After reading Richard Cloutier's blog on the state of the NHL after the Chara-Patches incident, I figured I too needed to rant a little bit. In this rant, I will touch on favouritism, how Bettman is an idiot, and how everyone else is saying the exact same thing as me.
Honestly though, you would be hard-pressed to find a legitimate hockey fan who thinks this is the right decision. Every person I have talked to about the incident today said the same thing. Gary Bettman is an idiot. Even the Bruins fans I've talked to say that (although the laughing smile on their face suggest they didn't mind the ruling much).
First off, can I say that the league must get rid of this biased suspension process? Okay, I'm not accusing here, but let me pain a picture here. I am a proud and competitive father. I have worked my way up to one of the highest ranking positions in the league that I help run. My son plays in this same league. His team's best player commits an act during the stretch run, while they are fighting for one of the top spots in the conference. I am in charge of deciding the amount of disciplinary action that is to be given. Hmmmmmm what to do?
This may or may not be the case, but still, it is a little suspicious if you ask me.
Again, as I mentioned before. "The team's best player." If this was a Scott Thornton, Steve MacIntyre, or a (god forbid) Trevor Gilles, they would have been kicked out for 5, 6, 7, 10, 15 games, or, for the latter player, given a life sentence in prison. Hell, if it was from a team not even in the playoffs it would have been a major suspension. If Chris Phillips, or David Booth, or or sombody good from the Oilers or Avs (I was trying to think of their toughest star player, but for COL it was Stewart, and Edmonton and tough just dont go together). Boston is a playoff team entering the stretch run, so god forbid they lose one of their key peices for a game or two, even if he almost killed some guy.
Respect to Air Canada for their role in all this. They are giving their own public outcry in this situation. By threatening to drop the sponsorship of the league here, they attempted to tie to influence the league not to let this injustice to continue. The league however, called their bluff (or what appears to be a bluff). Bettman wouldn't change his position, saying if AC walks, it walks.
This is coming from they guy who is inputing millions of the NHL's revenue-sharing money into the most pathetic of franchises in Pheonix, Atlanta, and Florida. These teams lose upwards of $20 million a season, each. If the Air Canada sponsorship is cut, there goes what, $100 mil? $200 mil? I have a suspision that, if not not, the Chara hit will somehow be related to a seventh team in Canada. Whether that is at the hands of a desperate Bettman doing anything to cover the losses from Air Canada leaving them as a sponsor, or at the result of a new, more proacive NHL commish that millions of Canadian hockey fans are praying for, we shall yet see. All I think right now, is that Bettman is quickly becoming the George Bush of the NHL, and we are closer and closer to our Obama.