Friday, November 23, 2012

17 comments Bill Simmons Talks about the Hockey Lockout Since He's Such a Big Fan of Hockey Now and All

I never thought this blog would use the "lockouts suck" tag as often as it is being used. In the past two years we have had an NBA, NFL, and NHL lockout. There has been a lot of owner-player's union disagreement over the past two years. One thing that shouldn't be disagreed upon is my opinion is that Bill Simmons is running out of things to write about. In this past week's NFL picks he criticizes Gary Bettman because it is low hanging fruit and Bill has become such a big hockey fan since the Bruins won the Stanley Cup two years ago and his magical daughter helped the Los Angeles Kings to win the Stanley Cup last year. Gary Bettman isn't exactly the best commissioner in sports, no doubt. It's just any time Bill writes about hockey I can't get his "I'm a hockey widow" column out of my mind. This is the same "hockey widow" column that apparently has been scrubbed entirely from the Internet by ESPN. I tried for five whole minutes and couldn't find it anywhere.

News broke last night that embattled NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggested a two-week moratorium from lockout negotiations with the NHLPA. The reason? Things had just become too heated. I guess that's what happens when you cancel six weeks of games and Thanksgiving is looming — maybe there's a little more urgency, you say some things you regret, people take those things personally, and suddenly you're threatening each other in monotone Canadian accents...But canceling another two weeks just so everyone can cool off? Who does this? 

Perhaps two sides who can't seem to come to an agreement and don't want to cause harm to the current negotiations? Donald Fehr didn't exactly reject this idea outright, instead he took it back to his membership, so maybe this wasn't such a terrible idea.

And you wonder why hockey fans were regarding Bettman's lockout leadership the same way you'd act if you were watching a baby play with a chainsaw.

This joke.

Somewhere 2001 Bill Simmons is laughing at the asshole who just wrote a comedic "baby with a chainsaw" analogy. Somewhere else Adam Sander just read this analogy and just got an idea for a scene in his new movie about an immature guy who looks like Adam Sandler who is married to an attractive woman. The rest of the plot doesn't matter. Hijinks ensue. 

Oh God … wait, is that on … OH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Writing down the sound effect of someone reacting to a baby playing with a chainsaw doesn't make it any more funny. It makes it sound a little more desperate and ill-fitted to this column.

This is a guy who recently earned the following e-mail from a Minneapolis reader named Peter Gilbertson: "How does one impeach a sports commissioner? How can a commissioner on the verge of losing two NHL seasons in one decade, with four work stoppages during his tenure, continue to keep his job?

It's always fun to read when Bill uses his reader's comments on a subject as if these comments are fact instead of an opinion. For some reason, Bill believes the opinion of one of his readers actually serves as proof of something being true.

First of all, how much fun would it be to impeach Gary Bettman? Can't you see him sweating and stammering through the hearings as various politicians rehashed an endless list of mistakes over the years?

This sounds like it would be about as much fun as hearing about Bill's fantasy football team, which we will have honor of briefly hearing about in this column.

Gary Bettman should have lost his job years and years ago. He kept it for the same reason David Stern plans to hang around for three decades, Bud Selig will still be running baseball when he's 80,

Because the owners like them?

Roger Goodell will probably get a contract extension even after he handled the Saints debacle so badly that he had to bring back his old boss to fix the situation for him.

I am not entirely sure Goodell exactly brought back his old boss to fix the situation for him. It was more of a situation where the Saints requested another party hear their grievance and make a judgment. One way or another, Paul Tagliabue ended up being the arbitrator and the players union even made a motion to have Tagliabue recuse himself from the proceedings. Not that Goodell handled the bounty scandal deftly and with aplomb, of course, but even Goodell's old boss hasn't seemingly helped the situation too much.

after I joked recently for the umpteenth time about Bettman's former boss, David Stern, planting him in the NHL to ruin hockey, a few readers e-mailed me wondering if that could be legitimately true.

I'm a grammatical mess. You only need to read pretty much anything I write to see I am not going to be named Grammar and Sentence Structure King anytime soon. Bill has started a trend (and I blame Bill because I remember Bill first writing this way and I like to blame him for things that aren't his fault) of using the word or some derivation of the word "legitimate" as a descriptive-sort of word in a sentence. It doesn't bother me all the time, but in this sentence he could have left out "legitimately" because it is unnecessary. If it is true, then doesn't that mean it is "legitimate" as well? It feels unnecessary to me, like a baby pushing a lawnmower would be unnecessary.

The case against Bettman in one sentence: The NHL sacrificed an entire season so they could reimagine their entire salary structure … and only seven years later, that "reimagining" went so poorly that they might have to sacrifice a second season because they need a mulligan.

So they really needed a mulligan? This changes my point of view tremendously.

That's all you need to know.

But is that all I need to know? I ask this because Bill now lists various other reasons why Gary Bettman sucks. While he is correct in his assessment of Bettman, clearly the reimagining of the salary structure isn't all we needed to know.

I didn't even need to bring up the league's botched television deals, overexpansion, poorly picked markets, belated acknowledgement of the concussion epidemic, or more incredibly, how they stupidly forgot to limit the length of contracts.

Remember seven years ago when Bill was writing these same things during the previous lockout? Wait, you don't? That's probably because he was a hockey widow at that point since he didn't feel the Bruins were competitive enough (the Bruins went 41-19-15 in 2003-2004). Once the Bruins put together a "legitimately" good team, Bill started paying attention to hockey again. 

Imagine your neighbor knocking down his house, then rebuilding it from scratch as his family lived in a hotel.

Here begins an overly-long analogy that can be summed up in 1-2 sentences. I will take a shot at doing so.

Gary Bettman should have been smart enough to figure out the NHL's problems during the previous lockout. Yet, he helps cause another lockout this season to correct what he should have corrected during the previous lockout.

Let's check on how Bill's overly-long analogy is doing,

He says, "Because I'm an idiot, that's why."

And then, there's an awkward silence before he walks away, as you don't know whether he's kidding or not.

That's Gary Bettman.

That's Bill Simmons.

Hockey depends on its attendance and the unwavering devotion of its zealous fan base. From a television standpoint, the league will always be handicapped by its lack of marketable stars (the biggest reason it can't command anything close to the NBA's television deal), a glaring problem that I noticed during my first year owning Kings season tickets, 

It was a glaring problem that "The Sports Guy" didn't notice until he was 41 years old. Quick to the take, he is not.

Anyone who went to Wednesday's Heat-Clippers game was thinking I'm going to see LeBron!, because they knew he was playing 90 percent of the game. In hockey, you don't say "I'm going to see Ovechkin!," because he might play one-third of the game if you're lucky (and might not make a single meaningful play).

So hockey has fewer fans who are bandwagon fans who only like a team because they like a certain player on that team? I think this makes me enjoy hockey even more.

It's the ultimate team sport, and really, that's the best thing about hockey — there's a guaranteed level of entertainment night after night after night that transcends star power. 

(one paragraph later in this very column)

So how do we end up with a salary system that allows Minnesota to spend $196 million on Ryan Suter and Zach Parise? And that's not to pick on those guys — you could build a decent playoff team around them as long as your goalie didn't stink.

Hockey is the ultimate team sport! All you need is two good players and an average goalie, then you have a playoff team. It's the ultimate team game where Bill believes three players are all a team needs to make the playoffs. Team. Game.

Just know that nobody is saying the words, "Suter and Parise are coming to town tonight!" It's just not that kind of league. You go to hockey games to see quality teams, not quality players. 

So hockey fans don't say, "Crosby and Malkin are coming to town tonight!"? I feel like some hockey fans might actually say something like this and try to get tickets to the game.

Suter and Parise shouldn't make that much money because hockey players shouldn't make that much money. 

It has nothing to do with them. If you think of the cable television model, it makes more sense —

A convoluted analogy to cable television show will help this make more sense. Not less sense, but more sense. Actually, in debating this issue I will confuse myself and probably you. I apologize in advance.

channels like AMC, FX and Showtime realized that the quality of their shows matter a thousand times more than the "star power" of the actors on those shows. 

Or they realized they have a tighter budget than shows on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS, (and certainly have a tighter budget than a movie has) so they have to rely on lesser-named actors to carry their shows. NHL teams don't necessarily have a bigger and better league the players can go to as opposed to playing in the NHL, so this isn't a very good comparison. There is one other major reason as to why these cable channels don't use "star power" to carry their shows. Most actors/actresses with "star power" don't want to do television. Where are the "stars" on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS? Kevin Bacon and Zooey Deschanel are on FOX. CBS replaced Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher. Is this "star power" on the major networks? I don't recall a lot of "stars" doing network television. Another issue with this analogy is actors/actresses mainly want to do movies, so that dilutes the cable television talent pool. There is no major competitor to the NHL that dilutes the talent pool. Needless to say, this doesn't fit Bill's analogy so he skips over this little fact, but if an actor/actress has "star power," they usually want to do movies where the most money and exposure is at. I do agree shows on AMC, FX and other networks realize quality of the show matters more than the names in the cast. I'm just not entirely sure I see Bill's analogy to hockey though.

Not to mention, FX has had shows with Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant as the leads. These aren't necessarily big name actors/actresses (well, except Close), but certainly big enough for television, no matter the network the show is on. Showtime has created shows around Laura Linney, William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, Kristin Bell, Jeremy Irons, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, and David Duchovny. These actors and actresses could also carry a show on ABC, FOX, NBC, and CBS. If this cable model was a good comparison to the NHL, then guys like Sidney Crosby would be playing in a different professional hockey league from the NHL, while the NHL settles for their best players being Ryan Suter. But the best hockey players like Alex Ovechkin, Crosby, and Malkin all play in the NHL, while the best actors aren't necessarily on television, but are in the movies.

These names above aren't big names by any measure, but there are quite a few Oscar winners and big salaries thrown in there. So I'm not sure Bill's "star power" analogy makes sense because I don't think it is always a conscious decision by these cable networks to not get a big name actor/actress for a television show, any more than it was a conscious decision by big name actors/actresses to not do television shows. The NHL should be "the movies" in this example because that's where most actors want to end up doing the most work, just like the NHL is where most hockey players want to end up.

Yeah, AMC could have spent an extra $15 million per season on Keanu Reeves to play Rick in The Walking Dead, but why would they?

Again, Bill's analogy fails because he is seems to think the cable television model is by choice. I'm not sure it is. To hire Keanu Reeves for $15 million wouldn't make sense in the context of the show, while paying a hockey star $15 million might make sense in terms of marketing, ticket sales and the success of the team. "The Walking Dead" has an ensemble cast, so it wouldn't make sense to pay $15 million for one actor. It's not a decision to avoid big name actors more than it is a decision to understand the format of the show and what would work financially. If Keanu Reeves said, "I will do this show for $50,000 an episode," then perhaps AMC would consider him for the part. Would NBC hire Keanu Reeves for $15 million per season? I doubt they would.

Same for Showtime's hit Homeland, which features only one star (Claire Danes, who certainly isn't making Parise/Suter money) surrounded by well-casted actors, including a few good ones whom you'd recognize from other shows (including Mandy Patinkin, a fairly famous name in his own right) and certainly weren't expensive.

I think Damian Lewis may be slightly more expensive than Bill would think. Of course I'm a big Damian Lewis fan (I know, I am the only one) so I could be delusional. Not to mention, if Mandy Patinkin is a famous name in his own right, then doesn't that mean "Homeland" has two stars that were cast?

You might recognize that same blueprint from Breaking Bad, Dexter, Californication, Shameless, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy and about 10 other cable shows.

I guarantee Michael C. Hall makes a lot of money as the lead on "Dexter." I also guarantee he cost a lot of money (relative to television of course) when the show started as well because he would bring a fan base from "Six Feet Under" to the show. "Game of Thrones" is another show with a huge ensemble cast. It simply doesn't make sense to hire an actor/actress making $10 million per season to do the show when there are 15-20 "stars" of that show. David Duchovny did "X-Files" for years and probably wasn't cheap when he started doing "Californication" and I am guessing William H. Macy is well-compensated for "Shameless." If Bill wanted a better comparison it would be a comparison between the NHL and an overseas hockey league that wants to lure above average NHL players to their league.

While I don't hate Bill's analogy, I think he is making a truth in cable television casting (that it is hard to get stars to do television, whether network or cable, and ensemble casts simply can't work financially with 2-3 stars in them on one television show) and trying to turn this type of casting into a conscious decision on the part of the networks. It is a conscious decision, but a decision decided by the fact "stars" of acting don't necessarily want to do television. The stars of hockey do want to play hockey in the NHL, so I think this analogy doesn't make a ton of sense. If George Clooney wanted to do a Showtime show and the money was right, he would be on a Showtime show. Of course, what do I know? I don't live in California like Bill does.

On cable television, the showrunner and the writing matter more than anything else. In hockey, the sport and the fans matter more than anything else. It doesn't matter who Minnesota's third-best player is any more or less than it matters who plays Mike on Homeland. Fans are coming, regardless.

It helps that Mike on "Homeland" is the 6th or 7th lead on the show behind Saul, Carrie, Brody, Brody's wife, Brody's daughter, and the CIA Director. So it wouldn't make sense to find a big name actor who will only be in 5-10 minutes of each episode. Also, the idea that "fans are coming" to NHL games regardless of star power seems pretty faulty to me. It's a huge assumption in my opinion.

Wasn't the league supposed to be regaining control of its broken salary structure? How are we back here seven years later battling the exact same problem?

Probably. Gary Bettman does suck at times.

He's the worst commissioner in sports history, and really, it's going to remain that way unless Roger Goodell extends the NFL's season to 20 games, adds Wednesday- and Friday-night football to the schedule, pays a hitman to murder Jonathan Vilma, and gets outed for having a heated affair with his biographer, Peter King … and even then, I'd probably still give the edge to Bettman.

Shots fired! Bill should know Peter likes his men more grizzled and quarterback-y than Roger Goodell.

If you want to talk about moratoriums, Gary, here's a better idea — step down and give us a lifetime moratorium. From you. On to the Week 12 Picks …

Ziiiiiiiiiiing. It's good to see Bill cares so much about the NHL now that he is writing critical columns about the NHL commissioner.

Speaking of skunks, I have the following thoughts about the Marlins skunking the entire city of Miami …

2. Everything you ever wanted to know about professional sports in 2012 could be summed up with the sentence, "Jose Reyes needs to pass a physical but is currently still on vacation in Dubai."

I'm not entirely sure if I understand what this means. Jose Reyes makes a ton of money and it is MLB's offseason, so he is visiting a really nice city using all of the money he has. Does Bill think it is a bad or over-glamorous thing for Jose Reyes to be in Dubai?

4. The Red Sox definitely would have jumped on the Jose Reyes–Josh Johnson–Mark Buehrle trio if John Henry were still alive.

I would if Bill thinks this would have been a good idea or not. He doesn't say, probably so he can withhold judgment until May or June when he writes a column complaining the Red Sox should have traded for Jose Reyes or Josh Johnson...unless the Red Sox start off well, in which case he will write a column saying the "new" Red Sox are better built for the future. Either way, it's best not to get an opinion on the record in case it gets in the way of second-guessing or narrative building in the future.

Packers (-3) over LIONS

Remember when it seemed like things were falling apart for Aaron Rodgers? His offensive line couldn't block anyone. His skill position guys kept getting hurt. His agent badly overexposed him by throwing him into too many commercials, which had a habit of running back-to-back during the most dire parts of every Packers game.

No, I remember when Rodgers wasn't playing very well and the media built up this narrative that Rodgers had things falling apart for him and then tried to create some sort of dissension within the Packers locker room that probably didn't exist to the extent the media insisted it did. I recall how Rodgers still has skill position guys hurt, his offensive line still isn't great, and he is still in too many commercials. The Packers are winning though, so all of that is now forgotten.

And really, Rodgers has been crushing teams ever since. At the same time, his NFC nemesis Eli Manning contracted the E Coli Delhomme virus, Matt Ryan's Falcons lost a textbook "We would have believed in you if you won THAT game, but you didn't" game,

The Falcons are 9-1, but THAT game is the one which causes Bill not to believe in Matt Ryan. The game against the Saints, where Matt Ryan really didn't do a hell of a lot to lose the game.

In other news, here are some fun stats about Calvin Johnson's total number of touchdowns this season (two).

Calvin Johnson has the same number of TDs (two) as my West Coast fantasy team has wins (two).

Somehow, Calvin Johnson is still the best guy on my West Coast fantasy team.

This is reason no. 610 why I'm retiring from fantasy football after this season.

Fantasy sports: They are called "fantasy" because that's your state of mind if you think anyone cares to hear about your team.

Reason no. 611 was this e-mail, courtesy of Steve in Bedford, Massachusetts: "Fantasy is kind of like cheating on your wife. You don't get any solid action for a while (seven months of crappy SportsCenter bits with Jon Gruden), then you get an opportunity to get some (three hours with your friends drinking and competing about football knowledge with the promise of real football to come) only to spend the following 17 weeks living with regret and not wanting to check your e-mail."

I really have nothing to say about this. I think this analogy speaks for itself. Complaining you don't have a good fantasy team is really complaining how bad you are at fantasy sports. In other words, don't complain to us you suck.

Here's the point: Now that Nate Silver has solved the polling process in politics, I'd like to see him devote his attention to something much more meaningful … football gambling. How hard could this be? Couldn't Nate just study all the patterns from every football season and come up with 20 steadfast rules/tips/guidelines that should never be violated? 

Perhaps the problem, and the reason putting rules/tips/guidelines that should never be violated is a losing proposition, is that there aren't any patterns? I'm just guessing though.

Jaguars (+15) over TEXANS

I know the Jaguars stink, but Houston plays again on Thursday — this is the all-time Milton Berle "Pulling Out Just Enough To Win" game if there ever was one.

This was a good call by Bill. I like to give him credit at least once per post. This was me giving him credit.

In other news, here's an important e-mail from Phil in Irving: "I need your help to bring this problem to more people's attention — 'I will say this … ' is the new 'Having said that … ' Doesn't this phrase drive you crazy? Someone smarter than me could probably figure out how certain phrases seem to become trendy (ex: 'it is what it is' circa 2010),

John Fox has been saying "It is what it is" at every press conference since 2002, so perhaps he helped to introduce that phrase to the public as a whole. He usually said it after losses and he had a lot of losses in 2010.

but suddenly I can't enjoy TV or a podcast without talking heads obscuring their own valid points by throwing in an unnecessary, 'I will say this … ' You don't have to tell me you're going to say something — just say it!

And yet you are writing to the king of the overly-long analogy to have him help solve this problem for you? Bill Simmons, the same guy who takes 100 words to say what someone else can state in one sentence, is the guy you take your "Just say it" complaint to?

Besides, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ruined "Having said that..." in one of its latest seasons. Now I can't type the phrase without laughing (or chortling as the Peter King/Gregg Easterbrook hybrid would say).

Here's the point: If Tom Brady doesn't completely, totally and irrevocably carve up that openly lousy Colts pass defense — at home, in a relatively important game that he's going to care about winning — it will be one of the biggest upsets of the 2012 season. Which means Luck (10 TDs, 9 picks) has to score 30+ points to hang around … something the Colts have done only once all year (30 against Green Bay in Week 5).

Bill gets credit twice this week. He pretty much nailed what would happen in the New England-Indianapolis game.

RAIDERS (+4.5) over Saints 

Warning! Classic trap game, correct? Instead of avoiding the Saints here, let's get aggressive, Billy! What's the opposite of a trap game? An escape game? Isn't this an escape game for the Raiders, too? I can see it now: in a furious fourth-quarter comeback, Carson Palmer conjures up his best impression of Kenny the Snake Stabler as the Raiders 'escape' with a win!!!"

But nailing his NFL predictions isn't exactly a trend with Bill, so there is this one to counteract the New England-Indianapolis prediction.

Speaking of gimmicks that I've beaten into the ground in this column, Peter from Iowa City wonders simply, "Has the David Petraeus scandal entered the Tyson Zone yet?"

The problem isn't Bill admitting that he beats gimmicks into the ground. The problem is that he continues to do so. Self-awareness isn't very useful if you don't use that self-awareness to adjust how you write.

A quick recap: "Tyson Zone" status officially happens as soon as you find yourself saying the words, "I don't know what's happening next, but I'm prepared for anything."

If you want or need a recap of the "Tyson Zone," then you should feel shame on just so many levels.

That's what happened (for me, a least) as soon as Chuck Klosterman became a bit player in a CIA sex scandal.

A new characteristic of Bill's writing is that he seems to constantly plug other Grantland columns in his column. It's like Bill's column is just another marketing branch of Grantland. There are seven links to either Grantland columns or a Grantland columnist in this article by Bill Simmons. This doesn't include the links to So basically Bill is using his column as another way of marketing other Grantland columns. He's very smart in that fashion, but his intelligence in putting Grantland links into his columns doesn't make me shake my head at his shamelessness any less.

Bears (+4.5) over 49ERS

Doesn't Chicago's defense and special teams have just as good of a chance to single-handedly win the game against Colin Kaepernick as San Francisco's defense and special teams have to single-handedly win the game against Jason Campbell? What am I missing?

Apparently you are missing that Greg Roman is a coaching genius and Colin Kaepernick is the next great NFL quarterback.

This Week: 1-0
Last Week: 5-9
Season: 74-70-3

Bill may as well flip a coin. In fact, during this year's playoffs if we do our typical playoffs picks against Bill Simmons then I may include a coin flip as one of the "competitors."


E C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric C said...

This the one?

E C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric C said...

Maybe that wasn't it. Found a reference to it with this quote, but couldn't find the article:

"I’m a hockey widower, and when I graduated college and realized I had spent more than two decades of my life rooting for a franchise that cared more about making a profit than winning a championship I had to cut the cord."

Anonymous said...

Well done as always Ben. I wish you could be the Poynter review writer so the failures of ESPN could be brought to light in an intelligent and artful manner. They are so obvious I always feel insulted by that gross attempt by Disney to bamboozle the blind readers. Simmons is just the tip of the iceberg in my opinion. Bayless, Greeny & Golic, Corso, Schefter, Olney, Berman, Schlereth, Stephen A., . . . what a bunch of clowns. These guys need to be recycled immediately. I like Herm, Darren, and maybe an off night of some baseball guys but Schilling sucks and so does Larkin. . . . all the NFL, NBA, and MLB people short of a few, need a comeuppance from a young hungry group effort from Bloggers like you and FireJayMariotti. For now, I'm just thankful I found your blogs and subsequent Twitter. Hope the T Day was solid and may the Panthers front office make solid hires for your next NFL season. @BigCityJob

ivn said...

Bill Simmons has been a diehard hockey fan for two whole years, guys. if anyone knows how to solve the NHL's problems, it's him.

also, our old friend TJ Simers is at it again:

at some point I think people are going to realize that Stanford is actually good. considering Simers wrote a column defending the decision to keep Lane Kiffin at USC, however, I don't think he watches too much college football.

rich said...

handicapped by its lack of marketable stars

Hockey isn't handicapped by its lack of marketable stars any more so than baseball. You have 21 guys on a team and they all have to play. Playing 20 minutes of a 60 minute game is considered a lot.

The problem isn't that hockey doesn't have marketable stars, it's that ESPN doesn't give two shits about hockey and therefore doesn't market hockey players.

Despite their hatred of the NHL, even ESPN couldn't get enough reporting on Crosby last year.

Bill's problem is that he lives in a world where people still give two fucks about ESPN and since ESPN didn't get hockey, the sport isn't marketable and got a shitty TV deal. Given what NBC offered (a ton of money up front, games on constantly, games on NBC, etc), the NHL got a fantastic deal. ESPN would have offered more money, but played a game a week - basically, hockey would have died.

because he might play one-third of the game if you're lucky (and might not make a single meaningful play).

Right and that's absolutely killed baseball right? Who bothers going to watch guys like Hamilton, Pujols, Cabrera, etc just because they only get 1/9th of their team's ABs and might go 0-5 with 5Ks?

Lets say LeBron plays 40 minutes, how much of that time is actually watching him doing something productive and just standing around or lightly jogging?

You go to a Patriots game to watch Brady on the sidelines half the game (not even including special teams)?

Every sport has down time - soccer has a shitton of it and it's the world's most popular sport.

So how do we end up with a salary system that allows Minnesota to spend $196 million on Ryan Suter and Zach Parise?

Because they traded the present for the future? The Wild are all sorts of fucked once Suter and Parise stop performing at that level.

I mean for fuck's sake, the Angels gave what? 225M to CJ Wilson and Pujols this off-season? Or how about the Celtics with KG, Pierce and Allen? How about LeBron, Bosh and Wade? Or Melo and Amare?

Just know that nobody is saying the words, "Suter and Parise are coming to town tonight!"

Then please explain how Minnesota's season tickets sold out almost instantly?

Hockey fans go to games to watch other players just like everyone does. I went to the Devils-Rangers game (as a Flyers fan) to watch Kovalchuk's first game as a Devil.

How are we back here seven years later battling the exact same problem?

We aren't. We are fight a different, albeit just as retarded, problem.

The last lockout was over the owner's desire for a salary cap and revenue split was an after thought. This is almost entirely about how to split the $0 of revenue the NHL is making right now.

Gary, here's a better idea — step down and give us a lifetime moratorium. From you.

You don't get to say this if you just up and give up on the sport. Bill gave up on hockey (and the Bruins) "until [the Bruins] got a new owner," shockingly enough, the Bruins win the Cup and Bill's back acting like he was always there.

Bettman sucks (Do we need two failing teams in Florida?) and this lockout is the result of petty bullshit on both sides, but Bill is talking out of his ass.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, it might be. He had an entire column about it prior to 2008 though. I ran into that one, but I remember an entire "hockey widow" column from about 8 years or so ago.

I think the real one has been deleted forever at the request of Bill...or at least that is my conspiracy theory.

Big City Job, thanks. Carolina needs a GM first. I'm cautiously optimistic.

I think a lot of the problems at ESPN is the groupthink that probably goes on. A lot of people who watch the network also aren't as informed and want their arguments in soundbites. It's how they want their sports news. You don't know how many times I have attended a sporting event or read a column that sounds like ESPN talking points. It's one of those things where some people who watch ESPN want a black/white argument broken down for them they can get excited about. That's what they provide. Small soundbites.

Ivn, I don't see how Lane Kiffin stays at USC. They are now underachieving. He keeps failing upwards though! That's what is so crazy to me.

I don't even know why I question Bill. He was a hockey widow and is now back, so he has an outsider and insider perspective. How dare I say he could be wrong!

Rich, I think you could be on to something. Interest in a certain sport is partially driven by ESPN and if they ignore the sport interest won't be high.

I forgot to include this part, but baseball has a similar issue with pitchers as well. Pedro Martinez only pitched every fifth day, as do other pitchers like Justin Verlander. So why even go to games where they aren't pitching? As you stated, batters only get 4-5 at-bats in a game maximum as well.

See, Bill isn't a hockey fan, that's why he doesn't get why fans would pay to see Parise or Suter. Therein lies the entire problem with his argument. He doesn't get that real hockey fans will pay to see these players.

I won't defend Bettman, but Bill has lost a lifetime of credibility with me by giving up on the Bruins like he did. Yeah, he may be back in, but he isn't a true hockey fan and I think this article shows it.

Snarf said...


Just looked at that Simers performance in the press conference. I guess mission accomplished on his part, I went and read his column. He's such a punk.

waffleboy said...

This one was kind of a trifecta for Bill. He really doesn't know a whole lot about hockey. He really doesn't know a whole lot about TV, and from what I've gathered reading his columns he doesn't know much about economics. This one was kind of a perfect storm.

snarf said...

I don't know, I may go as far as to say he knows NOTHING about economics, considering that he believes outspending other teams to be a "market inefficiency."

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, that was quite a performance by Simers wasn't it? I'm not a huge Jim Mora Jr. fan, but it's silly for him to state UCLA didn't try hard at the press conference. He didn't even ask it as a question, it was more of an accusation really. That man is a troll and it is a shame he is employed by a major newspaper.

That is true about Bill as well. He thinks being able to outspend another MLB team is a market inefficiency. I'm pretty sure Bill sounds like he knows what he is talking about until you think about what he is saying.

Waffle, the only way this column could have been even worse is if he somehow managed to throw a dated pop culture reference to "Rocky," "Hoosiers," or "Karate Kid" in here.

ivn said...

snarf - I know, I felt like a total schmuck for reading Simers' column (and the one about Kiffin) because his whole thing is saying dumb things to get you to read, but I almost refuse to believe that someone would be willing to write something that wrong, put their name on the byline, and allow millions of people (I'd assume, it is the LA Times) to read it.

to ignore that Stanford has a good team — their offensive and defensive lines push opponents around and wear them down, which is precisely what happened against UCLA. if Kevin Hogan had been starting all year there's a good chance Stanford would be playing for a spot in the national championship this weekend. to think that a ranked team would intentionally roll over in a conference game (and to openly accuse the coach of doing so)...yeesh. and FWIW, Mora has done a great job with a program that was pretty much dead in the water for the past few years. Simers has scraped the bottom of the barrel (hey, that's the name of the site!) for a while now but this is might be his finest hour, so to speak.

but don't take my word for it! check out some of the comments for his column:

"T.J was disgraceful and disrespectful. Ritire [sic] him"
"It's a total mystery why the LA times continues to employ such a pretentious hack."
"Simmers [sic] is a legend, in the worst possible way."
"Does TJ stand for Terrible Journalist?" (reply to that: "Good handle for him but you give him way too much credit ... he is simply not a journalist in any sense.")
"This is the final straw for me as a subscriber."
"A middle-school contribution."

KentAllard said...

Nothing like Bill Simmons whining about hockey to make you feel embarrassed to be a hockey fan.

I guess Bill was watching Karate Kid reruns the two years Damien Lewis' excellent series "Life" was on.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, I'm glad Jim Mora went back at Simers like that. To indicate UCLA would lie down is ridiculous. And yes, Mora has done a great job with UCLA. My favorite college team got their ass handed to them by UCLA this year and as much as I don't like Mora as an NFL coach, I think he is going to be a great college coach.

Simers stinks. The way he treats people is ridiculous.

Kent, be embarrassed for him, not for you. Real hockey fans will go to see Suter and Parise.

I really liked "Life." I said previously I was a big Damian Lewis fan, I meant I have watched "Life" as well. It was an excellent show and clearly Bill didn't watch it. Not to mention, Lewis was essentially the lead on a miniseries called "Band of Brothers." It was only nominated for 19 Emmys, so I can see how Bill missed that one.

Roko said...

I think it's important to check what Bill says in his rules to being a sports fan -

The "Loyalties" sections is a good read

Bengoodfella said...

Roko, I believe you are referring to the part that says:

"Also, you can't start rooting for a team, back off when they're in a down cycle, then renew the relationship once the team starts winning again."