The Great Pumpkin, Gary Bettman
A Thumb-in-Mouth Commentary
Dear Great Pumpkin,
I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents. For it is another season of hockey. Despite the NHL's pigeonhole into the depths of Comcast's outhouse of a TV channel in VERSUS, which is nestled next to the Golf channel and some other one where I could swear I saw Adam West doing the Batusi when searching for some ice on my TV screen. I had thought I had wiped that scene from my mind.
Despite many teams are starting to get an influx of fans over last year. Not to mention, the absolute boon websites like this, blogs (except for that Gallof boys...they are a bunch of troublemakers), Youtube and messageboards. The internet has turned into a huge hockey community, and soon bloggers and blog boxes might be seen in other hockey venues besides just Long Island and in Washington. Hopefully the rest of the blogging establishment won’t be whining about it like the last time, as the Islanders have touched off a focus on those who write and follow teams on the web, continuing merry parade of web savvy hockey fans and writers to infiltrate the party-at-large who have been slow to get the picture of the future.
However, there are a few complaints, which I'd like you to address. One heard from others and myself . . . is the schedule. Sure scheduling for so many teams is tough work, but seems to me several teams, right out the starting gate sat with days and nights with nothing but Hockeybuzz on their computers, Dancing with the Stars on TV, and a Hungryman dinner on their snacktable as they were stuck watching the NHL on Center Ice rather than actually playing the game. Sadly, there just isn’t much recourse from the league to why this cluster of daftness where teams get stuck with back to backs and then right after, a week of nothing in October of all months . . . The time when engines are supposed to be revved and players hitting the open road.
But perhaps that gaffe was unavoidable. Maybe some teams were not picked to screw the proverbial pooch. And to make it all work, a couple of teams had to take the puck to the jewels. Perhaps, along with some crazed lunatic spitting tobacco juice and beer screaming: 'Walk it off!!!!' as we hobble wondering if we just lost future generations.
Yes, November seems more active on the schedule, and the ‘Trick or Treat’ has ended. But for October, teams like the Isles and Ottawa looked in their bag, much like Charlie Brown, discovering rocks instead of candy.
Of course, Ottawa sits riding high on a fantastic start, showing that their run last season was no lark. And even the Isles are keeping afloat, rolling with the NHL schedule punches. But lets be honest, it hasn't exactly been a cakewalk, or even the usual schedule for us, thanks to you.
Do fans deserve sitting there looking through their sports pages, noticing with horror that is worse than being stuck seeing Saw 6, or American Gigolo 3, that their favorite team, only a few weeks in, are not playing that WEEK?!?!? Not day. Week. Seems unacceptable. And should have seemed that way when it was penciled onto NHL league office paper before it ever was committed to.
So, some real rocks are in some fans bags this year courtesy of the NHL, and perhaps a closer look to the mindset of those making decisions seems apropos in lieu of it.
So, Great Pumpkin, as we watch the Columbus Blue Jackets actually have a winning record. We watch Philly’s absolute tear. And we watch NJ and Martin Brodeur struggle. The Rangers take a bit of time to jell. We see Bob Gainey’s Montreal team finally showing some strides in the right direction. Well, there are some interesting changes afoot, and hockey season is actually going on.
But some times it’s just the same ol’, and some people have to ask why they just gnawed some sediment and minerals as we hit Halloween time. So lets get better schedules for teams and fans in the future. And while we are at it, lets get back on ESPN.
Hey, sometimes you got to wish big!