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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gary Bettman: Happiest Man on Earth

Since a lot of you are new to this page and probably weren't keeping tabs with me last year for the playoffs, let me dust off something I said last year after the results of the First Round were completed:

The only real downside to the Capitals losing is that it prevents us from seeing Sid the Kid and Evgeni Malkin from taking on Ovechkin and Backstrom in the second round. Say what you will, but Bettman had the perfect opportunity to take what he learned under Stern and to put it to use to set up a real dazzler of a matchup.

Much like everything else, however, Bettman fails to put the hit out to guarantee this will happen.

Upon the completion of Washington's stirring victory over the Rangers in Game 7 that featured Sergei Fedorov dial up an Yzerman-esque ripper of a shot over the newly-exposed glove hand of Henrik Lundqvist, in my many posts on Twitter (you know, since I've got nothing else to do) I stated this:

Now let's see how (bad) Gary wants the fix. If the #Canes beat the #Devils we get Sid vs. Ovechkin.

In my head I had one of the greatest creative minds of the modern sports entertainment era, at least he was for a while, in mind as I wrote this. I thought about it last year when Washington stormed back against Philadelphia only to lose in Game 7 to the Flyers and there it was in my head again this time as the New Jersey Devils had a 3-2 lead on the Carolina Hurricanes in their Game 7.

Some say a man fitting this description was seen in the tunnel at The Rock shouting, "Just go down Marty!"

Would Lil' Gary put on his big boy shoes and put in the call for the Devils to lay it down or would it play out legendarily like this:

In a series that had so many great goaltending performances from both Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward and two teams that truly left it all out on the ice and given everything that I was able to witness all throughout this years NCAA Hockey Tournament, I didn't think the NHL had it in them to produce a finish to a game that so thoroughly stunned me as this one did.

Doc Emrick and Chico Resch from MSG+ with the call:


I mean... This is the New Jersey Devils, the team that made sitting on a one-goal lead the new black in the 1990s. This is Martin Brodeur - The Franchise - The Legend.

How in the blue hell did this happen? This stuff doesn't happen to the Devils. It never does... Well, unless you're the Ottawa Senators.

It's hours upon hours later now and this one just stuns me. Jussi Jokinen is the new cursed name in the swamps of New Jersey? The same guy that was waived by the directionless Tampa Bay Lightning? That Jussi Jokinen?!


What's more shocking about all of this is that Herr Bettman got his wish. With the Hurricanes beating the Devils, that set up a second round date between Sid the Kid's Penguins and Alexander the Great's Capitals - a playoff matchup that people have been dying to have happen.

Sure, it's not for the Conference Title or the Stanley Cup - but for the press and the attention and the real bad blood there is between these teams it might as well be.

Two of these four second round series are now set to be, potentially, the best series of the entire playoffs. Anaheim did their job and disposed of a gutless Sharks team to set up a date with the Red Wings and then you get the headliner between Pittsburgh and Washington.

This isn't to say that Chicago and Vancouver is going to stink, far from it, as that's going to make for an incredible tilt and the Wonder Boys in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are going to have their hands full in dealing with Vancouver's system all backstopped by the new stud Roberto Luongo.

Boston and Carolina would be a lot more fun if, say, Herr Bettman's Southern Conquest wasn't involved and the Hurricanes were wearing blue, green and white and celebrated each goal with some Brass Bonanza.

Then again, getting Ric Flair prominently involved in hockey really isn't so bad and given that it took the Hurricanes to overthrow the Devils to make Gary's Dream Match-Up come to fruition... Well maybe it's worth looking into.


midge said...

Bettman should also be heartily congratulated for his black hole of Cup coverage. Happy to say that here in Reno not a single game will be available. Way to go Bettman!!! That's the way to add thousands and thousands of new fans to the game!!!

Rye Guy said...

I feel your pain. Was down in the U.S. visiting during the first round and couldn't believe the lack of TV coverage. We are truly spoiled up here in Canada (weather aside). Best of luck on finding some other feeds Midge. I would be the world's happiest man too if I could be a total screw-up at work yet still keep my job. Bettman you suck!

Anonymous said...

Ratings have been way up this year. Midge, maybe you should complain to your local cable operator.

Anonymous said...

Even if you have versus, you are going to miss games - how can you cover a 7:00 game and then join a 7:30 game in progress? Are you kidding me? There are three conflicts like that in the second round. Some casual fans don't start watching until the playoffs and they are being denied opportunities to watch and possibly become full time fans. Don't blame everything on bettmen...the NHL administration is filled with ex-players who don't have a clue about how to market and grow a sport.

joey said...

I'm a HUGE hockey fan and it absolutely KILLS me to think the "fix" is in. But it sure as h-e-doublehockeysticks seems it IS!! This Bettman douche DOES need to think about the fans and look into the NHL on T.V. I live directly between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, I STILL CAN'T WATCH HOCKEY!!!!! I pay $130++ to watch a crappy picture on the internet. This Penguins "LOVE" by Bettman, stupid fans and the officials NEEDS to end! It's like they can do no wrong. I'd just LOVE to see Ovy take one of his: leave his feet, elbow towards head runs at Cindy-C, and see what the NHL does about that!!!!!!!! Probably push it under the rug, yet again.

Hockey Joe said...

Joey: While the NHL is trying to better keep up with technology and demand, it's a major problem that while they enjoy catering the league to Americans that they can't get anything worthwhile to them.

The last few nights were great examples of Versus failing to come through for folks who weren't fortunate enough to live in an area where they not only get Versus but also the local cable networks carrying Devils-Hurricanes.

Strong-arming folks into paying a lot of money for a crappy feed online or overpaying for Center Ice on cable/satellite is a huge reason why folks are using/abusing streaming video of games on line.