Is The NHLPA Trying To Get More Teams In Canada/Ontario?

Glen Healey Come Playoff Time-Fore
Glen Healey Come Playoff Time-Fore

“We can’t do anything, but we do question why franchises are in certain places,” Healy said. “We care because they are tied to us with the [salary-cap] system we’re in and the cost certainty. Some of these franchises are like an anchor, or even the Titanic, and we’re going down with them.”

Two, count em two separate article in tomorrow’s globe about the NHLPA’s displeasure with the NHL’s lack of urgency to move a second team to southern Ontario. Paul Kelley is quoted, with respect to the Vaughn meetings. The rest of the material comes from Healey. Rest assured that Healey is speaking with the compete blessing of Kelly. Anyone who speaks out of turn is out at the NHLPA- just ask Eric Lindros. Not a word comes out of Healey’s mouth that Kelly hasn’t blessed – count on it. Kelley is that smart.

“They have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for a lot of years,” Healy said yesterday, in reference to the failure of the Sun Belt teams in the NHL. “They have tried everything in the world to sell the game, market the game, put fans in the seats and it doesn’t work for a lot of reasons. You can go down a laundry list of why it hasn’t worked — it doesn’t have the corporate backing, management has been ineffective in putting a winning team on the ice, and so on.”

Hello fans of the Sunbelt teams- anything to say? I don’t often come to Bettman’s defense, but how long ago was it that the number of Canadian teams struggling outnumbered those south of the border? Things are more dire today because of the economy (stupid). I am left wondering what Healey would have to say to moving one team to southern ontario and folding 2-3. Consider if you will:

“The players’ responsibility is to put the best product on the ice,” Healy said. “I think we’ve done that this year; whistle to whistle it has been excellent. I think the league has the responsibility to put teams in viable markets that you know are going to succeed. If the product is lousy then we have to revamp the game. But that’s not the case.”

Can’t suck and blow at the same time. If you want us to believe that anywhere from 5-7 teams are in dire straits, we can buy that. However, you can’t really believe that there are 5-7 markets ready to take them on can you (there certainly aren’t in Canada for sure!)? So why not fold a couple. I mean in the spirit of putting the best product on the ice, wouldn’t the product be that much better if there were fewer teams???? Uh-huh, I thought so…..

Bettman, meanwhile has enrolled in the JP Ricciardi school of fine public relations:

“I didn’t know who he was sitting down with,” Bettman said of Daly on his weekly radio show. “I couldn’t care less. He had the meeting, he reported back that there was another group interested in a team in Southern Ontario, which doesn’t come as a shock or a news bulletin to me.”

The tone and tenor of that comment is just pathetic. He wonders why he gets booed at every public event he goes to. Or maybe he thinks that is the sign of a good commissioner. Lose the tude Gary, it’s not becoming.

“But now that revenues — and soon enough, the cap — are tumbling down, the players and their union seem prepared to demand more of a say in how the NHL is operated, in an attempt at least to mitigate the damage. Specifically, they are becoming more and more vocal in questioning the wisdom of keeping franchises in places where they aren’t being supported, where tickets are given away or sell for next to nothing, while the biggest and best hockey market on the continent seems woefully underexploited.”

Partners…whatever that meant at the time hasn’t given the PA the ammunition it needs. To get it, they made need to endure another work stoppage. With Buzz on board, they have the right man in place. Let’s see how that works out for all involved should they go that route.

“It’s not a selfless gesture. Anything but. The players are thinking about their own bank accounts first and foremost. And as has been discussed already at length, there are other, significant obstacles to a second Southern Ontario team. But add the players’ newfound engagement to the crumbling economy, to the problems specific to Phoenix and Tampa and Atlanta, to the creditors hovering over several franchises, to individual owners not so keen to throw good money after bad, and the commissioner seems an increasingly lonely figure, trying to stem an inevitably rising tide.”

He may be alone, but he has the conch. This isn’t going to change anytime soon. He has the support of his owners. When was the last time one of them yapped out of turn? Which year was that again? In Gary they trust. The PA can make all the noise they want. They will win the PR battle in these parts for the short term. Will they go the work stoppage route over this issue??? If they do, they had better use a better PR firm then the one they used last time. The end of the day, they can say all they want to say. Talk is cheap and Bettman has the power.

You can read the articles from the globe here and here

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