Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Two guys that should switch jobs

Anaheim Ducks (5-7-2, t-9th in west) at Phoenix Coyotes (5-6-0, t-13th in west)

One lesson that's been reinforced the last few weeks by Anaheim's punchless power play: personnel matters. When you've got the wrong guys in the wrong situations, it's sure tough to be effective. That same lesson can also be applied off the ice, though, and in that light I offer one suggested job switch that I think could really help the NHL improve its effectiveness going forward.

Candidate #1: Gary Bettman
Commissioner, National Hockey League

Depending on who you listen to, Gary Bettman has been either a clown or a villain during his reign as NHL Commish. Even aside from the policies the guy has had to promote (unbridled expansion, a season-long lockout, a mega-complex salary cap formula, untested rule changes, untested uniform materials, and selling a sport in the U.S. using its bull-riding network), he's also just not a very likable guy. Even when he's talking up hockey fans as being "the greatest fans in the galaxy", you can see the dollar-signs light up in his impish eyes. The guy is grabby, too; Scott Niedermayer had a heck of a time trying to extract the Stanley Cup from Bettman's slimy fingers—a cup that Gary never really earned the right to carry.

Why not consider someone who is trustworthy and charismatic with the job of Commissioner? Why not bring in some true hockey royalty—someone the fans can not only stomach but possibly even support? Someone worthy of handing the Cup to a champion, someone fans will believe has the best interest of the sport in mind.

Candidate #2: Wayne Gretzky
Head Coach, Phoenix Coyotes

There is such a guy coaching in the desert. Perhaps hockey's greatest scoring legend, who's been an ambassador for hockey since his teenage years. But whereas the Great One has been a symbol of on-ice excellence, thus far in Phoenix his story has been one of behind-the-bench mediocrity. Under his leadership, the Coyotes (who to be fair, have not put together the strongest roster) have finished 5th in the Pacific both of the past two years, and even though this year has started more promising (having shut out both the Ducks and Stars), they still start November with less standings points than their four Pacific neighbors.

Wayne is a guy who's hockey charisma is still off the charts, and while it has served as a draw for hockey fans in Arizona, it seems that it could be better utilized on a larger leaguewide stage. He's a guy I'd trust to keep the game of hockey as a priority, thinking both for team owners and players, something I'm not easily saying about Bettman these days. Plus, as a bonus, I wouldn't cringe when Wayne's hands touch the Stanley Cup—he's at least a guy who's earned it before.

As for Bettman as a hockey coach, well, that might not work out splendidly but I'd like to see if Gary is capable of actually generating worse results than Phoenix has put up with; there's hardly anywhere to go but up. Besides, Gary's vision has really been about promoting hockey in non-traditional markets; this would help him focus even more strongly on that vision.

So, it's just a lazy Saturday theory, but one that I think could work out for everyone. Put Gary behind the Phoenix bench and Wayne in the commissioner's chair and I for one would support it. Who's with me?

Prediction: Per my television, Wayne Gretzky has 72 wins in 170 games as a head coach. Won't it be nice to give the Great One his 99th loss? Ducks offense explodes, they throw 45 shots on net and win 2-1, both goals by Pahlsson.

Go Ducks.


Anonymous said...

No way this ever happens. Gretzky would be WAY too player friendly. Can anyone see him taking a hard line stance against the players in negotiation? I sure can't.

I think the salary cap is good for hockey, I got tired of seeing Detroit, Philadelphia, and the Rangers outspending all the other teams. The only good part about it was that Philly and the Rangers never spent wisely, only Detroit did.

Bettman is a jackass and doesn't know shit about hockey, no way I let him run my team. I wouldn't even let him coach the now defunct Ice Dogs.

Phoenix stays after their shut out of the Stars and win it 4-3.

As much as it pains me to give the Ducks credit for anything, at least their game is televised, even if it is on the obscure channel KDOC. I'll be able to watch that game even though I SHOULD be watching the Kings/Sharks game.

--Chris in Torrance

Patty (in Dallas) said...

I'm with you, Earl.

I'd be okay with Gretzky being commish and nobody coaching the Coyotes and Bettman never being heard from again.

Emily said...

I'd totally go for Gretzky as Commissioner, but if we get to decide to "put" Bettman anywhere, I'm more in favor of ejecting him into space.

MetroGnome said...

I see where you're coming from, but Gretzky's penchant for rewarding past loyalties really scares me. Old agents, linemates and coaches of his would start popping up in positions of power in the NHL front office. Remember Mike Barnett carefully guiding the Coyotes Franchise into an iceberg as GM? It would all probably turn into a similar nepotistic nightmare.

I suppose it's debatable whether that would be superior or not to the current regime, though.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I wasn't even picturing that things change in the NHL because of this; just there's someone more fan-friendly to deliver bad news.

As for where Bettman goes, I was just trying to think of a spot where things were close to rock-bottom; what could he not really screw up worse than it is? Either behind Phoenix's bench or maybe Iraq.

Chris in Torrance said...

Well, I certainly didn't care for the outcome of this game. I was especially displeased with the fight in the second with Corey Perry and some guy named Carcillo from the Coyotes. He got Perry down on the ice and swung at him a couple more times while he was prone on the ice. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for him kicking the shit out of Perry in a fight but when the guy goes down you stop swinging. I'll admit I was hoping George Parros was going to run into Carcillo on the ice.

On a side note, I was happy to see Brent Severin (it might be Brett, I'm not sure and I'm not sure about the spelling of his last name either. Earl, you can correct me on that if you like) broadcasting the game. I can't stand Brian Hayward, he's terrible.

brahn said...


Sleek RULES!!!!!!!!

Earl Sleek said...

On a side note, I was happy to see Brent Severin (it might be Brett, I'm not sure and I'm not sure about the spelling of his last name either. Earl, you can correct me on that if you like) broadcasting the game. I can't stand Brian Hayward, he's terrible.

I believe it is Brent Severyn, and yeah, you're pretty much in the majority in disliking Hayward's TV time.

If you ever wonder why I never liveblog, part of the reason is that I hardly ever watch games live--I'll usually start an hour to an hour-and-a-half late just so I can skip commercials and unnecessary Hayward analysis between periods.

Severyn is always welcome in the booth--he may not bring terribly heady dialogue, but he's still got a love for the game, and brings good player perspective too.

RudyKelly said...

If there's a guy who deserves to get punched in the face while he's down on the ice, it would be Corey Perry.

Doogie said...

Random week-late observation that will probably never get read: Doesn't Bettman look like he's getting a barium enema in that picture?

Earl Sleek said...

I'm still around, doogie!

Yeah, I'll admit it. I've had that picture saved on my hard drive for a long time waiting for some good anti-Bettman use.