Chuq and Eric are blogging about Gary Bettman and the state of the league.
I'd like to answer Eric's question of the on-ice product with a qualified "what the hell has Bettman done anyway?". I can't look at the on-ice product and see his influence. I'm not a fan of Bettman by any stretch But I'm having a hard time blaming him for the ills of the NHL.
The dilution due to expansion has allowed more good but not great players to eat minutes on the ice. This though has also allowed better players to play at a higher level so maybe expansion is a wash.
The increased accessability of NHL hockey has brought in bigger and faster players that may have chosen football for a career. I also believe that this is the long term solution to the talent dilution problem.
Goaltending is certainly changing the state of the game with GPG down by about 2, but I don't know that it's a factor in excitement. International football gets by with a GPG avaerage below 2 and there's a much larger fan base world wide. I'm attracted to hockey because of the speed of the game...
Which brings me to my biggest problem with the game as it stands today (or stood as of last season) and that's obstruction. Calgary had some great players and incredible moments on their run to the finals but in their series with the Sharks, I don't think the better team won. Then again in '93 the same kind of clutch and grab crap went on, so another wash there.
Off Wing Opinion: Happy Anniversary, Mr. Commissioner . . . Not!
is the NHL better off?
and Eric responds:
In Defense Of Gary Bettman
Thank you to Chuq for giving me something to write about on this "day after"