1. Bettman at the Islanders presser
So Gary Bettman goes out at the Islanders-to-Brooklyn press conference (more on that in a minute) and basically says there’s no chance at an 82-game season. This was reported as news despite the fact that everyone on the planet more or less knew that was going to be the case anyway.
But I don’t understand two things about this.
The first is that Bettman said the reason for there not being a full-82 is that the NHLPA refuses to negotiate. This after the PA literally gave him three proposals last week, all of which were given a whopping total of 10 minutes’ worth of consideration each. So what Bettman undoubtedly means to say, and I’m sure this is mere oversight on his part and not an attempt to spin every bit of information about this lockout — not work stoppage — like a top, is that the NHLPA will not negotiate based solely on the parameters being laid out in the league’s offers, which come off more as a joke than an attempt at settling the collective bargaining agreement. That, of course, isn’t the same thing as "refusing to negotiate."
But what’s perplexing to me is that people just let him say stuff like this with impunity. He’s been at a whole boatload of press conferences and other things where he’s said something along these lines, and while he hasn’t taken questions at all of them, he certainly did today. So why on earth are a bunch of paid journalists sitting there and letting him outright lie. I made the point on Twitter during the presser, but why didn’t one person stand up to say, "Uh hey Gary, listen, didn’t the PA just give you three proposals, not one of which you even gave more than a cursory glance?"
Not to get too political here but, well, I guess I’m going to: I think this might be the same reason no one in the mainstream American media is calling out Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for outright lying about things to better suit their cause. Remember when the moderator told Mitt Romney that Barack Obama said something Romney claimed he didn’t? There was FUROR over that. "Why is this woman allowed to fact-check?" people actually asked. The answer is, "Because she’s a journalist and doesn’t appreciate someone, no matter how much power they wield, lying to her face." There is a perception that the media is no longer allowed to bring that kind of thing up because it’s unfair to the person to whom they’re doing it, as though to be fair one has to report what was said, and not whether what was said was a load of crap.
The same can be said of the approach with Bettman. He is lying. Every day. Directly to hockey fans. And journalists to whom he is lying just sit there happily tweeting out his comments without anyone saying, "Hey Gary, yeah you’re literally just making things up so please don’t do that any more." I understand this comes off as pro-union stuff and that I am very much on the record as being pro-union in all this. But if the side that’s already denying us hockey knows it has to keep lying to our faces to even keep up with the PR battle, what are we — and the journalists who are eschewing "reason" in the interest of some perverted and twisted definition of "fairness" — even doing?
2. The Isles in Brooklyn
I know this is something most Canadian fans don’t want to hear, but the fact that the Islanders are moving to Brooklyn in three years instead of (random Canadian city) is far better for the team and the league.
For one thing, the team stays within a few dozen miles of the place where it won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 1980s, and that, to some extent, matters. Second, it does not expose the team and the league itself to fluctuations in the value of foreign currency, which as we all know crippled or killed nearly all Canadian-based teams not THAT long ago. Third, having another team in the No. 1 media market in the U.S. matters a ton for the league. Fourth, there are very few hypotheticals, at least when compared with "yes but will people in Quebec City/Markham/Wherever still show up five or 10 years down the road when the team sucks?"
Canadians think, in general, that having a ton of NHL teams within their borders is some sort of birthright but that really doesn’t make much sense from a financial or noterietal standpoint for the league. A team in New York City, even if it doesn’t sell out every night, is far better than one in Quebec as far as American media is concerned, and that’s really all that matters. Canadians are gonna watch hockey anyway, and doing more to court them, as opposed to potential fans in Brooklyn and surrounding boroughs seems like a remarkable waste of time.
3. Feaster hates video games
Funny note from the dudes at Pass It To Bulis: They are apparently running a fake Canucks season using NHL13, and within that league, there are rumors that they might trade Roberto Luongo to the video-game Calgary Flames. Jay Feaster, making a trip to Abbotsford last weekend to watch the Heat take on the Canucks’ farm team from Chicago, made it known that Vancouver media members were not under any circumstance allowed to ask him about this rumor from a video game.
I don’t know what’s funniest about this story, but there are a few candidates:
a) Jay Feaster knows about the video-game rumors.
b) He was so bothered that it MIGHT be brought up that he forbade it in advance.
c) Vancouver media might have actually asked him about it.
d) Any of this took place at all.
4. Gaudreau back to it
So after a not-great opener for Boston College in which Johnny Gaudreau and Billy Arnold’s team lost 3-1 on the road to Northeastern, the team is back to form in earnest, and perhaps not surprisingly, it’s Gaudreau leading the way.
He picked up two goals and two assists this weekend as the Eagles beat UMass 5-4 in overtime and on the road, behind a furious third-period comeback. UMass entered that period up 3-0, but BC cut it to 3-2 as Arnold scored 11 seconds into the period and was on the ice for the other at 8:26. UMass got that last goal back just over a minute later, but inside four minutes to go, Pat Mullane — Gaudreau’s linemate — scored twice in 70 seconds. Gaudreau netted the overtime winner after setting up the game-tying goal.
The next night, in a 3-0 shutout, Gaudreau scored BC’s second and picked up the primary in the third. As of today, he has 2-3-5 in three games. Arnold’s only point was the goal against UMass.
If you’re wondering about Mark Jankowski, apart from the two-goal opening night performance, he has just one assist in three games and is a minus-3 with six shots on goal. Jon Gillies, on the other hand, has a 2.11 GAA and .924 save percentage, but Providence has had some tough opponents and isn’t scoring a lot, so he’s 1-2-1.
5. The Flames didn’t get Davidson
That was a fun one while it lasted, but he has bigger and far worse fish to fry.