July 21, 2008
Perhaps it's the "follow the money" fervor that the "Boots" Del Biaggio story inspires, but there's this Watergate-like notion floating around the media that if this trail of inept vetting goes all the way up to Gary Bettman's office, then he should be impeached.
OK, at least that's what the Canadian media is saying; like the Globe & Mail's editorial today, in which it caps a review of the Del Biaggio/Nashville Predators ownership mess by wondering if "Mr. Bettman's handling of the Predators' sale could conceivably cost him his job."
Not the cancelled season or the deal with the network no one can find or the mis-marketing of the sport for a decade or the fact that the NHL needed a game played in a snowy football stadium to tap back into the mainstream or the roughly 2,000 other sins attributed (rightly or wrongly) to the commissioner. No, Bettman "could conceivably" lose his job because Hamilton didn't get a hockey team. Uh-huh.
I'm not trying to say the Canadian media is solely driving this theory; I'm just saying that if Jim Balsillie had been trying to move the Predators to Omaha, this probably isn't finding its way onto the Globe's editorial pages.
Globe & Mail columnist Stephen Brunt had a more detailed take on Bettman and the Predators' mess, but the fact remains: Bettman ain't going anywhere until he's ready to leave. It's wishful thinking that the Del Biaggio thing would be enough to force him out; if he wasn't properly vetted, an easy out for the League would be that Boots was already a minority owner in the NHL with San Jose -- along with the he said/she said of the current charges. Besides, this line of thinking is bizarrely sympathetic towards the Nashville ownership who accepted Del Biaggio's funny money. Where their blame?
So Bettman's job is safe. Which means you should check back here on Tuesday for the next great Puck Daddy contest. Hint: It involves Bettman. Double-hint: Grab your crayons.