Breaking Sports

Thursday, June 09, 2005

nhl- The Architect of Doom

from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Commissioner Gary Bettman has been the Architect of Doom, leading the NHL through a disastrous period of mindless over-expansion and costly homogenization of the product. Somehow, some way, the NHL attracted ambitious billionaire owners and then brought out the worst in them.
Attempts to attract new fans alienated the diehard fans. The NHL used to be a vibrant niche sport with a religious following in strong markets both sides of the border; now it is a watered-down NBA wannabe stuck in Sun Belt markets with dim futures.
A thrilling, hard-hitting live spectacle turned into tedious games of keep-away. Stifling team defensive schemes negated speed and skill. Fighting, once integral to the sport, became a predictable sideshow. Body-checking gave way to hooking and holding.
The body count was extraordinary during this needless battle. The players drank the Kool-Aid served by NHLPA czar Bob Goodenow and acted like tough guys . . . only to agree to a CBA that could have been ironed out two years ago without massive loss of income.
The fallout on their side of the bargaining table will be tremendous, too. Agents will demand a much stronger say in how the NHLPA operates. How can Goodenow survive this fiasco? the whole story...