Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Unlikely Hero?

Really now who here among the New York Ranger or New York Islander fans was surprised to hear Gary Bettman say that without a new collective bargaining agreement that on September 15; the NHL will once again lock out their players?

Third time under Gary Bettman's leadership that the NHL will experience a work stoppage and for the second time quite possibly lose another full season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. Maybe the third time might finally force some of the owners to realize that they're being led down a very dangerous path by someone who only looks out for his supporters and not the health of the entire league.

Maybe the people who New York Ranger fans can't stand the most just might become the solution to the problem known as Gary Bettman. You may not like the Dolans but they could wind up becoming part of the solution the NHL needs

We may not like them but one has to wonder why the Dolans would support somebody who takes so much money out of their pockets? The Dolans are one of the few owners who stand to lose real money because of the lockout.

The Dolans own Madison Square Garden so a lockout means 41 open dates for their arena. The Dolans own the TV network that broadcasts the majority of the Ranger's games which creates programming issues, as well as lost advertising revenue if there is a lockout.

No Rangers (or Islander, Devil and Sabres) hockey hurts the Dolans when they tried to negotiate new contracts with other cable companies and satellite providers. Those merchandising, concessions and all sorts of miscellaneous revenue streams that the Dolans lose in the event of a lockout.

And if I'm the Dolans then I know I'm not going to be happy when Gary Bettman comes back and says, "we will see increased revenue sharing" because it will be the Rangers as one of the top revenue producers in the NHL who have to pony up still more money.

At what point, if you're the Dolans do you say "wait a second why am I having to pay because other teams are poorly run?" You don't have to like the Dolans, but what you really need to do is hope that the Dolans along with the other top revenue producing teams in the NHL get tired of having to pay for other teams.

How many years should Ranger money be used to operate the Phoenix Coyotes? How many years do they need to keep paying for a franchise that has not proven itself to be self-sustaining.

The Dolans could be the key to how the NHL finally gets rid of Gary Bettman. If there really was any team that really has to be unhappy with the current financial model that the NHL operates under; it would be the Rangers.

One has to wonder how long teams like the Rangers, the Canadians, Maple Leafs, and the Red Wings will be willing to prop up other teams with what should be their rightful revenues (profits)? The Canadian teams especially because they have been having to pay more to help the other Canadian franchises stay in business.

Don't get me wrong, this is not about the Rangers not having to pay some revenue-sharing. What this is about is why should the Rangers have to pay when teams like Minnesota are handing out the kind of contracts that if the Rangers ever dared would be tarred and feathered by Gary Bettman.

Yes the Rangers gave Brad Richards that contract but the Rangers could afford to give him that kind of contract. For years hockey fans complained that the Rangers were the team that was pissing away money giving out bad contracts.

Under the salary cap era, it hasn't been the Rangers who are using salary cap loopholes to "cheat" the cap. But yet since 2005, the system that the NHL was screaming needed fixing was fixed only to be broken once again by the very same people who cried for relief.

Again, if you're the Dolans then you have to wonder why the NHL can be producing mass increases in revenue, but yet are unable to sustain any kind of financial stability? Why are teams handing out contracts when they know they really can't afford them?

Yet at the same time the Dolans just like the NHL fans have to wonder can the NHL survive another lockout? Ranger fans are loyal to the Rangers not to the rest of the NHL and with the Rangers just about ready to take the step towards possibly winning another Cup they lose the season to greed?

And as much as we may not like the Dolan family; they just might be the only leaders willing enough to step up and take on Gary Bettman. If they don't, who will?

Hockey action

Thursday night saw Team USA just dominate Sweden 10-2 thanks to a 6 goal 2nd period.Ranger prospect J.T. Miller (2011 1st) had a goal(his 1st, power play) as well is an assist (secondary) for his first points of the camp.

Brady Skjei (2012 1st) played but did not register any points while Steven Fogarty (2011 3rd) was a healthy scratch. Team USA will take Friday off before ending the camp with a game on Saturday afternoon against Finland.

In Yaroslavl Russia, Team Canada opened up the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge by edging the host Russians 3-2. It was not a pretty effort by the Canadian team but really it was the first game of the season.

The challenge has several meanings to it from helping remember the Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl players and coaches (including Canadian coach Brad McCrimmon) who perished in an airplane crash last September. The series is also remembering the 40th anniversary of the first Canadian-Soviet Union Summit.

It is the Islanders who are well represented here with 4 prospects: 2012 1st rd pick defenseman Griffin Reinhart, 2011 1st rd pick forward Ryan Strome and 2012 3rd rd pick defenseman Adam Pelech for Team Canada and 2011 3rd pick defenseman Andrey Pedan will play for Team Russia.

(Portland Winterhawk players Ty Rattie and Ty Rattie are on the Team Canada roster)

Wasn't able to get line up cards or full stat sheets to tell how any of the prospects did. The series will play one more game on Friday in Yaroslavl and then shift to Halifax in Canada on Monday.

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