I give GB a wide margin of error basically for checking into the Westin for 2 weeks and leveraging a deal between the City/State and Lemieux LLP. We're not going to have to watch what Quebec did (Team moves and immediately wins a Cup) because he mediated that deal on behalf of the NHL.
On the other hand, he refuses to stand up for the marginalization of our game by re-upping with Versus and letting the rules committee diminish aggression. People in taverns in non-hockey markets are either watching ESPN, which has roughly 2 minutes of NHL coverage an hour, or ESPN2, the network of billiards, darts, and poker tourneys.
I wish the short bastard would promote Hockey as Hockey. Yes, people may indeed fight one another. No, there aren't mixed messages. They are there so that nobody is boarded at 25MPH or elbowed in their orbital bone, hence, enforcers.
The guys who know those oft-mentioned unwritten rules, ones which I hope Gary Bettman isn't planning on someday jotting down for the purposes of printing them on a tee-shirt for $29.99.
Promote them. Those types of men are the ones at every Hospital visit, in the communities, and generally giving of themselves on behalf of the team and their sport.
The Parroses and the Laraques are the guys taking little kids' slappers off the junk at the Boys and Girls clubs whilst retaining a smile, after all.
I don't wanna see Marty Turco hit in the face with a pie. I want to see the average NHLer's athleticism and toughness put on equal terms with any other sport. At least equal terms.
I'm talking to you, Shaq, and your injured toe. You big bitch. You know what? Dmitry Yuskevich played in a Quarterfinal series with 9 broken toes for the Leafs, and the mainstream would maintain that he's a Soft Euro, nowhere near as tough as, say, Kyle Farnsworth.
It would be nice to see NHL Hockey in certain Canadian cities again, but Bettman can't expect investors to start popping up to build arenas and take a multi-million dollar risk. Save for Hamilton, ON, that's exactly what it would be.
Until then, get back on mainstream TV, and stop marginalizing junkie fans like me, Gary. I hate Joe Bennenatti. Hit him in the face with a pie. Do it, Gary! Stay out of your own way.
Footnote: I can't wait to smoke Toronto 5-1 on "Dougie Night". He was a punk in Toronto, and especially in Buffalo. I'd fight him right now, left handed, but his punk buddies like Vaclav Varada would charge me when I was trying to pick up my morning paper next week.