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Gary in Review

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Sorry, no MarioKart in this one.

I like this kid
I like this kid
Richard Wolowicz

So Helene Elliot has done a huge write up on the NHL lockout (sorta), which features a piece on our lovable commissioner, Gary Bettman (sorta). Admittedly, I have been pretty hard on ol' Gary, what with the MS Paint pieces and death threats critiques. Perhaps now is a good time to maybe review where I stand also. Elliot's full article in the L.A. Times on Bettman and the lockout can be be found here.

When Gary Bettman becomes irate, spots of color bloom near his cheekbones and his body vibrates like-

Whoa, whoa, whoa Helene. Let's keep this professional. Okay, let's start over...

(...) He was asked how he feels about presiding over his third lockout in 20 years. "It's absolutely something that torments me."

Gary must be into S&M because for tormenting himself, he sure does this pretty regularly.

They've [fans] read the NHL's news releases about revenues reaching a record $3.3 billion last season and wonder how the league can be in such peril now...Some teams are making piles of money and many have signed players to contracts that are double-digit-years in length and triple-digit-millions in payout.

Alright, now we are getting somewhere. Answers:

Owners deemed it insupportable when players' salaries last season consumed 57% of hockey-related revenues, money contractually defined to be shared.

You god damn sons of-WAIT, no. Keep it together Dunn. Sure, this is clearly owners not happy with what they agreed to, but maybe there will be some more clarity on this.

Bettman is intent on closing all loopholes and saving the owners from themselves.

What the shit?! Not shocking as we already basically all knew this, but this is what the owners' platform for this lockout is based on? Their own stupidity?

They've [owners] shown their approval of him [Bettman] by extending his contract and paying him nearly $8 million in salary and benefits for the fiscal year.

Being a stooge pays pretty well. Oh, and is Bettman not a stooge?

"He's got his marching orders. He knows what he wants to achieve on behalf of his folks."

Yeah, thought so.

Bettman, 60, inarguably excels at the business of hockey.

"He's brilliant. He's mastered the breadth of the industry, and it's a broad industry, with lots of detail."

I'd argue that. But who is lavishing out this praise?

(...)it's a broad industry, with lots of detail," said Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, who was Bettman's top hockey deputy from 1993 to '98.

Ah fuck, it's a former stooge praising his current stooge. And the Maple Leafs suck. At least we can really get to know where Gary stands in all of this mess that he currently is forced to stand on top of with a flag planted like some sort of conqueror of Clusterfuck Mountain.

Bettman declined an interview with The Times, saying he didn't want his comments to affect the labor talks.

...Or not. Hm. I will agree Bettman has taken a load of abuse, 80% of which comes from yours truly. Is it all warranted? Probably not. But one target to knock around is easier than 30 different ones. You ever try beating up three sunbelt team owners at once? Hey! Get back here, Gaglardi!

Bettman got his formal education at Cornell University

Douchebag. Okay, that was uncalled for. But like Cornell needed more bad press.

His education accelerated when he worked alongside NBA Commissioner David Stern...Stern hired Bettman to be the NBA's assistant general counsel

Oh, Mr. Basketball-Reasons. Yeah, he's a great cock strudel mentor. Never mind that the NBA has turned into the WWE or WWF or whatever it's called now. An hour long soap opera of where Lebron is going? Stern's complete and utter hatred for the city of San Antonio? Or his turning of a blind eye entirely when New York was essentially cheating in the entry drafts? Alright, moving on.

Then-Kings owner Bruce McNall, leading the search, targeted Stern and Stern's deputy, Russ Granik. After both declined, the NHL chose Bettman.

Oh boy.

Bettman, installed on Feb. 1, 1993, inherited a league that had annual revenues of $400 million and little national TV presence.

Which has turned around. I'll give Betty that. Revenues are up. They have a TV contract, albeit sort of a half-assed one. Though of course this kind of leads more to why the current lockout is damn infuriating.

Although expansion was in the works before he took over, he is identified with the NHL's foray into the Sunbelt. He has been — perhaps beyond reason — a staunch supporter of the Phoenix Coyotes, who were placed in bankruptcy more than three years ago and are still being operated by the league. But he was quick to help move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, where they enjoyed a spectacular debut last season.

Ah, yes, the Jets/Thrashers. Kind of funny where the Coyotes were from. Again though, I'll give Bettman his due and say Nashville, Carolina, and San Jose were successes. Phoenix and Atlanta not so much. Jury's still out on the Florida teams, Dallas, and Anaheim though I'm leaning towards flops seeing how the whole "fighting for the small market teams" is the one thing brought up routinely. If that's the case then these teams, despite the record revenues, still can't bring in a profit while some of the other teams grow pretty damn rich. And you can't exactly blame the salaries either with only Tampa not being in the league's ten lowest payroll teams. Success draws a crowd so they need more money? Well the Ducks are only five years removed from a Finals appearance, plus another back in 2003. The Stars had two Finals trips also, though a bit longer ago.

His support of nontraditional cities has contributed to the venom spewed at him during this dispute...Others hurl profanity or make veiled threats via social media.

Glad to see I made the L.A. Times.

Anticipating the NHLPA would take the legal path of dissolving as a union, the NHL on Friday filed a class-action complaint in federal court in New York seeking a declaration confirming that its lockout is legal. The NHL also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the union "engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act..."The National Basketball Players Assn. filed a disclaimer of interest during its dispute with the NBA last year. The sides settled soon afterward.

"A weakness! Oh noes!"

Yeah. De-certification probably should have happened earlier guys. And this is why Bettman specifically, and not just the owners, gets a genuine "fuck you". Basically, a good move by Bettman to try and avoid what happened with his stooge master and the NBA. So it looks like the NHL isn't going to bend anytime soon if they prevent de-certification.

'Hey, we're about to pass the point of no return,'" said Borden, the labor lawyer. "And again, not knowing the full ins and outs of the economics of the league, I would find it hard to believe that they're willing to give up on an entire season. Although each week that passes makes it seem more possible."

Two things: Not knowing the full ins and outs of the economics of the league. No kidding. This lockout things have been as transparent as the ins and outs as Guantanamo. Secondly, yeah I could see both sides giving up on an entire season. Happened before.