BSN Summer Awards: The Bettman
If that title made your stomach tighten a little bit, then you know what we’re onto here.
Relax. Let that boo go. Feel better now? Good. That’s what we’re here for.
Yes, the venerable Gary Bettman, commissioner of our NHL since 1993 (and thus being a symbolic part of the NHL94 alumni), is the namesake behind this award, given to the folk(s) with the firmest mastery of their Napoleon complexes and the talent to make us want to heckle them.
As for Bettman’s curious leadership of one of the most historied sports leagues in the world, fans needs not look any further than 1996. That’s when the Fox Network introduced the “glow puck,” which was supposed to make the puck easier to see on the primitive tv screens of the day. (We’ve come a long way since those ridiculous cathode-ray tubes, kids.) The problem, of course, with the “glow puck,” was that instead of making the puck easier to see, it just reinforced the idea that watching hockey on TV was impossibly difficult.
Indeed, Bettman was quick to preserve the reputation of the league when he emerged from his Penguins’ Lair to orate the following strong message to a concerned fan base:
“I don’t need it, [but] it doesn’t bother me. “I don’t like the blue dot – but if it makes it easier for [TV] fans, that’s fine.”
Since then, Bettman has employed the same resolute determination when guiding the NHL with his incredibly consistent NHL discipline plan, for injuries and scandals. (A flowchart.)
This season, there was plenty of nasty stuff out there that drew our ire. Here are our nominees; the winner receives a free platter of those heart-attack nachos, (glow-puck coaster not included), so vote wisely.
1. The Green Men and the City of Vancouver – The louder that hockey traditionalists cried foul over these green-skinned freaks, the more butt (or package) the Green Men pressed up against the penalty box glass. Loved by some, loathed by many, the Green Men set a wacko fan precedent that will lead only to god knows what in the stands next year, as circus-themed populations such as Montreal will undoubtedly try to outdo them. I would say that they were a “riot,” but what happened in the city of Vancouver after their team collapsed out of the Stanley Cup Final put the “I don’t care if I’m a sports star of my own, losing just makes me wanna’ smash stuff and blow up police cars” back into that word.
2. Mario Lemieux – It’s no secret that the NHL greatly misses Mario’s
talents whining since he retired, but he was kind enough to remind us all that he still has it. After a dirty hockey game against the Islanders, Lemieux was prompted to release a statement whining doctrine masterpiece in which he warned, “If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.” Mario conveniently left out the fact that he employs the dirtiest little cheap shot artist in the league (who is also the most hated player in the league).
3. The Thrashers’ Atlanta “Spirit” Group – There is nothing funny about this at all, so we’re going to skip the jokes. Instead, here’s a punch-in-the-gut quote from former co-owner Michael Gearon, who “broke down several times” when he assured Thrashers fans “I’ve been focused on trying to avoid this day. I spent time with possible investors going back four years ago, because I was concerned this day would come. I made a desperate plea in February. Unfortunately, that didn’t lead to any real prospects. To be sitting here today is just awful for me.” To which the disgusted fans of Atlanta responded, “Sitting there? Sit and spin, (expletive)!”
Probably shouldn’t have ended this on such a downer. Ugh. Anyway, those are our candidates. Make sure you vote with a heavy dose of spleen. I assure you, hitting one of these buttons is going to make you feel at least a little bit better.
next post: Mogilny’s Sombrero Night Hat Trick: Pictures and Video!