Gary, Gary, Gary

2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic - Philadelphia Flyers v Boston Bruins

So another trade deadline has come and gone, and the Canucks, as usual, end up doing next to nothing. I’m not here to bash on Mike Gillis, it seemed like there wasn’t much out there for the taking. We got a Stastny. Not Paul. Not even Peter, Anton or Marion. We did end up getting Albert Andrews or Andrew Alberts or Andy Whatshisname. There’s another guy, but I can’t even muster the energy to find his name, so I can butcher it in print. Who has the time that would take?  Those would be seconds I could never get back.

Let’s just add this to the list of problems in Gary Bettman’s NHL (GBNHL from now on). I can’t follow this league. At least not the way I really want to. I want to be able to know about the players on different teams. I want to have an understanding of the depth of the Carolina Hurricanes defense or the true value of Nathan Horton, but I can’t. There are just too many teams, in too many far flung places, that care too little about hockey.

Take Shea Weber for example. He was a complete revelation during the Olympics, just a joy to watch, and probably the best all around defenseman in the NHL. Now I knew he was good, but THAT good?  I already watch more hockey than I should, more than is healthy, an amount that would be grounds for divorce, if a guy who watched that much hockey could ever get married.  How can I keep up with the goings on in the sun belt?

Hell, they don’t even watch it.

The GBNHL needs to contract (preferably a GB-ectomy to start). We need to go back to the original 21 (at least those 21 felt original to my young mind). It seems like the right number, but we all know it’s not going to happen, so at the very least some of these sun belt teams need to relocate to Canada. In Toronto, Quebec City or Winnipeg these players would at least get their due from hockey loving fans and hockey appreciating media. By extension all of us on the left coast would be able to hear much more about them.

What kind of world is it when prospective owners of the Phoenix Coyotes want to play games in Saskatoon as a cash grab? A cash grab? In Saskatoon?  What kind of world is it when there are as many teams in California as Western Canada? There are more teams in the metropolitan New York area than there are in Ontario, a province with a population of approximately 11 million, with about 108% of those people claiming some sort of level of hockey fandom. 

There are double the amount of teams in Florida that there are in Quebec, a province whose love of hockey is understatedly referred to as a religion.

What kind of world is it?  

It’s Gary Bettman’s world, we’re all just living in it.

This message was brought to you by the new found Canadian Pride the Vancouver Olympics inspired. Canada is officially no longer going to take it, eh!


  • Red Deerian Convert

    I wasn't born in Canada. I came here when I was 6…that was almost 30 years ago. I've been watching hockey since I picked up a stick in elementary school…I was the only one in my family who watched it. I've watched this league grow and suffer it's current set of problems. But there's one thing that the NHL back then didn't have to contend against, and that's the euro leagues and Russian KHL. I'm not saying we'll lose all our talent over seas…but we will lose some if we cut the teams down. Also, though I can't speak for all players, as a Vancouverite, it's going to be a really, really hard sell to get me to play in the Peg. I find it difficult to believe you would find euro/russian/american/major metropolitan canadians wanting to play there either but then again…I'm not them. Don't get me wrong – I loved hockey 'back then' – I just think the economics, the competition and player ego's are different now.

    • Stephen Webb

      Granted the economics in Winnpipeg may not work (arena too small, not enough corporate support), but I hold it as a pie in the sky kinda dream. The people just deserve it so damn much. The economics of a second or maybe even third team in Toronto would trump the revenues of 2/3 or the league.

      The sad part is that I think you're right about players not wanting to go to Winnipeg. Just look all the trouble Edmonton has attracting free agents. I just find it weird that hockey players would rather be anonymous in Miami, than a god in Winterpeg.

      • All hockey players want is money. A few more years of the Canadian economy detaching from the American slide and they will be lining up to cash cheques from Flin Flon, Manitoba if that is what it takes to keep them riding in style.

        Great article Stephen.