. The players want $65 million for freer movement.

Contract length: League wants six years (other team’s free agent) or seven (your own). Players want eight overall.

Pensions: Players are determined to get what was previously agreed to. And they should.

CBA length: Both accept 10 years. League wants opt-out after eight, as long as intention to do so is after Year 6. And the CBA ends June 30. Players want opt-out after seven, with the CBA ending September 15.

Variance: League has offered a 30 per cent difference per season, but also that no season in any multi-year deal can be more than 60 percent lower than the highest-salaried one.

Buyouts: There will be two compliance buyouts per team before next season, although both will count against the players’ share of Hockey Related Revenue.

Smile, Gary

I dunno, some people are just more photogenic than others. Take Gary Bettman for example. This recent photo of the commissioner shows him after another marathon four-hour meeting, looking tanned and healthy and ready to tackle any upcoming problems involving those crazy NHLPA people who just don’t seem to get it.

Lookin’ good, Mr. Commissioner. In fact, I’d say you’ve never looked better.

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Galchenyuk Rockin’ And Rollin’

Our future star Alex Galchenyuk is on fire. Yes Habs fans, we’ve got a beauty on our hands, and we might even get to see him spin his magic someday when he’s about 25, the lockout has finally ended, and Gary Bettman is back doing what he does best – wanking.

This, from the Sarnia Observer:

In the wake of being named OHL Player of the Week on Monday, Sarnia Sting captain Alex Galchenyuk was named the CHL Player of the Week Tuesday on the strength of his eight points over two games this weekend.

Galchenyuk started with a three-point performance on Friday against Guelph, and followed that with a dominant three-goal, two-assists night Saturday against Kingston. Sarnia won both games to head into the Christmas break with a seven-point cushion atop the OHL West Division.

The scoring flurry has moved Galchenyuk to second place in the OHL scoring race with 61 points, just one back of Niagara’s Ryan Strome for top spot. The 18-year-old will spend the holidays with the American world junior squad.

He is the first member of the Sting to win the player of the week honours this year. Goaltender J.P. Anderson was CHL goalie of the week last week.

Also considered were QMJHL nominee Josh Currie of the P.E.I. Rocket and WHL honouree Josh Nicholls of the Saskatoon Blades. Currie had nine points in three games, while Nicholls had eight in four.

Prince George Cougars netminder Brett Zarowny was named the CHL Goaltender of the Week following a three game stretch where he went 2-1-0-0 with a 1.00 goal-against average, a .968 save percentage and a shutout.

Taiwanese Please

Thank you to Danno for sending the following video along. Or if I were Taiwanese, I might say “doo hsia Danno”

The Taiwanese, of course, have always been huge hockey fans, and we read and marvel about the exploits of legendary players such as Tim “the Taiwanese Terror” Huong, and Rocket Rudy Zhang Wei.

Gary Bettman himself has expressed a desire to to have an NHL franchise in Taipei and we can only hope that this eventually comes to pass. Hockey should be played in hockey-mad areas and not such ridiculous non-hockey markets like Quebec and Southern Ontario.

Brad Marchand is Taiwanese, originally named Wee Wang Hooge Noze, but for whatever reason changed it to Brad Marchand when he moved to the Maritimes.