Ever since Deadspin broke the story of the secret NHL Focus group, this passage has stuck in my mind:
Then, the focus group watched a series of televised speeches from players, owners, executives, and the commissioner himself. From the room's reaction, and Luntz's follow-up questions, it was clear that the group did not have a favorable impression of Gary Bettman. "A New York lawyer," one participant called him. Jonathon Gatehouse's Bettman bio points out how many times this specific phrase has been leveled at the commissioner, usually with the unspoken descriptor "Jewish." As if to hammer this point home, one focus group participant said: "I don't like him. He reminds me of Woody Allen."
These descriptions of Bettman intrigued me, and I wanted to know more. I contacted Frank Luntz and asked if I could get the contact information of the people in the focus group, but he said that information was confidential. So instead I just hacked into his computer database (it basically went exactly like this) and took what I needed.
It turns out that both the "New York lawyer" comment and the "Woody Allen" comment were made by the same guy. I contacted this man, and he agreed to answer a few of my questions. I won't reveal his name (We'll just call him "Al") but I can tell you that he was born and raised in St. Louis (uh oh) and has some strong opinions about Gary Bettman and what he terms "those kinds of people."
The interview transcript follows:
Meg: Thank you for agreeing to answer my questions.
Al: No problem.
Meg: First off, could you elaborate a little bit about your feelings towards Gary Bettman?
Al: Sure. I hate him.
Al: Well you know, he's just....he has some quality, I guess. He seems like he's probably really greedy. And he's always causing trouble behind the scenes, all sneaky-like.
Meg: I see. Anything else?
Al: I don't like his big nose.
Meg: ....okay. So you think Bettman is a bad commissioner then?
Al: It's not a good job for him. He's not suited to it. He should just go be a lawyer. Or maybe a banker. Or a comedy writer. Or a bagel store owner.
Meg: Hmmm....I'm still not sure I'm getting what you're saying. Maybe it would help if you listed some other famous people you don't like?
Al: Okay, great, I have a list right here... *rummages in the pocket of his filthy pants* Jerry Seinfeld. Larry David. Matisyahu. The prophet Abraham.
Meg: Oh, I think I see what's going on here. Thank you for your time -
Al: No wait, I have more to say! It is imperative that you get rid of Gary Bettman. That is the final solution to the lockout problem!
Meg: You disgust me.
END OF INTERVIEW.
* * *
Here are the results from tonight's game, via THE SITE:
Another (hypothetical) victory for the Sharks!
I'm getting some....interesting responses to the comment I left on the last gameday report on THE SITE. I'll have more information for you next time.
Finally, a quote from one of the world's greatest living authors:
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!"