Friday, June 02, 2006

Oilers-Hurricanes? Guess Who's Going To Start Lying?

Gary Bettman is going to be a liar, once again.

He will smile a courageous smile and tell anyone who asks that yeah, he's thrilled with the finals matchups for his league's Stanley Cup.

Edmonton vs. Carolina.


I don't know what the market shares are for those teams, but I sorta think they may fall behind Topeka, KS or Peoria, IL. Maybe even our own Fraser or Chelsea or Pinconning are within shouting range.

Bettman will lie again when he says the NHL playoffs are great because, as this Oilers-Hurricanes final shows, you never know what can happen.

See? I TOLD you anything could happen!
(and that's why your league's playoffs suck, Gary)

That's why the NHL playoffs aren't great, and he knows it.

In the NBA, you pretty much know going into the postseason which two teams will be in the Finals. Certainly you would know which four teams will make the conference finals. And those are, uncoincidentally, the best, most exciting matchups.

But in Bettman's league, where goblins and gremlins come out during the playoffs, this business of not being able to rely on the regular season's best teams is getting out of hand. There's no home-ice advantage. No talent advantage. No experience advantage. No tradition advantage.

So instead of a Red Wings-Devils barnburner, or Stars-Flyers, or even Flames-Senators, we're stuck with Oilers-Hurricanes because the NHL doesn't ever, EVER, follow script.

This is the equivalent of a Bucks-Kings NBA Final, and that just doesn't happen in basketball -- a sport that rewards those that can play, and eliminates those who can't, usually in the very first round.

But in hockey, where unknown goalies get white hot and little-used fourth line players turn into Wayne Gretzky in April and May, you have these "who woulda thunk it?" finals matchups.

Someone named Fernando Pisani is, I believe, the league's leading goalscorer in the playoffs.

And if Bettman wants us to believe that he's thrilled that the teams who are playing for the Stanley Cup have a combined TV share of 1.1, then he's an even worse liar than he is a league commissioner.

As for the finals, I'll wait until it comes out on DVD. Maybe.

No comments: