Getting Testy At The NHL Offices?

For those of you who really appreciate great radio there were some epic interviews on both all sports radio stations today.

The Hockey Central at Noon guys had Gary Bettman on to talk about Phoenix and the new TV deal that the NHL announced yesterday. To be fair, Millard and Richie Rich MacLean didn’t do all that much in the interview as this one was all Nick Kypreos. Unlike many who have interviewed Bettman before, Kypreos went right after Bettman, following each tough question with another. Bettman who you rarely hear rattled finally snapped back ” No, you don’t know anything ha ha ha“. Kypreos wouldn’t let the line of questioning go though, to which the commissioner said almost in exasperation, “I understand why you cover the story, but it’s enough already!

Seriously, it was great radio. It was one of the best segments I’ve heard on the Fan 590 in a long time.

Not to be out done, James Cybulski took on both Bettman and Collin Campbell, along with Dave Feschuk. The duo proved for the 3rd or 4th time since TSN radio launched that there is indeed some competition in the drive home slot.

Bettman started off by saying how great Bob Mckenzie is. Bettman followed much of the script from the Kypreos interview. He again said that the Goldwater Institute blew up his deal in Phoenix. Mckenzie asked the million dollar question, if they blew it up, is it dead? Bettman said he was being too flippant and short (ever hear that before?), he said that the league had a deal ready to go, and because of Goldwater, they couldn’t sell the bonds. They have all been working on an alternative to selling the bonds.

Cybulski asked Bettman why the league wouldn’t finance the deal as opposed to the taxpayers, Bettman said that the league doesn’t typically do that.

Mckenzie, asked about a deadline and Bettman said, it’s not days, it’s not months.

Mckenzie asked if it was 100% certain that they would be playing in Atlanta next season, Bettman said he had no reason to think otherwise.

Bettman said that Phoenix potentially leaving the NHL has no impact on the new TV deal at all. Cybulski pushed Bettman if there was no impact on TV, why the team hadn’t moved to Winnipeg already. Bettman, calmly said that do everything to procted a market, to which Cybulski asked where was that dedication 15 years ago, Bettman calmly said that the only reason the NHL left Winnipeg was because no one wanted to own the team, in fact the city or province was paying part of the bills and they didn’t want to do that anymore.

They guys then switched over to the Crosby/concussion issue. Feschuk said to Bettman, a lot of commissioners would be in a state of panic if their best player were out as long as Crosby has been. Bettman’s response was hilarious, “It would be good when you ask a question if you had your facts correct. I know the commissioners of all the sports, none of them run around panicking about anything.

The next guest was Colin Campbell.

Campbell started off with his back up saying that he didn’t like the questions that they had asked Bettman. He then went after Feschuk, “you must not watch hockey“. You can just hear the total exasperation in Campbell’s voice. Having said that you know I can’t stand when people on the radio call their guests by nicknames. Both guys calling him Collie is amateurish to me, kind of like referring to one’s self as cballs.

When asked about 9 gm’s who said Raffi Torres should have been suspended Campbell barked “well they have really big balls for saying so off the record“. It was clear to me listening to Campbell that he was flustered and even angry. Late in the interview he screamed at the guys “where was the puck?” when they told him where it was he started to do the backstroke. “And now we are talking about the hockey expert James Duthie.” he rambled on when asked another question. In the end, the interview got uncomfortable to listen to as he really got his back up and almost wouldn’t answer questions.

If you were wondering how Campbell goes about his job, you have to listen to this interview.

So who knows what happened in the league offices today. It certainly seemed like for the first time since I can remember Bettman and Campbell were clearly frustrated with the attention they are both getting. Bettman who is always cool and calm, who probably hasn’t ever lost anything in his whole life took a lot of jabs from both networks. Some of the punches landed, there is no question about that. The Campbell interview got off on the wrong foot for reasons I can’t really explain. The Bettman interview on TSN wasn’t nearly as rough as the Kypreos interview.

The TSN interviews can be found here
The Fan interview can be found here

So, has anyone been taking in the new Toronto Sun website? Here’s my overall impression. It is much improved. The old site, in a word sucked. It was never good. The new one, is just too damn busy. The homepage has too much information on it, with not enough detail. It shows more than a dozen stories but doesn’t give an teaser on any single article. I’m sorry but a photo and a headline isn’t enticing enough to me.

The sports home page is a little bit better, but it has the same problem above the fold. There’s just no details. Lastly, unlike the other papers, the content needs to be constantly refreshed throughout the day, the Sun website, even the new version, in my opinion is very static. You don’t come back to the site more than 1x per day.

Speaking of the Sun, I am not sure how many people caught Steve Buffery’s blog post last week. One of you sent it to me, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it. Nothing offensive in it, no real gems per se, rather just a good example of why it’s great that we have 2 radio stations right now. There are a ton of tastes out there and no 2 are alike:

“During the week, I’ll likely listen to guys I like personally — guys like James Cybulski and Steve Kouleas on TSN Radio, Gord Stellick, Eric Smith, Paul Jones and Mike Wilner on The Fan 590 (I especially enjoy listening to Wilner put whimpering Jays fans in their place) and Bill Watters on 640. And, you know what, Jim Ralph is doing a great job on the Watters show this week. Ralph also has a wicked sense of humour.

And Sunday, of course, I listen to Toth at noon — and, yes, I appear Mike’s show, but I don’t listen to myself. The feedback from the radio is too irritating. I’m also going to give my old Grill Room pal Matt Cauz a listen on weekends. Matt’s a good Etobicoke boy, like myself, although definitely from the other side of the tracks. (The side with grass).”

Interesting read for sure, don’t agree or disagree with all of it and got a good chuckle out of some. I am sure you’ll let me know what you think.



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April 21, 2011 4:12 am

Good for Kypreos best interview he has ever done great listen..koodos also to MacLean and Millard…really enjoy watching HC at noon and PTS on TV to get the visual it sure brings something exta…especialy when guest are in studio..TSN must be listing to the FAN because all there questions are just feed offs the ones on the FAN…and really learned nothing new…but nice to hear the NHL sweat and on the defencive…

April 21, 2011 5:09 am

Did not agree with everything Campell said.. good for him to stand up for him self…Fuchuk and Cybulski reallyask some dumb questions they should have known better…TSN the hockey experts…yea right..

Steve from Waterloo
Steve from Waterloo
April 21, 2011 10:21 am

Fan590’s interview with Bettman was pretty good, though I find it hard to listen to Bettman’s tone of voice for any lengthy period. I knew he was on TSNRadio, but I had absolutely no desire to listen to two Bettman interviews in one day.

Campbell’s getting awfully defensive of late. I’m predicting his days in that position are few. Time for another sucker to take on the discipline role for awhile.

I like the Sun’s new site, only because the old one was so bad. I hated digging through the Edmonton/Calgary/Ottawa storied just to find the Leaf’s articles.

This being a media site, let me ask: What is the best Toronto/Canada sports URL? Which is the one go to site, aside from TOSportsMedia, of course?

April 21, 2011 11:23 am

Feschuk is awful for radio, interviewing, and probably hockey too.

I’m no Colin Campbell fan, but I think it’s amusing that Cybulski and Feschuk brought up the disconnect between Campbell and the league’s GMs when the disconnect between the media and reality is MUCH larger. I really hate how the Crosby thing is STILL a story, even an idiot like Colie completely owned Feschuk on that topic because Feschuk’s viewpoints were so irrational, and really, flat-out insane.

April 21, 2011 1:28 pm

Listening to C&C yesterday, did anybody get the impression that they ready the compliments from some here (myself, TSM, others) for hard hitting questions and it seems like they really took that and went over the top with it (especially Feschuk, who I liked when he was on) but bringing up an guy that Bettman (and the league) doesn’t want him in and is not even in the discussion anymore was just poor. Even worse, I know Feschuk is a basketball guy, but comparing the NHL hit situation to NBA was a huge What-the-H moment (BTW anybody watch Norm MacDonald sports show, the debut was great). Dude the NFL comparision makes much more sense.

Is anybody getting a Charlie Sheen vibe from Campbell. His interviews are seriously getting that absurd. C&C should have read my review of Campbell PTS interview where I said he answers every questions with a question. He was doing that on this interview (like he did with PTS) but that time when he actually wanted an answer and C&C were too stunned & I am not sure if I should give them a break on it. Part of me thought they were too busy patting themselves on their backs because of their hard questions got Campbell going, other part of me think his answers were always more questios and maybe they thought it was rhetorical. Still much rather have Feschuk than Naylor.

I think Bettman most of the time sounds very well and he’s totally right when we complain of him trying to save teams down there, he did the same up here when our teams were struggling. The Hockey Central interview was surprisingly good, not a fan of the show but Kypreos stepped up with some good questions and I think Bettman respond well.

Ha at Beezer article, I like Cybulski, Stellick a good guy that I don’t mind, and Wilner as obnoxious and constantly wrong as he is can be entertaining & I don’t hate on Watters as much as most.But wow at his selection, like you said TSM, different tastes I guess. But at least he said he likes them because their his friends, because reading it, there’s no real specfiics into why lol. That was a real rambling column.

Al from Burlington
Al from Burlington
April 21, 2011 1:50 pm

Actually, I am getting tired of the media attention to Phoenix and headshots as well. Enough already.

Do the media guys really think Bettman is going to comment on anything about Phoenix until it actually happens?

It is pretty clear, the majority of people involved in the management of hockey do not see a way of policing hits to the head, or even being able to define a clear interpretation of what is a headshot. So until they decide this, and what appropriate penalties or suspensions should be, they base arbitrary sentencing decisions on a case by case basis. What are they supposed to do?

April 21, 2011 1:55 pm

@Rome I actually liked the PTS interview Campbell did the night before. It was refreshingly honest when he said something like “I don’t know anymore” or when he admitted that “we are in the violence business”. Maybe he’s reaching out to press, fans, etc for answers. He’s in a tough spot – much like the NFL is (see Dave Duerson and Rome’s interview about a week ago with an NFL insider). They could legislate out all the danger in their games but they acknowledge that in doing so the games would change dramatically. It’s going to be difficult for both leagues to balance safety with entertainment value. Having said this his interview with Cybalski the next night was frankly bizarre.


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Less than 12 parsecs
Less than 12 parsecs
April 21, 2011 3:39 pm

I assume that the NHL is now waiting for a “seemly” interval of time to pass before they send Campbell to the glue factory. Regardless of Cybulski and Feschuk’s hockey knowledge or questions, Campbell clearly thinks of himself as a martyr for olde time hockey. Despite being called by his nickname by so many in the media, and acknowledged by so many of them as a so-called good guy, his hostility toward them is profound, and his hostility toward the fans isn’t far beneath the surface. They’ll put him under wraps for the rest of the playoffs, and put him out to pasture this summer, late on a Friday before a long weekend.

April 21, 2011 4:40 pm

Al from Burlington I agree with you regarding the PTS/Campbell interview it was pretty good I think he was prepared for McCown to launch at him, but when he didn’t it just seem to allow Campbell to open up. It was an honest dialogue with a candid admission that he just does not know where the bar is anymore. The perception I had coming out of the interview was that he may be ready to move on.

April 22, 2011 1:36 pm

If I was Campbell id be flustered as well.

That was some poor radio. Cybulski and Festuck where more focused on arguing then interviewing.

I liked when Campbell asked them a question, and they did not even listen. He had to rephrase it 2 times. Are they not suppose to listen to the guy then ask a question based on that? Its as if they had 10-12 questions and did not care what the answers where, they just wanted these aggressive questions answered.

Cybulski also raised his voice and yelled, which in my mind was a no no.

Im no fan of Campbell, I hated his response to the Email debacle, however that was some poor work.

Less than 12 parsecs
Less than 12 parsecs
April 22, 2011 1:55 pm

I’ll have to listen again, but my initial take was that Cybulski and Feschuk weren’t dialing up the heat, they simply couldn’t believe that Campbell was telling them they didn’t know anything about hockey. They initially responded aggressively, but later on backed off. (They were way too conciliatory by the end.) In my mind, if a guest is going to act like an a-hole, which Campbell clearly did (Campbell says he’d heard the Bettman interview, and knew the kinds of questions he was going to get, and still came on in an incoherent rage) the interviewers were within their rights to cut him off, or to wind him up far more than they actually did. It’s their show after all. No doubt Gary will have the head of someone in the NHL PR department over this, on top of making Campbell’s appointment at the glue factory.

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