Posts Tagged ‘Gary Bettman’

We all know who the best players have been the best in the NHL in the 2010-11 season, but who have been some of the worst?  Years ago, I created some “awards” in my old sim league (DCHL), as a semi roast to certain players, GMs and teams.  I took some of these awards,  and created some brand new ones.

First, we start with the Trigger Happy Award, which goes to the GM who has pulled off the most trades in the last year (for the purpose of a starting point, I used 2010’s regular season end to this regular season’s end).  With 18 counted trades, including acquiring (and trading) Dennis Wideman, Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers is our 2011 winner.  The other GM award, the aptly named You Suck Award goes to Ottawa’s Bryan Murray.  Last summer, Murray signed Sergei Gonchar for 3 years and $16 million, and the 37 year old played like he was 57.  The team plummeted to last place and Murray started the firesale, trying to get what he could for many players.  Some of his deals were to rectify mistakes he had made in the summer, and in previous seasons.  All this, while Daniel Alfredsson remained on the team and his value continued to drop.

Moving on to some statistical awards, the winner of the Broad Street Bully Award goes to Islander Zenon Kenopka, who blew away the field in the penalty minute department, finishing with 307.  Kenopka is the first player to break the 300 PIM barrier since Dan Carcillo in 2007-08.   The Greg Millen Trophy for allowing the most goals in the regular season goes to the Colorado Avalanche.  The team allowed a whopping 287 goals, the most since the 06-07 Flyers.  On the topic of goalies, our Red Light Award for worst goalie of the year (minimum of 20 games) is Rick DiPietro.  DiPietro “lead” the league with a 3.44 GAA, had the second worst save percentage at 88.6% and finished with a record of 8-14-4.

The Bettman Trophy for Villain of the Year was no surprise.  Suspended for 21 games this season within two separate incidents, including missing the entire first round of the playoffs, Matt Cooke easily wins the award.

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Today, Dick Ebersole of NBC and Gary Bettman of the NHL have a press conference scheduled for 1:00, to announce the rumored agreement of the NHL’s new TV deal. The deal is reported as $200 million per year over the next ten years. ESPN and Turner Sports had been in the running, but Turner dropped out yesterday. NBC/Versus had the right to match any ESPN offer, but the league took NBC’s deal before giving ESPN one final chance.

Pro-ESPN people bring up that the Worldwide Leader will increase the NHL’s marketability. They will also say that ESPN is in more households, therefore bringing more viewers in. More highlights on Sportscenter is also a positive. Those are good points, but where would the NHL fit in on ESPN’s busy schedule. ESPN isn’t just going to shove aside MLB/NFL/NBA to squeeze in hockey.

But, what about the potential 2011 lockouts in the NFL and NBA? That’ll open up slots, right? Sure, it would be great until the other leagues settle on new CBAs and get back to playing. Where does that leave the NHL? I’m sure this was a concern Bettman and company had while negotiating with ESPN.

However, despite those concerns, NBC/Versus has done some good for the NHL. After the lockout, and ESPN insulted the league with a very low offer, OLN took a chance and the NHL has grown exponentially. I admit, I had no idea where the Outdoor Life Network was on my cable lineup at first. But ratings have grown each year. The Winter Classic was an NBC creation, and this year’s game was the highest viewed regular season game since 1975, even beating out a college football bowl game on ESPN.

The real question is, does Versus continue as its’ cycling-cage fighting-bull riding channel, or does it change under NBC? Since the channel added the NHL (and changed it’s name and image), it’s added college football, and the National Lacrosse League as well. Could the NHL deal help Versus evolve into an ESPN-like channel, or even a threat to ESPN? The channel has shown interest in the MLS’ TV rights.

One real concern of NBC/Versus I can agree with is the lack of diversity of teams who are broadcast. More than likely, a random game will feature Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the Rangers or Washington. That will be needed to change for two reasons. One, to expose the fans of the NHL to other teams such as the Lightning, Kings, Sharks, to name a few. Secondly, to not overexpose people to the same teams and players. If people see too many doses of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, among others, they will become disinterested. There has to be a happy balance between marketing and overmarketing.

If NBC wins the Winter Olympic bidding in 2014, one would assume the league would agree to send its’ players to Russia for the games.

Would I have loved to see a deal like the NBA has (ESPN & TNT)? Absolutely. More hockey is good for everyone. Unfortunately for us, they either couldn’t agree on that type of deal, or the proposal was never offered.

Please share your comments, concerns or questions.

Bettman’s Hopeless Charge

Posted: October 22, 2010 by goaliesgetmorebetches in Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes
Tags: ,

I’m not going to talk much about tonight’s Kings’ game, because frankly there wasn’t much to talk about. Kings’ played a crap first period, and made a major blunder on a second period PP, and were still in the game against the NHL’s pet team. So we’re not going to be 81-1 now. I’m not gonna lose much sleep.

If you watched the game on TV, you had to notice that the Jobing.com Arena was EMPTY. Announced attendance was 6,706 in Arizona tonight. This Arena looked like that most of last season too – and the season before that, and the season before that…

With the Coyotes ownership in flux, Gary Bettman and the NHL have been insistent upon keeping the team – that is hemorrhaging money eternally it seems – in Arizona. Seeing that many empty seats, with a decent product on the ice makes it clear what a lost cause this is. Why would any investor with any smarts put up money for a team that can’t sell more than 6,706 seats for a game against one of the most exciting young teams in the NHL, and a division rival at that. Even at the team’s absolute WORST, we’ve more than doubled that on Average in Los Angeles – a city where there are more entertainment choices than Phoenix by far. You can’t tell me that Winninpeg (the team’s former home), Quebec City or Hamilton, Ontario can’t put more than 6,700 asses in seats for games.

There is no evidence that the Coyotes can be a financially viable operation in Phoenix. There are a few thousand die hard hockey fans (to their credit that’s a few thousand more than Anaheim has) and the rest of the area seems apathetic, at least when it comes to buying tickets. They’ve got a state of the art arena and surrounding plaza that some teams would kill for, and for the moment anyway, a competitive team – and said arena is still a ghost town.

The NHL’s insistance that the Coyotes must stay in Phoenix is all about Gary Bettman’s ego. Bettman made the controversial decision to move the Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix in 1996, much to the chagrin of Jets fans that surely outnumber the crowd in Glendale these days. That decision has been a financial disaster from the outset, and unless something changes drastically, seems destined to remain that way. The team could be more financially viable in any of the afforementioned Canadian markets, both for it’s ownership and the league, but Bettman is determined to ride Phoenix out until the wheels fall off. Bettman still wrongly believes he can dumb down the game enough to sell it to the same crowd that buys tickets to NFL and NBA games. Some sports fans will always cross over, but hockey is a niche sport who’s understanding requires a depth and breadth that the average sports fan, quite frankly lacks (yes, I realize that does sound a bit arrogant). At some point though, Bettman will be forced to admit that his “southernization” movement hasn’t been the success he’d hoped. Atlanta and Florida are empty much like Phoenix most nights. Expansion and relocation to many of the wrong places, too fast, is the culprit.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sympathetic to the die hards in Phoenix as well as those in other markets where ticket sales are meager. There’s nothing quite like NHL hockey, and to a hardcore fan, nothing else will do. From a financial standpoint though, I’ve yet to see any evidence that it can be made to work.

The few in Arizona will have some months to try to sell the game to their peers. If they’re fortunate, the team will remain competitive and that might help a bit. In the end though, any potential owner that agrees to leave the Coyotes in Phoenix for an extended period of time is committing financial suicide. As a community of hockey fans as a whole, we can hope that Gary Bettman can set his ego aside, cut bait and give up on the “southernization” of hockey before he runs the NHL into irrelevance.