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RangersGal Editorial: Bettman/Campbell Slowly Ruining the NHL

So it’s pretty safe to say that most people who know me, know that I think of Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell, and basically all NHL officials as highly as I do of as the rats crawling around the NYC subway tracks. The mockery that they’ve made of the league, especially these past few years since the lockout, is unforgiveable. The shoot out, giving teams points for simply tying (losing), the blatant bias towards certain teams and players, (:: cough:: Sidney Crosby), and most of all, the complete mess of the disciplinary system…if you can even call it that. I can deal with shootouts, unnecessary points…..I can even almost deal with Sidney Crosby’s smug little face being favored left and right, but I can NOT stand players getting away scot-free for cheap, dirty, dangerous, life-threatening hits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want to diminish the physicality of the game. The toughness of the sport is one of the reasons why I love hockey so much, but what has gone on this season is out of control.

There is no one to place the ultimate blame on for this behavior other than the league. The culture of an organization, team, league, whatever noun you want to insert there always starts at the top and it’s unfortunate that the best hockey league in the world’s top executives are more concerned with sniffing around for “cheese” rather than the well-being of their most important assets….their players. The absurd overall treatment of Sean Avery by the league, the mere two-game suspension of Alex Ovechkin (and I love Ovie), and the most ridiculous of all…..the recent non-suspension of Matt Cooke, are all glaring examples of the circus that is Colin Campbell’s office.

Sean Avery is no angel. He talks trash…sometimes about his ex-girlfriends on camera, he waves sticks in front of goalies' faces, he refuses to fight certain players to further infuriate them, and has generally behaved pretty unorthodoxly during most of his career to say the least, but can you ever say that Sean Avery put someone’s life at risk? No. You can’t. The punishment that Sean Avery receives for merely breathing on planet Earth is the league’s hypocrisy at its most nauseating. The guy gets suspended and subsequently thrown off a team for “embarrassing” the league by trash talking an ex-girlfriend, but Matt Cooke can put Marc Savard in the hospital with a stage II concussion, end his season with an intentional head hit, and skate away scot-free with not even so much as a penalty called???? Infuriating. The NHL really reached new lows with this one.

Cooke hit on Savard:

Any head hit should be illegal. Period. When you hit someone in the head, intentionally or not, someone will always get injured and nothing about the NHL or the game itself is worth severely damaging someone’s life over. Players this season have had complete disrespect for each other on the ice and the league’s inept attempt at discipline only encourages them to do it more frequently because they know there is a good chance that they’ll get away with it. What Bettman and Campbell are looking at during some of these plays is anyone’s guess, but it definitely isn’t the hit at hand. Everyone else though, including the media, is watching this. Rather than using the little media that actually follows the NHL, especially in the wake of the Olympics, to write about the awesome hockey that is being played, they instead focus their attention on the trainwrecks in center ice.

I’m convinced Gary Bettman sleeps in a Sidney Crosby jersey, but by allowing this behavior to go on without a consistent method of suspending players when seasons or careers are ended he’s doing no one any favors, including Sidney himself. I’ve had this discussion with a good friend/Devils fan (who can’t agree with me, given Scott Stevens perfected these hits) more times than I can count and I’ve said over and over that this won’t stop until Crosby, not someone like him, but he himself gets severely injured by some talentless goon. I can’t stand the little nuisance, but the last thing I want to see is him taken off the ice in a stretcher.

Sadly, it seems like one day it’s going to come down to just that.

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Comment by RangersGal on March 22, 2010 at 1:42pm
I am not upset in the least, I just disagree. I actually think Bettman did nothing to really help the Olympics because...it's the Olympics. Whether their two weasel faces are in office or not, everyone will always watch Olympic hockey. The story of the Olympics was Canada and Crosby vs Ovechkin and USA and unless Bettman or Campbell were on the ice scoring those goals and I didn't know....they get no credit for the tournament's greatness.

In trying to disagree with me, you actually just proved my point. I think the dirty hitting that has gone on this season and the bizarre method Campbell chooses to suspend people only puts non-hockey fans off to the sport. Everyone was talking about the Olypmics (where fighting and those kinds of hits aren't allowed) and when it comes to the NHL the only thing people can talk about lately who don't watch hockey is the vicious hitting. So, like I said, rather than using the Olympics as a way to attrack more fans, they basically chucked any hope of that out the window with their illogical methods of discipline.

Avery definitely didn't help his own situation but how long is this guy gonna pay for trash talking? The differences in how and over what he got suspended for vs. actual dangerous hits from other players is too great to just brush off as "Avery dug his own grave." It's absurd. End of story.

Listen, I can't stand Sidney but yeah, is he good for the game. Of course....he's Canadian, he's a little mama's boy, etc, etc. He's a great player and people can identify with him.....I think Ovechkin is just as good or better but that's a different conversation. I don't want to see him injured, but waht I see happening is someone coming along who doesn't give a crap that he's Sidney Crosby and nails him badly.

I know it's all about money, so why do you think Bettman is doing a good job if NHL is now on Versus and has no major tv contract, he couldn't capitalize on the Olympics and people (including players) don't like what's going on with these dirty plays??
Comment by KC on March 22, 2010 at 12:02pm
sweet picture of Avery administering the Seanie smackdown
Comment by Matthew Segreto on March 20, 2010 at 7:34pm
Ranger gal you know I love you, so dont be upset with my rebuttle. Coming off an olympics where I heard more people that I have never heard speak Hockey, actually speak hockey, I couldnt help but think that the excutives did a marvelous job orchestrating around the All-Star Game, and rescheduling the seasons to be participants. This mere action is exactly why MLB screwed the pooch on the olympics by not taking similiar action. Dont get me wrong the MLB is by far doing a better job financialy than the NHL, and also have ties outside the U.S so maybe they didnt "need to".

You need to remember one thing when it comes to Bettman and campbell, and the rest of the beaurocats than run the league, this league has not done so hot in major markets in the country since the lockout a few years back. Canada will always be strong for the NHL(Canadiens, Senators etc.), Rangers pull seats(Not that great during the week, trust me im a season ticket holder), and you got your blackhawks and other original 6 teams. The NHL doesnt even have a primetime syndicate with a major network(except for one game a week on NBC), they are on VS for christ's sake.

You will not find anyone in this world that hates Homo Sydney more than me, "no one". But for good reason, becuase he is an exceptional talent, and the league see's it's cash cow and wont let anything happen to it. Would a independant contractor leave his bobcats and heavy machinery in the middle of the street with the keys in it, no he is gonna lock them away because they have intrinsic value to him. Crosby is Gretzy to bettman. The same Canadien that saved the league in the 80's. And as much as it pains to say it, he is. After he cemented his legacy with the Cup, he came back and won maybe the greatest olympic gold medal game ever...ever! And for a ranger fan you know that is not biased due who is on that team. We had to watch Homo and Fat ass brodeur get another championship, and I dont care if he played or not. That thing will be sitting in his trophy room in 15 years, and no one will be the wiser.

Unfortunately Sean has dug himself this grave. Again you wont meet a bigger #16 fan than me. But as Crosby is the Protaganist, Mr Avery is the antagonist. The Rangers are one team of many. Do you want one fan base and organization in your ear, or 30. Its an easy business decision, shut sean up and let him take his licks and be done with it. Its all $$ RG, and these guys are fighting for their next paycheck.
Comment by NYsportsGUY on March 19, 2010 at 3:02pm

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