Friday, June 06, 2008

You know, this has been bugging me-

-Can anybody give me a good reason why every year in recent memory Gary Bettman has been the guy on the ice awarding the Stanley Cup? And I know he is the commissioner, but still. Every year I see him do it, he takes what should be one of the best moments of the season, seeing the overjoyed captain raise the cup over his head in triumph, and if not actually spoils it, kind of taints it with not only his presence at all, but his goofy, stilted, stammering, ham-fisted speechifying.

I mean, everybody loves the Stanley Cup.


Why taint that experience by including a guy who everybody hates?

Does ANYBODY like Gary Bettman?

I mean, really?

Additionally, this year, it seemed like this fact was acknowledged by the league as he was never really even introduced properly. I need to go back to the DVR to hear the actual wording of his introduction, but I know they didn't end it with his name. If they said "Ladies and Gentleman: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman" it is a rock solid guarantee that he would be booed, even if it was a night earlier in Detroit, and the hometown team was delirious with joy.

So if they are already altering introductions to make sure that the commissioner isn't booed, why doesn't he step aside for the good of the game? Because seeing him do his little dog and pony show is embarrassing.

He does his little rehearsed speech, awkwardly praises both teams and then says "come get the Stanley Cup" which would be great, if he'd fucking let go of it. He's gotta stand there like a fat little toad, clutching onto his completely unearned slice of the spotlight, while the captain of the team, a genuine hockey hero, stands around like a doofus, waiting for daddy to give him his treat.

It's disgusting.

Here's an idea. How about every single year the cup is awarded by a previous Stanley Cup winner and member of the Hall of Fame that remains unannounced until the actual ceremony itself. The Oscars do it right. The person who gives out the best picture award is a heavy hitter. Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Katherine Hepburn, somebody that commands unquestionable respect in the industry.

In hockey, it should be a person who means a great deal to the franchise who won the cup. Would it not be a thrill for even the Pittsburgh fans, (who like all great fans, stayed and applauded the ceremony) to hear "Ladies and Gentleman- Presenting the Stanley Cup: Hall of Famer and three time cup champion...Steve Yzerman"

If they managed to keep it a surprise up until the moment, it would make for supreme drama, and you know that Stevie Y would LOVE to hand that cup to Nick Lidstrom. He could deliver the same canned speech that Bettman does, but delivered from such an icon of the game, it would be a moment that would be nothing short of priceless.

If the Penguins won the cup, Mario awards it to Sidney Crosby. Winning the Stanley Cup represents being a part of history, and a part of the Stanley Cup forever, as your name will be engraved upon it from this point forth. It should be awarded by someone who is a part of that, either as a player, a builder, a broadcaster or a cherished member of the hockey family.

It would feature the game of hockey symbolically welcoming the newest chapter of it's history. That honor should come from a beloved part of that history.

Not Gary Bettman.


Flip Washington said...

A-fucking-men, sir. As I watched that little troll shuffle up to the Cup, I vomited all over my TV screen. Then I wiped it off, shook my fist and screamed "Fuck you, Bettman!" I love your ideas on the awarding of the finest trophy in all of sport (suck it, World Cup). It'd even be cool if they did it Masters style and have the previous year's Conn Smythe winner present the Cup. Either way, Bettman should never be allowed to touch Lord Stanley's Cup again.

And what happened to Jen? No more writing for her at all? And who won the fantasy league (sorry if I missed this)?

March to the Sea said...

its like he has parkinsons...not to be mean but he doesn't look right.

I think each team awards "superfan" and allows them to follow the team to each city..superfan then calls the captain over. Imagine and drunk and wildly happy hockey fan going NUTs for the idea his/her team won?! A+ stuff

Anonymous said...

See Ritch, I don't even see that as the biggest imponderable, though I love your idea.

To me, the biggest imponderable of the presentation of the Cup is: Why doesn't Bettman's skin sizzle when he touches the Cup?

Alec said...

I like this for several reasons.
1) no more Bettman- that pudgy little dough boy with a head like a door knob probably can't even skate. He should never get to touch the cup. Plus, when he speaks I hear a voice whispering "kill him....."

2) What hocky has over all other sports is a love and respect for the tradition of the game. Tradition is built and carried on through knoledgeable fans of the game, not just homers. Not only would seeing Bobby Orr pick up the cup, raise it over his head to the fans and hand it to Bruins be a great moment for SO many reasons, but it would reconnect the team, the players and the fans to their past.

send this idea to Dupont, Leonsis, Don Cherry, we need some help making this happen.

Ritch said...

Flip: I don't think that having the previous Conn Smythe winner would work. It sounds cool, but having an active player do that job is problematic. If a team repeated, you might have someone having to hand the cup to himself, or God forbid, if we get a Pens/Wings rematch next year, and the Pens won, then Lidstrom would have to hand the Cup to Sid moments after losing it on the ice.

Oh, and Jen hasn't written cause I've been too lazy to ask her, and she's probably busy in her goddamn kickball league. I'll find out.

March: A superfan might be cool, but how do you pick? I think you give the superfan a game worn jersey. I don't think we let them award the cup. Plus, a real superfan might not want to touch it.

Alec: I haven't told any NHL bigwigs yet, but it might be worth an email or two. I put it on the Globe Bruins message boards, and so far people are supportive of the idea.