Thursday, June 19, 2008

Defending Our Version of Satan

Wow we never ever thought we would ever see this day happen, the day where we stood up and defended the rights of the Dolan family to continue to own the New York Rangers. We want to make sure everyone knows that we have not lost our mind, that we are neither drunk or under the influence of any drugs.

We are going to stand up for the Dolan family because the reasoning behind the lawsuit is just a smokescreen and we are praying that it blows up in Gary Bettman's face so we can finally see the owners end his reign of error as NHL commissioner.

Make no mistake we have no love for the Dolan family and we wish that someone else was owning Madison Square Garden but in our eyes what Bettman is trying to do is a bunch of garbage that has to be stopped. If this was an honest attempt based upon real violations of the NHL code of conduct then no problem strip the Dolans of the Rangers.

But that is not the case here as unlike other NHL owners like those in Nashville, Ottawa and Anaheim who are under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Dolans are not criminals. Those sexual harassment acts were committed by underlings not by a Dolan but yet here is Gary Bettman spending NHL resources on trying to punish the Dolans and we are curious to know why.

We wonder if the rumors we heard back during the 2004 lockout are true; those whispers said that James Dolan was privately questioning how Bettman and his "Gang of Eight"were handling things. We heard that of all people James Dolan was a voice of moderation asking why the entire NHL season had to be lost.

As one of the big market teams, the Dolans stood to lose the most revenue during the lockout as no team owned the combination of the team, arena and television network as they do. They took those losses without any public complaint; perhaps in part because Bettman held the threat of major fines and other punishments for public discussion of the lockout not approved by him.

We along with others have wondered if certain owners have privately questioned if the commissioner has forgotten who he works for. We have heard that despite our own dislike of the Dolans, they do have those among their fellow owners supporters who see how the Rangers are able to make money despite the generic marketing program the NHL has been running.

We ask where is the commissioner addressing those owners who are bringing the NHL under yet another cloud of suspicion due to questionable behaviors? Why is the same commissioner not demanding that those same owners step aside from active roles until those investigations are finished.

You want to dislike the Dolans and as Ranger fans you have clearly earned that right but let us also ask some questions. The very first one is how come we see so much effort being made against the Dolans where is that same effort against Nashville's Boots Del Baggio who just declared bankruptcy and is being investigated for loan fraud?

We wonder when we see owners who Gary Bettman supports in public wind up being crooks and we never see the NHL trying to strip those folks of their rights to own NHL franchises. Yet the NHL under Gary Bettman are coming at the Dolans will all the zeal of an invading army.

WHY? Well actually we have our own ideas in part to whispers we have heard over the years.

We believe that Gary Bettman is trying to make an example of the Dolans by trying rein them in using the court system. We think though only this time he is losing the support of both NHL fans and now we are told some of the owners.

Those owners are not happy that they are risking some serious dollar damages should the Dolans find a way to win a lawsuit. NHL owners are not stupid people as they do know that nobody thought Al Davis would win one lawsuit against the NFL but he did and was awarded millions.

If we were the Dolans right now we would see which of their peers would want to hit them with fines or other discipline right now. Despite the public image that the NHL puts out we do know that several parties are very unhappy with how things are in the NHL.

Did we mention how bad this makes the NHL look that they are suing one of their own not because they did something criminal but because they want to control their own marketing? Oh yes this is another brillant move by the NHL on the eve of their own last event of the year.

We also know that despite his bullying tactics that Gary Bettman's support is starting to slip among his employers in part because we are hearing that promises about the lockout effects are not happening. Teams in several cities that were losing money before the lockout are stilling losing money.

There are some good honest people who own NHL teams and one has to wonder just how happy they are with the leadership of the current NHL commissioner. The NHL is buried on a lowly cable network that most fans dislike and pays next to nothing to the owners.

Those same owners were led to believe that a salary cap would lead to stronger teams and thus actual profits but while revenues are up so are costs. The owners are not making the money they thought they would and in this business "what have you done for me lately?" is the mantra.

They are not bringing in those fat expansion fees that they did a decade ago so Gary Bettman is not making his employers real money. Even more so is that despite the public image that the NHL likes us to believe is the case the moderates are not going to let Bettman's "Gang Of 8" who stacked the rules for the commissioner in the lockout repeat that performance.

Gary Bettman, it seems is forgetting that he works for the NHL owners not the other way around. The owners will not remain silent for long if they lose a court case to the Dolans and have to pay huge damages

This "lawsuit" in our eyes was more about trying to force James Dolan to bend his knee to the rule of Gary Bettman and boy did the Commissioner misread it here. Old Junior is not the type to back down from anyone not even his own father so here is hoping that the Dolans do win so Bettman gets shown the door once and for all.

We say that because the long term stability of the NHL will not begin until a true hockey person is in the role of NHL commissioner. The longer that Gary Bettman stays in power the greater the danger that another damaging lockout will take place when the CBA expires.

Bottom line is we believe that Gary Bettman views James Dolan as a serious threat to his reign. Bettman wants to silence that threat by making James Dolan impotent in terms of power among the moderate faction of NHL owners.

There is this old saying that goes "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and in this case as hockey fans let alone Ranger fans we choose to side with the Dolans. They may be bad owners but despite themselves the Rangers are turning things around.

Because of that we side with the Dolans and hope like heck we do not regret it.

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