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If we're going to fault Bettman for all of those, then why don't we fault David Stern for terrible attendance numbers in Memphis, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Charlotte and New Orleans? So far what I've heard (I follow hockey but I admit I'm not a die-hard by any means) from Bettman bashers is that he allowed franchises to move from "hockey markets" to "non-hockey markets".

Relocation happens in sports. It's just a fact of life. Nobody is saying Paul Tagliabue was a bad commissioner because he allowed the Oilers to move from Houston to Nashville or the Browns to move from Cleveland to Baltimore, but somehow what Bettman allowed is/was so much worse. I simply do not buy the argument.

Revenue sharing in the NHL works for all 30 teams in the league. The NBA and MLB certainly can't make that claim, and the NFL can only because it brings in such absurd amounts of money that it would be nearly impossible for a franchise to operate and not make a metric crapton of profit. The fact that the NHL has been able to survive and even thrive in this economy at least shows Bettman isn't a bumbling fool throwing money into failing teams like David Stern has done for the past 15 years with teams like the Bobcats, Kings and Hornets. He was lucky Mikhail Prokorov bought the Nets, or they'd be on the chopping block too.

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The fact that the NHL has been able to survive and even thrive in this economy at least shows Bettman isn't (a bumbling fool) throwing money into failing teams like David Stern has done for the past 15 years with teams like the Bobcats, Kings and Hornets.

No, but the taxpayers are.

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So Bettman gets a pass for keeping the Coyotes in league-owned purgatory but Stern is damned for the Hornets situation?

As to your question, well the obvious answer is that both commissioners are in the wrong in insisting on keeping a team in a market that doesn't want them while more deserving markets remain team-less (and if you're going to continue commenting on the Coyotes-to-Canada talk get it straight, it's Quebec City, no one's serious about moving them to an Ontario locale).

The difference, and why Bettman's transgression is worse, is because on top of putting the Coyotes on league welfare he's also convinced a municipality to cover their losses up to $25 million a year. A city, Glendale, is spending tax money on a team no one wants. Money that should be going to paying for civic services and paying civil servants. The most recent plan to sell the team to an owner committed to keeping the team in Arizona involved the city spending more tax money to pay the potential owner to take the team. They were going to pay him more then he was going to pay to get the team in the first place. It's the most absurd form of a government handout to a corporation most of us have ever seen. For all that Stern is doing wrong with the Hornets in New Orleans he isn't insisting the city help foot the bill with tax dollars, as far as I know. On top of that the Coyotes play in a half-foreclosed strip mall, making Bettman's insistence on keeping them in the greater Phoenix area that much more absurd.

As for Seattle losing the Sonics? Under Bettman Winnipeg lost the Jets, Quebec City lost the Nordiques, Hartford lost the Whalers, and Minnesota lost the North Stars. Most of these teams left for unproven markets, and expansion teams were granted to more unproven markets while loyal hockey fans were dicked around for over a decade and a half. The expansion/relocations that failed have failed badly, yet the league under Bettman continues to keep teams where they don't draw while actual fans in real hockey markets (both in Canada and the United States) are left without teams.

I'm not saying Stern's perfect, far from it. He just hasn't mismanaged his league to the extent Bettman has.

Oh, and we can't forget about the new ball fiasco, can we?

Under Bettman we had the initial Reebok Edge rollout (if you keep bringing up the new ball and standardized Super Bowl logos then the Edge stuff has to count too), the abolition of traditional conference and division names, and an attempt to replace the NHL logo with an NBA-style logo during his early years. Oh, and he floated a plan to try and re-name the league's trophies clamming no one knew they were named after. Sorry Gary, hockey fans know who they're named after.

Bolded point 1: Ultimately, blame should go to the folks in Glendale instead of Bettman. It was their decision to fund taxpayer money on the Coyotes. Blame the taxpayers for keeping those clowns in office. You're blaming Bettman just for the sake of "blame Bettman".

Bolded point 2: Bettman was only responsible for one round of expansion (Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota). Two of these cities could be considered "traditional" hockey markets (Minneapolis, Columbus), and a third was a city that had an NHL team before (Atlanta). Nashville was seen as an up-and-coming sports market, with population going up and the Oilers/Titans fandom exploding. Furthermore, the Commish didn't have too much power in franchise relocation, especially when the incoming owners had intent on moving the teams when they purchased them. As long as the other owners' markets weren't being imposed upon, they have no qualms with team movement. Again, blaming Bettman for something that's not really his fault.

Bolded point 3: Bettman wasn't responsible for the changing of conference/division names. That was Ziegler's doing.

I've long said that if "team location" is your biggest negative, then you've gotta be doing a great job with being commissioner. If your biggest beef about Bettman is that there's a hockey team in Phoenix, you've got to be happy about the NHL's general state of affairs.

Or, you know, trying to eliminate hitting and fighting as well as getting players to wear hard plastic equipment which only causes more injuries. And what Ice_Cap has mentioned above.

I'm all for eliminating fighting. To me, it just interrupts the flow of the game.

You can reduce the padding only if you ban slapshots and non-wooden sticks.

I think hockey's reached the point now where the players are too big and too fast for the sport to be safe, especially for those that want the game to stay a physical one.

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Bolded point 2: Bettman was only responsible for one round of expansion (Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota). Two of these cities could be considered "traditional" hockey markets (Minneapolis, Columbus), and a third was a city that had an NHL team before (Atlanta). Nashville was seen as an up-and-coming sports market, with population going up and the Oilers/Titans fandom exploding. Furthermore, the Commish didn't have too much power in franchise relocation, especially when the incoming owners had intent on moving the teams when they purchased them. As long as the other owners' markets weren't being imposed upon, they have no qualms with team movement. Again, blaming Bettman for something that's not really his fault.

1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

2. Putting a team where one has already failed...nice...

I'm all for eliminating fighting. To me, it just interrupts the flow of the game.

You can reduce the padding only if you ban slapshots and non-wooden sticks.

I think hockey's reached the point now where the players are too big and too fast for the sport to be safe, especially for those that want the game to stay a physical one.

No, not padding. This armour. Put in this padding.

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If we're going to fault Bettman for all of those, then why don't we fault David Stern for terrible attendance numbers in Memphis, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Charlotte and New Orleans? So far what I've heard (I follow hockey but I admit I'm not a die-hard by any means) from Bettman bashers is that he allowed franchises to move from "hockey markets" to "non-hockey markets".

And he deserves to be bashed for doing so when those moves/expansion choices end up failing. The southern expansion/relocation was as reckless as the speculation that led to the suburban housing bubble. It looked great short term because of the "potential" growth these markets seemed to promise, plus the league got to pocket the expansion/relocation fees, which helped inflate the bottom line. It was all a house of cards, however, and things are falling apart now that some of those "non-hockey markets" are failing.

It's not just that he relocated the Jets 1.0 to Phoenix. It's that he's kept them there, on the Glendale's tax payer's dime, long after smart business sense dictated moving them to a more secure hockey market. Again, Stern's still at fault for keeping the Hornets in league owned purgatory in New Orleans, but at least he's not doing it with public money. Also the Hornets don't play in a half-foreclosed strip mall. The Coyotes do, which makes Bettman's insistence that they stay all the more absurd. I know I said that before, but it warrants being repeated as you either ignored it or missed it the first time.

Relocation happens in sports. It's just a fact of life. Nobody is saying Paul Tagliabue was a bad commissioner because he allowed the Oilers to move from Houston to Nashville or the Browns to move from Cleveland to Baltimore, but somehow what Bettman allowed is/was so much worse. I simply do not buy the argument.

I'll break it down. The NHL's southern relocation/expansion wasn't like moving the Oilers to Tennessee or the Browns to Baltimore. Those moves, while certainly creating sore feelings, simply saw teams move from one football market to another. The fantastic part is that the fans in the original cities ultimately got teams back too, so in the end all deserving markets got franchises.

With the NHL southern expansion/relocation teams were moved out of hockey hotbeds to non-hockey markets. Not only that but the NHL made it very clear that they had no desire to return to the cities that lost teams. You think Gary Bettman was proclaiming "finally, we get to go back to Winnipeg!" when TNSE bought the Thrashers? Of course not. Winnipeg doesn't fit into his "vision" of the NHL. He was very adamant about the Jets leaving for Phoenix in 1996. He wants to pretend the NHL is a truly national (US national not Canada national) league and teams in Phoenix and Atlanta help build up that perception. Bettman took the NHL south and tried to fit square pegs into round holes while existing hockey fans were left without teams and facing the very real possibility that the league would never come back. That's why relocation under Tagliabue was different then relocation under Bettman.

For the record Winnipeg only got a team back because the Atlanta Spirit wanted out of the NHL and put the Thrashers on the market at the same time Bettman was dealing with the Coyotes. The owners would love to buy into his "we're a national league, honest!" fantasy, but they weren't going to tolerate two teams going on league welfare at the same time, so Gary had to let one go to Winnipeg, and he chose the Thrashers. Had the Coyotes not been under league management at the time there's no doubt in my mind that Bettman would have worked to block the sale the Thrashers to a group committed to moving them to Winnipeg.

Now why did he pick the Thrashers over the Coyotes? It's a question worth asking when evaluating Bettman as a commissioner. He kind of answered it himself actually. He said that he was going to remain committed to keeping the Coyotes in Glendale as long as the city was willing to cover the losses, up to $25 million a year. Which in and of itself is pretty terrible. Tax money should never go to subsidizing a sports team. Lets dig deeper though. Atlanta is the eighth largest media market in the US. The greater Phoenix metro area (which includes Glendale) is 12th. The Coyotes were without an owner and bleeding tax payer money. The Thrashers had an ownership group that could have been persuaded to hang in there for another year or two to find a local owner and they weren't existing off of government subsidy. It seems like, given the choice, the smart move would have been to sell the Coyotes to TNSE, move them back to Winnipeg, and continue to look for ownership to take over the Thrashers from the Spirit group. Not only do you get a team off of league and government welfare, but you also keep the 8th largest media market at the expense of the 12th.

Bettman, however, decided to send the Thrashers north, keeping the Coyotes on league and government welfare and keeping the 12th largest media market at the expense of the 8th. So basically the opposite of what anyone with a hint of common sense would have done. Why? There are only two answers. Either he really is ok letting a city bankrupt itself to pay for a hockey team no one in the area cares about or he can't deal with the blow to his ego that would come from the Coyotes moving back to Canada. Either way he kind of sucks at running the National Hockey League.

Revenue sharing in the NHL works for all 30 teams in the league. The fact that the NHL has been able to survive and even thrive in this economy...

The system that exists in the NHL works. In theory. That's kind of pointless, however, when you have five teams with immediate ownership/revenue problems, one of which is only able to stay alive due to league welfare and tax payer handouts. Those teams that are struggling, by the way? Yeah, that's proof that the league isn't exactly "thriving."

...at least shows Bettman isn't a bumbling fool throwing money into failing teams like David Stern has done for the past 15 years with teams like the Bobcats, Kings and Hornets.

Um, what have we been discussing for pages now? The Coyotes. He's throwing both the money of profitable teams and tax payer money at them. All while the area makes it clearer with each passing day that they want nothing to do with NHL hockey.

The Bobcats, Kings, and Hornets aren't in the best positions, but at least they aren't surviving on actual government handouts like the Coyotes are.

Bolded point 1: Ultimately, blame should go to the folks in Glendale instead of Bettman. It was their decision to fund taxpayer money on the Coyotes. Blame the taxpayers for keeping those clowns in office. You're blaming Bettman just for the sake of "blame Bettman".

It takes two to tango. When the city approached Bettman/the league with putting the Coyotes on welfare he should have known that they were past the point of saving the franchise in its current location. He's still an idiot for going along with an idiotic/irresponsible plan.

Bolded point 2: Bettman was only responsible for one round of expansion (Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota). Two of these cities could be considered "traditional" hockey markets (Minneapolis, Columbus), and a third was a city that had an NHL team before (Atlanta). Nashville was seen as an up-and-coming sports market, with population going up and the Oilers/Titans fandom exploding. Furthermore, the Commish didn't have too much power in franchise relocation, especially when the incoming owners had intent on moving the teams when they purchased them. As long as the other owners' markets weren't being imposed upon, they have no qualms with team movement. Again, blaming Bettman for something that's not really his fault.

I would hardly call Columbus a "traditional hockey market." It's a college town that's devoted to collegiate athletics. You would almost think the NHL only went there to split the difference between Cincinnati and Cleveland. At any rate the Blue Jackets are facing ownership/revenue/arena problems as well (which may end up being "solved" with more government handouts), so even on the Minnesota/Columbus round he's only working with a 50% success rate.

As for being powerless in regards to relocation? Bull. Sheet. He personally intervened in the negotiations between the Penguins and Pittsburgh to keep the team in town, and he went to court to keep the Coyotes from being sold to a guy who would move them. His current position is that he'll fight to keep teams where they are. Go back to 1995 and 1996 though? He's more then happy to help in any way he can to get the Nordiques to Denver and the Jets 1.0 to Phoenix. Gary Bettman is only powerless to stop relocation when he doesn't feel like stopping relocation.

EDIT-

Wow that's a lot of words. I think we've gone beyond the scope of the topic though. There's already a thread about the Coyotes in Phoenix. Either that or just PM me. Whatevers.

Edited by Ice_Cap

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Florida for as long as I can remember has made terrible management deals. Phoenix is still mediocre, without an owner, and plays an hour away from the actual city. Dallas was going through management issues, until recently I think? All of these teams at some point have had a lot of crap to deal with from the management, whether it's having an ownership issue (Lightning in the Koules era) to having an awful coach (Melrose), to average players. Who really draws when Shane Doan (a mildly above average player) is top billing?

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Florida for as long as I can remember has made terrible management deals. Phoenix is still mediocre, without an owner, and plays an hour away from the actual city. Dallas was going through management issues, until recently I think? All of these teams at some point have had a lot of crap to deal with from the management, whether it's having an ownership issue (Lightning in the Koules era) to having an awful coach (Melrose), to average players. Who really draws when Shane Doan (a mildly above average player) is top billing?

The Leafs sold out with Toskala as their starter. And Raycroft. And tellqvist. And when we had Stajan, Hagman, Poni, Antropov, and Blake in our top 6.

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Toronto can sell out games featuring 6 piles of dog turds as their starting lineup, just as there will be a waiting list for Packers tickets for a team featuring 11 mannequins.

Using the most popular hockey team in North America as a retort is completely unfair and you know it.

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Toronto can sell out games featuring 6 piles of dog turds as their starting lineup, just as there will be a waiting list for Packers tickets for a team featuring 11 mannequins.

Using the most popular hockey team in North America as a retort is completely unfair and you know it.

That's true. But to have the St. Louis Blues rank top 10 in league attendance 4 straight years (including this one) despite the fact that they never have won anything, have no superstars, and made the playoffs once in that span (when they were swept) is more than fair to argue.

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Toronto can sell out games featuring 6 piles of dog turds as their starting lineup, just as there will be a waiting list for Packers tickets for a team featuring 11 mannequins.

Pretty sure I saw those guys play in the 1980s.

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Toronto can sell out games featuring 6 piles of dog turds as their starting lineup, just as there will be a waiting list for Packers tickets for a team featuring 11 mannequins.

Using the most popular hockey team in North America as a retort is completely unfair and you know it.

That's true. But to have the St. Louis Blues rank top 10 in league attendance 4 straight years (including this one) despite the fact that they never have won anything, have no superstars, and made the playoffs once in that span (when they were swept) is more than fair to argue.

Really? Right after the lockout, the Blues were getting around 12k, due to perceptions (which were true) of mismanagement by outgoing ownership. Even with a change of ownership, it took some time to get people back in the house.

Missing the playoffs a lot after having gone for twenty-five years straight also hurts (see also: mismanagement).

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All you need to know is that he thinks this is a good place for hockey

phoenix-coyotes-empty-arena-no-fans-NHL.jpg

And yes, that is in the middle of a game.

Hell, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Bettwoman's brilliant ideas to put hockey teams in the desert.

WOW, that is pathetic. What a shame, because it's such a

nice arena, and the team has played some of their best hockey in franchise history the last couple of years. Although to be fair, you can't see the whole upper deck in that shot, and it looks like it might be somewhat full.

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All you need to know is that he thinks this is a good place for hockey

phoenix-coyotes-empty-arena-no-fans-NHL.jpg

And yes, that is in the middle of a game.

Hell, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Bettwoman's brilliant ideas to put hockey teams in the desert.

WOW, that is pathetic. What a shame, because it's such a

nice arena, and the team has played some of their best hockey in franchise history the last couple of years. Although to be fair, you can't see the whole upper deck in that shot, and it looks like it might be somewhat full.

It wasn't. The "sold attendance" was around 7,000 for that game. Less people actually in the building. I bet if you added the concession workers, ushers, security, team store employees, Coyotes staff, front office, and players you still wouldn't have hit 7,000. Hell you could add the attendance at the Margaritaville outside and it might not have hit that number that night.

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1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

So do California, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

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1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

So do California, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Yes, but Pennsylvania's only relevant NHL team (the Penguins) actually has fans that support them.

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1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

So do California, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Yes, but Pennsylvania's only relevant NHL team (the Penguins) actually has fans that support them.

Um, you do realize that the Flyers were Stanley Cup runners-up only two seasons ago, right?

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1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

So do California, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Yes, but Pennsylvania's only relevant NHL team (the Penguins) actually has fans that support them.

Um, you do realize that the Flyers were Stanley Cup runners-up only two seasons ago, right?

PROTIP: Ignore Will

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1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

So do California, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Yes, but Pennsylvania's only relevant NHL team (the Penguins) actually has fans that support them has the biggest bandwagoning fanbase in the league.

FTFY

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1. Because Ohio has such a rich hockey heritage rolleyes.gif

So do California, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Yes, but Pennsylvania's only relevant NHL team (the Penguins) actually has fans that support them has the biggest bandwagoning fanbase in the league.

FTFY

No kidding. The Flyers are the only American expansion franchise to consistanly make money since it's inception. Even during the lean years, Flyer fans still come out to support the team. Pittsburgh on the other hand has been on the verge of moving on multiple occasions due to the lack of fan support...

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