Aktuelle Ausgabe von "The Hockey News"
Head: Blurred Vision
By Larry Brooks
The map indicates Gary Bettman is in Raleigh, N.C., for the first game
of the Stanley Cup final, but the commissioner seems to believe that he
is, instead, in Utopia.
Bettman is basking in the perceived reflected glory of a championship
series that features the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers in the
very kind of small market matchup the hard salary cap is an even bet to
consistently produce over the course of the current collective
This – as much as diluting the red ink the commissioner’s office
insisted infected the league’s bottom line – is the fruit of the
lockout and cancelled 2004-05 season.
“If these playoffs have demonstrated anything,” said Bettman to the
press before Game 1, “it’s that market size has become irrelevant.”
Had Bettman substituted the words “the NHL” for “market size,” and
added “in America” to the end of the sentence, he would’ve been telling
a more honest truth.
This is what the commissioner wished for. This is what he and his
allies on the board of governors shut down the league for. They should
have been more careful in prioritizing their wish list. For while
Bettman might be able to run for provincial office in Alberta, and he
might be hailed in precincts in Raleigh (where, by the way, the
Hurricanes went to the final in 2002 under the old, infamous labor
agreement), his league’s showcase event is essentially off the map in
every significant U.S. market.
It isn’t only the television ratings – or lack thereof – that indicate
as much, though those are the measurements most often cited in
examination of the league’s plight. It’s also – and very much so –
reflected in the lack of attention and space devoted to hockey in
newspapers, which, is most cases, drive sports-talk radio, which in
turn drives the highlight shows on television, which in turn impacts
the decision-making process of newspaper sports editors.
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