As anyone that has lived in a populated city knows a single Rat can lead to a major infestation as they are well known as prolific breeders. Although the second round of the playoffs hasn’t come to a close yet it is apparent to me that the NHL has a serious Rat problem and the infestation can be traced back to a single Rat; Gary Bettman.
Ignoring the obvious facial similarities I’d prefer to focus on the demeanor and general attitude of the NHL’s head honcho. Every time this guy is asked a question the fans that support the league get a bullshit answer in a condescending and arrogant way that only Bettman can pull off. I don’t know about you but every time Bettman speaks I feel the immediate need to take a shower.
When Bettman decided to change the course of the sport that I love forever he ensured that his strongest qualities would also live on forever. The NHL executives would tell you that the instigator rule was implemented to reduce the number of pointless fights and increase player safety however the actual effects are far worse.
The number of Rats playing the NHL has grown exponentially and thanks to the instigator rule they can do as they please without worrying about the repercussions. Cheap shots occur so frequently that watching a game without one is a rarity; but this is just the tip of the iceberg. As the 2011 NHL playoffs have shown us pointless pushing and shoving in between whistles is now a part of the game, drawing a penalty by diving or acting is now a “smart play” and no longer a dishonorable or classless act. In the new NHL talk is no longer cheap it’s encouraged, rewarded and glorified.
To make matters worse the owners, GM’s and coaches in the NHL have adapted to this idea and have realized that having as many Rats on their team as possible is no longer a detriment but rather a benefit. They are very rarely called for diving and they are the players that start the pointless pushing and shoving between whistles even though their gloves are sewn to the cuffs of the jerseys. Most importantly they are injuring their peers with cheap shots at an alarming rate only to receive a slap on the wrist from the leagues disciplinarian who prefers to use cheese instead of poison to solve the problem.
As someone who is embarrassed by what the league has become I ask you this…. would you prefer to watch a few pointless fights here or there or a whole games worth of pushing, shoving, chirping, diving, acting and cheap shots? Because this extensive list of problems could easily be removed by restoring order to a league which currently has none.
About the Author
Written by Kirk Butler
Born and raised in Murray Harbour - PEI. Like many Canadians hockey is my religion; as a kid I had the pleasure of playing my minor hockey with Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards of the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning. I played competitive hockey until the age of 21 which included stops in the American Prep School System, Canadian Junior Hockey and the CIS. I now get my competitive fix on the golf course as a scratch golfer. More to come: Kirk Butler PEI, Canada