Archive for the ‘Gary Bettman’ Category

What if the NHL instituted a luxury tax?

July 13, 2009
Stern: “Bettman’s on the phone again? Aw, not again … “

So, we are 99.99 percent sure that the CBA prohibits the institution of a luxury tax, but let’s just dream for a minute that Gary Bettman could justify his massive salary by stumbling upon a magic loophole.

Seeing that marquee franchises in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit and even San Jose will feel a considerable pinch going into the 2010-11, the league declares a “state of emergency” for the cap with the solution of instituting a luxury tax so that teams could exceed the ceiling. (At a huge price, of course).

Now, instead of wondering who the Hawks would have to move to accomodate the re-signing of Kane, Toews and Keith, the hockey world would ask: are the Blackhawks willing to fork over the dough to make it happen? It would be a godsend for hockey bloggers/pundits/message board trolls and a great way to allow money making franchises to keep their rosters together.

The best part, though, is how the league could potentially use the extra cash to benefit everyone. Let’s daydream for a moment:

  • The league creates a “luxury tax” pool each season. They pledge to use every dime to purchase high-end advertising spots during events such as the Super Bowl and American Idol. Also, more money could be spent to publicize the Stanley Cup Finals and Winter Classic.

  • Maybe the league could pump that money into moving the “NHL on the Fly” broadcasts from what seems to be a broom closet to … what’s that called again? Oh, right, a studio. It would also be nice if the NHL Network stopped playing the same Capitals-Rangers game on an endless loop, now that you mention it.
  • Since Bettman clearly will not take any egg on his face/acknowledge economic realities regarding the Phoenix Coyotes scenario, the league could use luxury tax money to take care of the ‘Yotes debts and pay Wayne Gretzky buckets of money to exist/coach a team that has never made the playoffs under his tutleage.
  • Perhaps they could lend Versus a little money to get Brian Engblom a haircut* and produce a freakin’ highlight show already.

  • Put the luxury tax money to good use by helping families who cannot afford hockey equipment. Or better yet, donate it to charity or to retired players’ pension funds.
  • Use the money to revamp the city of Edmonton, so Dany Heatley can continue his pampered existence without any fear of bad weather, the ghosts of his past or backchecking.
  • Bribe Pierre McGuire to just go away. Please.

What would YOU want the league to do with extra cash if they could receive luxury tax money?

* – I think he actually DID get a slightly better hair cut this year, but are you going to complain about seeing this photo?

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Cream dreams: Which teams would the NHL like to win each first round series?

April 17, 2009

We’ve already discussed which series are the most interesting, but those thoughts were polluted with the heart beats of hardcore hockey fandom. Now let’s ask another question: if the league (as a whole) had it’s way, which teams would win each series? Feel free to state counterarguments in the comments.

1. Boston vs. 8. Montreal
Since the league is a slave to NBC, it’s pretty obvious that most of the suits would like to see the Big American market Bruins make it through to the second round. We think that it’s good to have Canadian teams make runs through the playoffs (American ratings be damned), but let’s admit it: the Habs have been a mess.

NHL’s cream dream winner: Boston

1. San Jose vs. 8. Anaheim
Both teams are familiar to hockey fans. Both play in markets that are considered somewhat small and niche. It wouldn’t be a disaster for the Ducks to advance, but the lure of a Detroit/San Jose conference finals is hard to deny.

NHL’s cream dream winner: San Jose

2. Washington vs. 7. New York
This isn’t a cut-and-dry case because the Rangers are a big market team. But let’s face it, the league hopefully learned a thing or two that Boston-San Jose was such a big ratings success for Versus. Big Stars trump Big Markets, IMO. And there isn’t a bigger star than Alex Ovechkin. The league needs him to advance and draw more eyeballs.
NHL’s cream dream winner: Washington

2. Detroit vs. 7. Columbus
Duh.

NHL’s cream dream winner: Detroit

3. New Jersey vs. 6. Carolina
Let me take you inside an NHL executive meeting:

(A bunch of old white dudes sit around a table more expensive than a full year of producing NHL On the Fly)

Random Exec: So, the Penguins made the playoffs and so did the Caps.
(Gary Bettman drinks from a cup full of blood)
Random Exec: We’ve got a lot of gr–
Bettman: Fuck it. At least we’ll get rid of the Devils or Hurricanes early.
(Awkward silence)
NHL’s cream dream winner: New Jersey

3. Vancouver vs. 6. St. Louis
How powerful is the preference for American markets? That’s the big question with this one since the Blues are still a relative unknown to many hockey fans. We’re going to go slightly off the beaten path and say that the league would be better off with Luongo, the embattled Sundin and the Sedin twins than with the St. Louis market.

NHL’s cream dream winner: Vancouver

4. Pittsburgh vs. 5. Philadelphia
This series is the complete opposite of New Jersey vs. Carolina. Two great, historic hockey markets brimming with stars and interesting elements but only one can advance. If you don’t know who the league would prefer, you haven’t been following ANYTHING.

NHL’s cream dream winner: Pittsburgh

4. Chicago vs. 5. Calgary
Lllllllet’s see. On one side, you have an original 6-franchise in one of the biggest American markets, with one of the brightest American stars in ages and an arena that can hold 20,000 insane fans. On the other side, you have the dude who’s banging Elisha Cuthbert, the beloved star that Sean Avery called out for being boring and a legion of rambunctious Canadian fans.

NHL’s cream dream winner: Chicago

***

So, oddly enough, the league’s probably rooting for an upset-free first round of the playoffs. Agree? Disagree? Offended that I’d mock the act of drinking blood? Do tell.

Bertuzzday: The NHL’s dopey Heman advertising campaign

November 25, 2008

He imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him. He imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him. He imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

All lockout and no play makes NHL marketing a dull boy.

Coming out of the lockout, Gary Bettman and Co. were trying to re-establish or reignite hockey’s place in the sports world. During this process, the league left its unappreciative, abusive lover in ESPN for the sexually mundane but clingy Outdoor Life Network (which showed its undying love by changing its network name to the more sensible and less shit-kick-uous Versus). Thankfully, the league bounced back because it opened up the game in a variety of ways. The game sold itself.

And it had to, because christ almighty, those advertisements were Monster Energy Drink rejects. Somewhere Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer were waiting for royalty checks.

The scene starts off with a quote from The Art of War, following the time honored tradition of comparing a child’s game to war. Sure, getting a Chris Pronger elbow to the head hurts but most people would prefer an attack from Stompy over shrapnel to the throat.

The war analogy is weak, but the execution is even worse. The scene starts with homoerotic man boobage only to be followed by misogyny, when TUPH ACTOR HOCKEY PLAYER is too manly to put on his hockey equipment. Nope, he needs some random piece of ass to suit him up.

Then we see TAHP square off with Bland Hockey Opponent in NHL logo Gear.

BHOiNLG: “Nervous?”

TAHP: “This is going to be fun!”

Whoa-ho. Look out Gladiator. The NHL is coming to wreck your shit! Cue the sexy female narrator and get her the Lao Tzu lines! Now, dammit!

Perhaps the most hysterical part is the ending, when the puck streams iconic hockey images on both sides on its journey to the UBER COOL GAME WINNING GOAL. That definitely made the Fox exec behind the GloPuck cream his pants.

Instead of using a generic war movie orchestra score, the NHL should have just used Godsmack. It worked for the US Army, why can’t it work for a fake hockey army?

Over time the NHL’s gotten better at realizing that its fans (and potential fans) are no longer impressed by meathead commercials and that hockey’s niche sport status suggests a humorous approach. Over the last few years, they’ve hit their stride with very funny commercials (featuring Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin) and even came up with some solid cereal ones too (kinda dig this year’s “talking inside the photo/Zack Morris freeze-time inspired” spots, but the real champ is that sweet ass Stanley Cup montage). Those ad campaigns actually are a solid example of the NHL listening to its fans, even if the league’s hearing is rather selective *COUGH*Fire Gary Bettman *COUGH COUGH.*

Next week, we’ll take a look at the absurdly goofy and strange ads from past and present (here’s a hint, Max Talbot might make an appearance). I want to make sure I get as many of the best quirky NHL ads so please link any relevant ridiculous local commercials in the comments.

Until then, here’s four of the better NHL ads to come in recent times:

God, this Cup raising commercial is just amazing: