All Quiet On Bettman’s Front

April 12th, 2011 | by torontosportsmedia

Things rarely are good when they are the quietest. Lately there is nothing more than crickets coming out of the desert where the Coyotes saga has lasted about as long as the Maple Leafs playoff-less springs. If a deal were percolating, or bonds were being sold, I have to believe we would be hearing it.

I once opened a fortune cookie finding no fortune. The waiter who had served my table laughed and said, “no news is good news”.

I don’t think that’s the case here, do you?

There are those in the know who have suggested that the reason it is so quiet is that the deal has already died. The league, as you may recall owns the club and would stand to lose (more) money if whatever fans in Phoenix knew the end was now a certainty. Who in the area would spend 2 cents to go to a game for a team that is definitely leaving in a few weeks?

Now, when I was younger I watched a lot of American political television. Besides Nightline, I loved watching David Brinkley too. For some reason I took a liking to George F. Will back then, I think in a large degree that he was such a huge baseball fan. While I may not agree with his politics, I knew he was smart and loved that a guy that smart loved baseball.

Tonight, thanks to a tweet by David Naylor, I read a great article on the Coyotes situation by Will. To be honest, I find it humorous that a guy like Will has taken to writing a story about the business side of hockey.

“Fortunately, this folly may be illegal. The Arizona Constitution’s “gift clause” may block Glendale’s booster socialism — the ruinous pursuit of derivative grandeur from sports. The clause was written to prevent crony capitalism — to provide a wall of separation between corporations and government by forbidding government to give corporations gifts, loans, grants or subsidies.”

Ouch, the truth hurts.

“But the institute’s job — actually, it is every Arizonan’s job — is to protect the public interest. A virtuoso of indignation, McCain is scandalized that the institute, “a non-elected organization,” is going to cause the loss of “a thousand jobs.” McCain’s jobs number is preposterous, as is his intimation — he has been in elective office for 28 years — that non-elected people should not intervene in civic life.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman agrees with McCain that the world is out of joint when people can second-guess the political class: “It fascinates me that whoever is running the Goldwater Institute can substitute their judgment for that of the Glendale City Council.” He will learn not to provoke Olsen, who says, “It happens to fascinate me greatly that the commissioner thinks a handful of politicians can substitute their judgment for the rule of law.”

Warren Meyer of calculates that Glendale’s new plan would bring the city’s spending to almost $400 million on a team valued at $134 million — a team that has lost money in each of its 15 years here. Glendale’s rejoinder to the Goldwater Institute is an attempt at intimidation by lawsuit, which speaks volumes.”

Fascinating take by a hockey outsider. Certainly means we should keep an eye on things, or at the very least a sharp ear.

Things by the way aren’t apparently any better in Atlanta. Word is the folks looking at the Trashers aren’t doing much more than that- looking. Those really investigating are more interested in the Hawks and the building. Sounds like it could be a lot uglier in Atlanta than anyone is really admitting.

Could Bettman be not only the only league commissioner to lose an entire season due to labour strife and to have 2 of his handpicked markets fail? Quite the legacy.

I am told that Mike Hogan, whom so many of you tell me all the time that you miss, has posted on his Facebook page that he will be back on the radio. He has apparently posted that he will be on TSN Radio weekends from 11-3pm. Cue the Springstein music. A little odd that Hogan would publish that before the station does. Have to admit, not one person told me that Hogan was on the radar. Seems there may be some who aren’t aware that the Argos won’t be on 590 this year, rather they will be on TSN radio picking up the tv feed from TSN.

The more Bruce Dowbiggin writes about Mike Richards, the more I think he is the second coming of Andrew Krystal:

“Don’t expect a lot of inside baseball from Richards. The Stouffville, Ont., product doesn’t see himself as a sports journalist. What sets him apart is a blend of irreverence, juvenile humour and provocation that the opposition in the 25-54 range simply doesn’t have at the moment. “I’m being a fan in our listening audience who loves sports, spends a lot of time in his car for work or enjoys pushing the envelope for some laughs. We’ll have the experts like Bob McKenzie and Chris Schultz to do the journalism.”

Have to laugh at the Schultz reference. Anyways, seriously, isn’t that exactly the type of radio that Krystal brought? You didn’t want to hear him ask Brian Burke what book he was reading, but he did because he isn’t a “sports journalist”. Although maybe not in so many words, but wouldn’t you say that Krystal is ” a blend of irreverence, juvenile humour and provocation” too?

What I like about Richards is that he is setting his sights LARGE:

“My goal is not to beat the Fan 590 in the ratings,” he said in a phone interview. “My goal is to be No. 1 in the entire demographic.” Hello, John Derringer of Q107.”

The Fan is north of a 7.0 rating in the am. I don’t have Derringer’s numbers but I suspect that they are big. 1050 is currently less than a 1 in the key demographic. Trying to go form 0 to 7.0 isn’t going to be easy. Good luck to him for sure. If he is able to do it and sustain it all the better for those of us who listen to sports radio.

Meanwhile, 640 had Bill Watters call in to his show for an extended period of time. In short, not great radio.

On the flip side, Brady and Lang had Christine Brennan on this am to talk about women at Augusta National. I really, really wish that Mike Toth was the guy conducting the interview.

Who will ask Brian Burke the dumbest question during his postmortem tomorrow?

Lastly, am I the only one who has the fan website crash firefox on a mac? Every time I go to the website my browser crashes. Works fine on safari or chrome.




  1. Rob C. says:

    I was thinking the same thing that it’s Krystal Part 2 reading the Globe and Mail article, but you beat me to it. 🙂

    Also in Calgary only major sports are NHL/CFL. Different kettle of fish in Toronto. Jays, Argos, Raptors and even Toronto FC. Might be a stretch with TFC, lol. But TSN is showing a lot more MLS games so even they would have a presence on TSN Radio. One would think.

    Add to that there is another all sports station in town leads me to think this won’t be a success.

    Wasn’t the biggest complaint I used to hear about the old FAN590 morning show was too much comedy? Just a thought.

  2. mario says:

    Time will only tell with Richards comming to Toronto…I personally think this is alot of hype…I remember Richards first go around at the Fan found him to be entertaining for a while but his act is just the same old every day…maybe he changed in Calgary but we will see…my money is still on the Fan…
    As for Bettman and the Phoenix saga McCowan on PTS was the first to have this bond issue scam months ago and everyone thought he was nuts and big denials from TSN Mackenzie and Dreger and the NHL saying no no no …anything on the business side of sports the Bobact is number one to listen too…

  3. Dave from the suburbs says:

    My only real memories of Richards were his Foster Hewitt imitation and his Vito from Woodbridge (IIRC) character. Funny the first few times, but got as stale as The Champ after a while. Beating Derringer? Too funny. The Grand Am driving rockers are hardly gonna switch to a sports station.

  4. mike (in boston) says:

    Who will ask Brian Burke the dumbest question during his postmortem tomorrow?

    i’m going with the guy in the yellow jacket from Burke’s last meltdown. i still have no clue what he was trying to ask, but i hope he asks it again.

  5. Steve from Waterloo says:

    I was reading Bruce Dowbiggin column in the Globe today, in which he writes about regularly making an appearance on Richards show in Calgary. He has also been on the FAN590 with various hosts

    Considering it is his job to write about the media – is this not a conflict. He’s making the so called news, and is open to scrutiny and bias.

  6. Daniel says:

    I got bored of The Bullpen, but I think bringing Hogan back as a swing guy is smart. I think he’s much better than Lajoie.

  7. dsscpu says:

    Hogan will be good for Argos, who are now on 1050 anyways.

    TSN also posted the following contact info for 1050 today… something stands out there…

    Email us at
    Text your comments to 105050
    (50 cents per message)
    Follow us on Twitter @TSN1050Radio
    Call us at 416-870-1050
    Across Canada it’s toll free at 855-591-6TSN (6876)

    Um, if you want to call the fan, isn’t the number 416.870.0590? And they went with 1050? BTW If you call the number now you get the CP24 Newsroom… And the domain for 1050 isn’t active yet, nor is the twitter…

  8. dsscpu says:

    TSM, Hogan is now confirmed per TSN.

  9. Adhish says:

    Good to hear Hogie back on radio!!

  10. dsscpu says:

    Per Amber Payie on twitter, she is going to be doing 1050 Traffic (she already does CHUM FM, CP24 and Flow 93.5 traffic).

  11. Mullah_Kintyre says:

    To “Dave From The Suburbs” — Vito from Woodbridge was (is?) a voice done by Jeff Sammut, I believe invented several years after Mike Richards had left TheFan for other Toronto stations and eventually Calgary. Maybe you’re confusing it with Mike Richards’ exaggerated stereotypical Italian voice characterization of Roberto Luongo?

    I don’t understand the questions or suspicions of what Mike Richards is all about. He’s hardly new to Toronto radio, sports or otherwise, and I don’t see any comparison to Krystal. While I suppose it’s possible a few of you may be too young to remember anything beyond six years ago, before he left to go to Fan960 in Calgary in 2005 Mike Richards had been on the morning shows of various GTA stations since the late 1980s, including the Fan (in the 1990s with McCown, then Derringer) and Team1050 (in the early 2000s with Paul Romanuk).

  12. dsscpu says:

    You can add Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star to TSN Radio, per TSN’s press release today. AND Matt Cauz who was over at Sun TV’s Grill Room to co-host with Hogan.

  13. Daniel says:

    I find a couple things interesting with the TSN lineup:

    – You’d think the most vulnerable part of The Fan lineup is Krystal – yet TSN is putting syndication up against him. Wouldn’t that have been an opportunity to go for a big win there? Why not put Hayes on 1 – 4?

    – Interesting that they’re investing in a two man show for evenings, as opposed to The Fan that doesn’t really even have a set show there because of play by play. I’m probably reading way too much into it, but could that be a sign they’re not expecting to get Leaf rights?

  14. Rome says:

    I do also get a bit of a Krystal version when reading and listening to to Mike Richardes. Not saying it won’t work, but it has to be more than shtick and wacky voices. Again what works in another market doesn’t always work here.

    Krystal did pretty well in the Maritimes but didn’t seem to translate well here in the morning show. On the other hand Brady came from Detriot and seemed to have done well and even though it a different nation I would say Detroit has more in common with this market than the Maritimes. Not sure where Richards would fall in that.

  15. Mullah_Kintyre says:

    Get real. No one who has actually heard Mike Richards would say he’s like Krystal.

  16. Dave from the suburbs says:

    Thanks Mullah. My memory failed me.

    I don’t think Richards and Krystal are similar. Richards is not as abrasive, from what my LSD addled brain can recall. 😉

  17. Chris says:

    Just heard a bumper/promo during a break on PTS, saying the fan is the place to be tomorrow. Gretzky and Lebron, among other big names, to be making appearences on the station tomorrow. Although, none of them will be on PTS, as the Jays games starts @ 3:30. I’m guessing that’s why TSN chose this day to launch. Their afternoon drive show will be unopposed.

  18. Daniel says:

    Good point Chris – it is kind of odd to launch on a Wednesday. They may have targeted it, because no PTS will be on.

    Gretzky and Lebron – wow that’s pretty good!

  19. Mike S says:

    I thought TSN chose April 13 because it was the start of the NHL playoffs……….but I guess 590 having a Jays game in the afternoon might have been a factor too

  20. @mullah and @dave from suburbs.
    Vito was a character created by the fan when Mike Richards left to replace his “cousin Anthony” character who funnily enough was a leafs fan from Woodbridge.

  21. Oh and Mike hogan? Lord all we need is Toth to show up and I will be listening to WGR in buffalo 24-7

  22. Dave from the suburbs says:

    thanks Meat! I knew I wasn’t going crazy!

  23. PBI says:

    I’ve never heard Mike Richards so I look forward to listening to him tomorrow morning along with checking into TSN Radio throughout the day but I’m always skeptical of broadcasters who experienced most of their success in smaller markets like Richards did in Calgary or Krystal in the Maritimes.

    Like some of you have mentioned, he’s got to talk about more than just Stampeders football and Jarome Iginla now.

  24. Daniel says:

    One thing that’s interesting, is all the TSN guys seem to be saying ‘we’re not necessarily going after The Fan, we’re going after the male 25 – 54 demo’. And there’s a lot of ‘there’s room for both’ going around from both sides.

    If The Fan improves due to the competition, and TSN does well..I wonder if it actually the other ‘Male demo’ radio stations that will suffer, rather than The Fan? Like 640 or 1010.

  25. Chris says:

    640 will in afternoons, until they ditch sports, which they will when the NHL playoffs end. Other than that, no. The guy who listens to news and political talk, probably won’t be leaving those stations just because another sports station is in town.

  26. Bob from Burlington says:

    Good to hear that Hogie will be back on the airwaves. Not many people in Toronto can hang with him in his knowledge of NFL and his contacts that create good radio. Hopefully he and Chris Schultz can carry on with their pre-Sunday NFL picks and commentaries.

    I can’t recall hearing much of Mike Richards in the past but chuckled today when he commented about Raptors game he went to the other day and how they almost created a
    “Jergens moment” after the game. Richards seems more subtle than Krystal and a fair bit more sports varied.

    Great to see Brian Hayes moving over from 640 as he is likely the most underrated late afternoon radio sportscaster.

    Good luck TSN 1050 as the Fan 590 will have to “man up” in being fairer to their broadcast personell in the near and distant future.

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