Sunday, 21 January 2007

The State of the Union

Gary Bettman always does this little thing around the NHL All-Star Game called the "State of the Union Address". Basically, it's a big press conference where he manipulates stats to make himself and the league look really good when we all know he's lying about some of the stuff. Other stuff, we have no clue about, but it's better to take that with a grain of salt.

In my experience, I find Bettman to be a spin doctor. He never quite tells the whole truth, but markets his version of the truth well enough for people to say "that sounds alright". I'm going to do the same. Here is Teebz's unofficial, non-NHL-endorsed State of the Union Address.

"The NHL, as it stands right now, is finding its way back onto the mainstream sports stage. The action in the NHL has never been better, and there are some really good players showcasing what they can do on a nightly basis. Penalties are up, meaning more powerplays, but the players know that in order to succeed in this new NHL, clutching and grabbing and interference will not be tolerated. The officials have done a wonderful job in eliminating as much of the holding and hooking as they can, and we at the NHL Head Offices applaud their efforts.

"There is some concern over the shootout, specifically the officiating of the shootout and what constitutes a goal. The Chicago Blackhawks lost a point due to the NHL goal judges in Toronto overruling the on-ice officials after the puck slid slowly into the net. In fact, you can view the video here. Having reviewed this myself, changes will be made. No longer will the goal judges at the NHL Head Offices in Toronto be allowed to change an on-ice official's call if (a) there is no call for a review, or (b) there is a blatent and obvious missed call on a goal by the on-ice officials. The second example is best shown by the Dallas Stars-Edmonton Oilers game in early November. You can view the video here. We support our officials in every way we can, and our Toronto office goal judges are there as support for the officials, not to overrule them as they feel.

"While the discussions in Pittsburgh are ongoing, and all media is focussed on what the Penguins are going to do, I am here to tell you that I will assist in any way that I can in order for the Penguins to remain in Pittsburgh. However, from an NHL standpoint, we do have concerns about other franchises. The Florida Panthers are currently playing in an area populated by more retired senior citizens than any other demographic. While we encourage our elders to come to NHL games, the Panthers have moved further away from their market, Miami, and have seen a drop in attendance as such. While I cannot disclose the lease information the Panthers have with their current arena, the NHL will recommend to Mr. Alan Cohen and Mr. Bernie Kosar that they move their franchise to Miami sooner rather than later. While I'm not going to enter into any discussion about poor management of teams in terms of their on-ice performance, relocation of teams and/or expansion of the NHL will be a moot point until further notice. Teams with lower attendances in large markets will have to find a way to market themselves accordingly, whether it be lower ticket prices, better players, or some other factor.

"Our on-going relationships with the AHL and ECHL have provided the NHL with some excellent players and results, and we will continue the partnership agreements with both leagues.

"The NHL, in its constant search for better technology, will be introducing new NHL jerseys to the public on Monday at a press conference in Dallas. I am aware that the traditional hockey fan is against the idea of these new jerseys due to their 'template' that Reebok has designed. I am going on record here that we will not have the same fiasco that the NBA had with the new ball it tried to introduce. The players, for the most part, have expressed positive feedback. We understand that sometimes change is viewed negatively. It is because of this that we will be reviewing fan feedback at all NHL games in order to properly adjudicate the changes made to the NHL jerseys. As a result, we also will be lowering the prices of the new jerseys in order for people to buy them if they like them. The current price tag of $349.99 for an authentic jersey will be reduced by 50% to $174.99. Is it still expensive? Yes. But $350 would go a long way towards NHL tickets, and it is more important to have fans in the seats than watching from a local sports bar with a new jersey.

"Finally, the NHL would like to express to the fans a large 'thank you' from all 30 NHL teams and the NHL Head Offices for their support of their team and the league. Without the fans, we wouldn't have a league, and we are grateful for any and all support we get. Thank you, NHL fans. We owe it to you to give the best show we can every night of the week."

So that's how I'd start the "State of the Union" address to the press. Of course, there would be many questions to follow, and I would encourage them. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section. I would love to have my own Q&A period on here, and this could be the start of one today.

That's it for today. Keep your stick on the ice!


Erich said...

Nice Blog! Saw the link on Uni Watch Blog...I really like the format and like seeing your opinions and agree on the third jerseys, except for maybe the Avalanche's... I like it! Anywho, check out my St. Louis Blues blog if you like... Lemme know what you think...
Keep It Up!! I've bookmarked ya Teebz!~~Erich

Dave said...


Great blog, but I just want to point out a small error. You said the Blackhawks lost a point due to the NHL goal judges in Toronto, but the opposition in the video in the link is the Wild. The Leafs are bad enough this season without being blamed for other teams errors.

Teebz said...

That's correct, Dave. The NHL head offices in Toronto review every shootout goal as it happens. The Wild's goal judges don't have any authority over the shootout. Therefore, Toronto's NHL head office goal judges cost the Blackhawks a point.

tessa said...

The Hockey Wing has its own web space now, eh? Looks very nice. I am looking forward to seeing your unfettered hockey insights.

Dave said...

Now that I read it again, I see where you were going. Sorry for the snap judgement. When I see goal judges, I instinctively think of the guys behind the goal that press the red lights. There's gotta be another name for the head office ones to eliminate the confusion.

Jonathan Goupil said...

Again Teebz, great entry. Would be nice if common sense would dictate the NHL's decisions. I think Bettman has done more bad than good during his tenure. The worst thing the NHL has done is to forget about the fans. 350$ for a jersey? Come on! Expansion teams in Nashville, Miami, Anaheim... I don't get it.

And what's your opinion on players rushing the goalie in the shootout like Wild's PM Bouchard against Chicago a few weeks back? It got Martin Brodeur pissed. I thought it was a cool move, but I'm afraid it's a dangerous precedent. Shouldn't the league be more specific on what and what-not to do in a shootout? Your thoughts?

Teebz said...

I agree the NHL should make more conclusive rulings on the shootout, Jonathan. The "spin-o-rama" should be outlawed in that the player stops moving forward for a split second while making the move. As for telling teams what to do/what not to do... I say let the creativity flow. However, the standard international shootout rules should be observed.