You Know What I Hate?! – Nov 2nd

THis lockout stinks worse than this pumpkin a week after Halloween.
But does anyone care anymore?
(Photo from @RealGregMyall15)

Today I bring back my weekly feature of me venting and raging on stupid crap happening with the Canucks, their fans and around the NHL. Two things about this feature… 1) It will appear sporadically, and 2) It is blatantly ripped off from a stand-up bit from comedian Craig Anton. On either point, I make no apologies. Enjoy. Or don’t.

This week, in the glorious return of "You Know What I Hate?!" (please stop laughing), I eat from a big ol’ bowl of NHL-lockout-flavoured hate.

You know what I hate?! There is no urgency on either side of the NHL labour dispute to get a deal done. No urgency at all. I am completely baffled by this. I cannot believe that all 29 owners are sitting around, thinking to themselves, “Man, I am really enjoying losing millions of dollars because of an empty arena. I love standing by my principals.

And there is no way that the players are gathered together, regaling in their love of playing Tier 2 Dutch league hockey against some fat clog-wearing Pannekoek maker because they’re “sending a clear message to the league.” Why aren’t the Fehr brothers, Bettman and Daly sitting around a table, negotiating until a deal is reached?

It seems like with most other labour disputes, that’s what happened. You lock yourselves in a room until you hash out a deal. And you bring in an independent arbitrator, if necessary. The stubbornness from both sides is appalling and moronic.

You know what I hate?! Everything about Gary Bettman. I try not to hate people, unless they are mass murderers or child rapists or some such demon. And Bettman is none of those things so I should qualify that I don’t really hate Bettman. But I do hate how he acts and behaves.

I hate the smug look he gets on his face. I hate the way he answers questions. I hate the way he and the owners’ executive committee have taken the NHL season away from us so far. I hate that he is still in a position of power with the league because we’re forced to digest his brand of tripe whenever he gets to the microphone.

You know what I hate?! There is a small group of owners calling all the shots. Whether it is the “Gang of Four” owners, or the group that Elliotte Friedman suggested in his latest “30 Thoughts”. As I said before, I just can’t believe that all 29 owners are behind this lockout.

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For instance, there is just no way that the ownership groups in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and New York (Rangers) are 100% behind this. They can’t be. Their teams make boatloads of money and they’re in the strongest markets. I really hope, at some point, there is a group of these owners that goes to Bettman and says "Why the hell are we doing this again? Get a deal done, Gary, because I’m losing money FAST."

You know what I hate?! People are losing their jobs because of the lockout. That SUCKS. Team employees, arena workers, wait staff… all being fired or laid off because there is no NHL hockey. Well, let me be clear – they’re being let go because of greed and stubbornness.

It’s a damn shame that a LOT of hard-working people with no skin in the game are having their livelihoods changed or taken from them because of this nonsense. The players don’t care – half of them are in Europe or Russia happily playing to half-empty arenas earning their keep and having a great time. The owners don’t care – for most of them, owning an NHL franchise is a hobby; a side deal. Their REAL businesses make them real money. The NHL is pocket change for them.

You know what I hate?! I don’t care about the NHL right now… and maybe for good. It might sound like I care because of you’ve just read. To be clear, I hate the process that we’ve watched unfold. I hate the stalemate. I hate what the people involved are doing. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch the league that governs my favourite sport just dissolve into oblivion.

You know this word, oblivion? It means to be totally forgotten by everyone forever. And that is what is happening to the NHL.

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I am awash in unabashed apathy about the NHL right now. The NHL’s big news this week is that it’s cancelling the Winter Classic. Do I care? NOPE. Truly, not one bit. I have found refuge in watching the EPL and MLS and NFL. I love going to the rink three times a week to watch my kid play. I’ll definitely buy tickets to a couple of Abbotsford Heat games this season to enjoy some good professional hockey. But *IF* the NHL comes back this year, it’s not getting my money. Or my attention. Both have already been spent elsewhere.

  • Marda Miller

    “I hate the smug look he gets on his face. I hate the way he answers questions. I hate the way he and the owners’ executive committee have taken the NHL season away from us so far. I hate that he is still in a position of power with the league because we’re forced to digest his brand of tripe whenever he gets to the microphone.”

    I share your sentiments entirely. I often wonder how the NHL would function without Bettman calling the shots. It’s my utopian dream.

    • elvis15

      Man, a future without Bettman… *smiles wistfully*

      What the NHL needs is someone who has a strong financial acumen and business sense, but has also been on both sides of the table. You probably won’t find a former owner that fits the bill, but a former player who’s spent time in a team’s front office would be ideal.

      • Chris E

        A future without Bettman may very well be a future without a salary crap. The man has so many bads, but one of his good, is that he has and will stand firmly by the salary cap. A new commissioner may not be as steadfast in protecting it.

        • Chris E

          Actually a cap will stay in place unless there is a revenue sharing plan put in place. The winner markets (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York) make so much money BECAUSE of the salary cap. Their HRR revenue is miles higher than the cap but since it is based on the entire league the loser teams pull the cap down. The real player shares on teams like that are probably below 40% whereas loser teams are 60+%.

          Would the Sedins, Kesler, and Burrows taken should be pay cuts to stay in Vancouver if there had been no cap? New York would likely be back to its expensive free agent ways if there was no cap (look at the Yankees for a reminder of what NY fans expect).

  • Oh please save the bs about not even showing interest in the NHL if it comes back for another site. If you write for a hockey blog you will at the very least be back watching the games thus putting money in the owners pockets, unless you watch them illegally of course.

    • Well you provided one solution there.

      Also, do you think it’s possible to support your favourite team and not the NHL. Because I sure do. I would have normally watched any NHL game on TV, if the Canucks weren’t playing. I won’t do that anymore. I used to watch every game of the playoffs. I won’t do that anymore. If I watch, it’s only to watch the Canucks play, and that’s it. And I definitely won’t be going out of my way to watch every Canucks game either. Only when I have time.

      Hopefully that helps draw a distinction between supporting your team and supporting the league.

  • Chris E

    I find it hard to believe the likes of Aquilini, Molson, TSN, Dolan, etc can’t do anything to direct Bettman. They all have the power and influence to undermind him at the ownership level and Bettman knows it.

    It was made very public, the vote to follow Bettman’s plan was 29-0. Not one owner chose to challenge the plan.

    And a guy like Aquilini shouldn’t shy away from being fined $250,000 for speaking out. That’s one condo sale out of 100,000 condos owned.

    The owners should be getting the wrath from players and fans much more than Bettman. He’s just playing the jerk to the tune of 8 schmill a year. I’d be twice the public jerk for half that money.

  • Chris E

    I’ve always loved the Canucks and absolutely hated the NHL. I would love to see a new World Hockey Association be formed and see teams defect to it. Starting with all the Canadian teams. See how the NHL likes having 33% of their revenue lost just like that. Great article on how Canadian teams are footing the bill for the loser franchises: