Isle of Capri-ciousness
Full credit to my friend, Peter Evans, for that witty headline, and also for these thoughts on today's announcement that the slot license the Pittsburgh Penguins were hoping for was granted to a different party:
Reading all this Penguins-related stuff, I find the NHL very distasteful today.It's true. And we all know why.
The league clearly wants that team to stay in Pittsburgh. So do I, I suppose — I just resent that there wasn't the same dedication 10 years ago in the 'Peg or Q.C. or even Hartford for that matter. It's like Tom Benjamin pointed out a few weeks ago: Nashville got $14-million (U.S.) in revenue-sharing money last year. If Winnipeg were given a $14-million headstart every year, do you think they'd still be able to survive and ice a competitive team? I think it's a no-brainer.
Regardless of how badly the league punts teams around various unsuitable American markets, shunning the Canadian public that waves fistfuls of dollars at anything hockey, this country is always going to keep tuning in. We can't help it.
Even the cantankerous Benjamin, who swore off supporting the product when it was no longer to his liking, is back watching the game (if only to complain about it), and so, too, are all of the other pundits who have wailed and moaned about how the game needs to be improved, teams need to be moved and various other modifications we've all heard time and again.
Because, as much as we'd all like to see some changes in how the NHL is run, Canada is in for the long haul, no questions asked. It is our game, one of those funny Canadianisms that really does set the country apart from the American behemoth, and we'll support it until the bitter end.
Even if it means taking it in the teeth from Gary Bettman and company all the while.
As per usual, Eric Duhatschek has a beat on why exactly Bettman and the NHL were so desperate to keep Jim Balsillie away from the Penguins, even if it meant an uncertain future for the franchise:
If commissioner Gary Bettman could be made to answer a single question under oath, penalty of death and/or the influence of truth serum — does letting Sidney Crosby play in Canada do anything for the National Hockey League from a marketing perspective — how do you think he'd respond?The answer, I'd bet, is that he'd probably emit some sort of a high-pitched squeal and deflate instantaneously. It's one of those questions that neither he, nor any other league exec, will ever touch with a 10-foot pole, but that Canadians, unequivocally, know the answer to.
Crosby in a land already utterly 'puck crazy' does absolutely nothing for Bettman's vision of the NFL on ice.
Back to Duhatschek:
It shouldn't be surprising that the NHL's position on the sale of the Penguins was fairly consistent. They wanted any prospective buyer to examine not just Plan A or Plan B to keep the team in the city, but also Plans C to Z, before they finally raised the white flag of surrender.And even then, it would be 'Viva Los Vegas' long before the NHL would ever look towards its biggest fans, north of the 49th.
We're not going anywhere.