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January 28, 2007


I loved the Gump. Always remember when I asked him at an Iceland practice I attended, which team gave him the most trouble? Without hesitation, his answer was the New York Rangers!!

Never forgot that.

What a sad thing to hear about Gump. My deepest condolences to his entire family as he was not only a talented goalie (hence the reason he's in the Hall of Stuff) but he was a nice man. Here’s my own personal touch of greatness from him in a neat little anecdote.

I wrote Gump a letter about 5 or 6 months ago and recevied it back about 2 maybe 3 months ago at the most. I had sent him a really nice 8x10 that I had purchased of him as a Ranger goalie with a note about my interest in the Rangers history etc and requested that he sign the picture for me. As he was such a nice man, he did sign and send the picture back to me, but he also included a short note he had written on a piece of scrap paper and included with the picture to me saying something along the lines of “thanks for remembering me…” I thought that was really sweet to include, but because he didn’t sign the note, I just tossed it out and I really regret it as I think it really told a story of the character of the man. Here's a Hall of Stuffer writing a note to a guy who never saw him play and just heard and read about him and he was happy simply to be remembered. I couldn’t say for sure because there is no way to know conclusively, but I think it's probably safe to say that I might just have one of the last autographs that he ever gave…

As I read Dubi's posting and thought about it a little, I htought that this would be one story that as my two sons get a bit older I will be sharing with them to teach them a valuable lesson that Gump reinforced in my own mind and that I think really personified to me the man that he was in that he taught me about being kind to strangers...and beleive me, nobody is stranger than me, but I think ultimately that it's a lesson I think we could all stand to learn a little bit from.

Rest in Peace Gump...

The Gumper...what a great character. I remember when he played for the Rangers...now that was a guy who did not look like a world class athelete when you saw him! However, my best memory of Gump was in his last days playing for the North Stars. It was at the new Garden sitting at the end of the bench in a back up role. A puck being cleared came from the ice and landed in the visitors bench. Gump picked it up and stuffed it behind his leg pads (why...don't know, but that is where he put it). A lot of people came running down from the seats behind the bench asking for the puck and Gump just smiled and waved his head 'no', like he wasn't allowed to give it away. My father and I urged my sister to go ask for the puck. She was about 10 at the time, very shy and in a cute dress. She walked down by herself and said, Gump, can I have the puck...he looked at her, smiled, pulled it from his pads and tossed it up to her. A lot of the people in the crowd applauded.

Where have the class atheletes gone? Seeing the way people behave these days, makes it difficult at times to follow sports. I always liked hockey because the players seem to be easier to identify with, size-wise and personality-wise.

Just look at the picture of the Gump, how can you not like a guy that plays nets with out a mask? Sadly my most recent memories come from watching the Rangers strafe him with the North Stars. They were not that great of a team. Sorry Gump. :(

Isls beatin Buffalo making me really worried about us playing them. why couldnt we get a coach like nolan hes brought thag team up like theres no tomorow

I saw a good effort from almost everyone in the lineup against a team that was better than its record shows. If the Rangers don't hit 3 or 4 posts, would you still be characterizing this as a "not bad?"

I thought every line worked hard, won puck battles, and generally controlled the play. Even better, Renney rolled all 4 lines basically throughout. Aside from Hall and Krog, who basically had one decent shift, I thought every single forward play a tough game, and showed an ability to win battles.

The PP was basically dominant, and moved the puck well. [Rosival, though, still...gotta shoot the puck]. But it had a number of chances and was as good a PP as the NYR showed in some time.

The defense had a few weak moments, but thats to be expected with this group. More importantly, I thought the entire team did a good job of clogging the slot, and preventing the few rebound opportunities that were they for the Flyers.

If this team played this game 82 times, and Renney coached this game 82 times, it would be a lot closer to last year's record.

Hey Jess-
Didn't realize UMASS was your school! The goalie is from my home town (Jon Quick- Hamden, Ct.). I watched him throughout his High School career and we knew he was good, but none of us "fans" ever thought he would be this good. Todd Hall, the ex-Ranger property/Wolfpack star is now the assistant coach of the High School team, where he also played a few years back.

Mike York was a healthy scratch yesterday...

We should trade Matt Cullen for Mike York!!!

Here's a profile on the Gumper...


I remember listening to Gump's amazing 55 save performance vs. Toronto in the '62 playoffs. Unfortunately, the Leafs won in OT, but that game cemented my Ranger fandom.

No, Saget -- if the Rangers had scored on some of their power play chances, the game would not have been close and it would have met my pre-game criteria for "good' rather than "not bad". As it actually transpired, the game exactly met my criteria of "not bad".

After the Atlanta game, Shanahan said if the Rangers had scored that third period garbage goal instead of the Thrashers, we'd have been talking about a good gritty win instead of wondering what's wrong. After practice the other day, Tom Renney said if they'd won just ten of twenty points that he thought were attaintable, we wouldn't be talking about the team the way we are, wondering if they have been a disappointment (that was the question he was answering).

So last night, against the league's worst team, which barely mounted an attack, allowing the game to hang in the balance because of their inability to finish on their many chances reduces the final assessment from "good" to "not bad".

And this is especially so because it took a late Jason Krog goal to win, making him first star of a game in which Jagr and Shanahan would have been 1-2 had they scored instead of hitting iron or Esche, and making him a hero who will therefore get more ice time and responsibility, to the detriment of the team's immediate and long-term future, which was one of my concerns going into the game with such strange lines (I'd add another name to the list alongside Krog, but I don't want to be called a retard in Slovakian again for believing that you shouldn't have someone with just two goals and three assists after 47 games on your second line alongside a slumping big-time goal scorer).

Has anyone noticed that Jed Ortmeyer is actually hitting the net with his shots? Last season that seemed like something that was an impossible task for him.

Well said, Dubi.

And then there's this: "After practice the other day, Tom Renney said if they'd won just ten of twenty points that he thought were attaintable, we wouldn't be talking about the team the way we are, wondering if they have been a disappointment.

Hey, Tom, if the '62 Mets would have won 120 games instead of losing them, blah, blah, blah. Why is this guy not working at a car wash instead of coaching a pro hockey team?


I am taking an online journalism program at UMASS so I have to root for them since my local school doesn't have a hockey program.


It is a crying shame that the current ownership (and many fans) only think that the Ranger's history starts with Ed Giacomin and Brad Park.

There were players who set a standard on and off the ice and Gump Worsley was one of them.

Heaven's All-Star team just got that much better.

Flyer Game

IF you are happy with a "not bad" win over the worst team in the Eastern Conference then your standards are very low.

See in my book it is not winning one game against the Flyers but instead seeing a consistent effort win or lose during a run of games.

Before the All-Star game I posted how this stretch of the schedule is going to go a long way to determining the outcome of this season.

Lose to Boston and you have gained nothing. We can yak all we want about the team efforts but we still are waiting for this team to play a full 60 minutes worth of effort.

I like Tom Renney the person as he is one of the smartest people in hockey. I do not like Tom Renney the NHL coach because he is one of the slowest thinkers in hockey. I fear that the Rangers are not going to improve as a franchise as long as Renney is behind the bench instead of behind a desk where he belongs as VP of Player Development.

RIP Gumper.

When I was playing street hockey there was a short husky kid who we stuck in goal and he turned out to be pretty good.

I started calling him Gump and he (or any of the other guys) had no idea what I was talking about. He got pretty mad at me because he thought it sounded like an insult.

But after I explained about Lorne (Gump) Worsely he understood, and got to like it. The nickname stuck and even today 20 years later when I or my friends see this guy we call him Gump.

Mitch Beck:

"The one moment of note in that third period was Dubinsky dipsy-doodling in center ice and losing the puck for an odd man rush which led to a penalty. Moves like these show why a player with such great potential needs more time in Hartford."

Oh, but it's OK for JJ, Straka and Nylander to do the same thing multiple times every game and the only consequence it that they get more ice time?

Tell me - don't you see the disconnect here? Where's the accountability on the parent club?

Jess: VP of Player Development? You mean sitting Pock upstairs so he can see how many mistakes the accountability-free vets are making? Or his fine handling of Dawes, Immonen, cup of coffee Callahan and two minutes of icetime, then back to Hartford Giroux? Or Kevin Weekes is my #1 "and that's that"? Or how about 30 goal scorer Prucha on the fourth line? Man, this is fun. Seriously, Renney should choloformed (along with Sather, Dolan, Maloney, Rosen, Trautwig and Micheletti) and thrown on the same boat to China as Jack Bauer.

If Pock's not going to play. Do we move him? Our buddies in Edmonton are looking for puck moving defenseman. Lupul is in doghouse (or as JD would say..."chateau de bow wow)...Do we have a match? If not a cap problem, maybe we can include Marmaluke Malik for rugged Steve Staios?

I could live with Pock for Lupul but the fact that Malik would still be playing is just disturbing. Staois for Malik would be a late Christmas gift.

I don't know if anyone is watching (or watched) the Col-Det game and it was 1-0 for about 50 minutes. Completely entertaining the ENTIRE game. In comparison to the NYR-NJD game where the final was 1-0, the NYR game was a borefest. I would say it ended up being the same result (the final was 3-1; two goals last 5 minutes) and for the majority it was. I honestly believe the Devils are tediously boring. And I know this is a dead horse topic, but it's just so obvious when you watch other games. I know the Devils win and blah blah blah. But if the Rangers played like that all YEAR, I'd only watch the playoffs. In fact, I'd only watch the finals. I don't pay and or sit to watch a team win, I watch for entertainment and for, here's the kicker: HOCKEY. The difference between the two games is like night and day. Unfortunately we're forced to watch at least 8 NJD games. That really has to change.

if you were entertained by that Det.-Col. snoozefest, good luck. the Atl.-Philly game was actually the best of the 3 NBC games.

Chardkerm: Are you talking about the same Tom Renney who has woven Henrik Lundqvist (how did that "Kevin Weekes is my #1" turn out?), Fedor Tyutin, Petr Prucha, Jed Ortmeyer, Ryan Hollweg, Dominic Moore, Jason Ward, Blair Betts, Adam Hall and Thomas Pock into the lineup over the past two years? You must not be, because I don't see you giving him any credit for those moves.

Obviously not all of those players are worthy of regular icetime, but they certainly all qualify as young and/or inexperienced, and yet they somehow got into the lineup regularly despite Renney's apparent - at least according to you - incompetence or bias against playing young guys. I guess someone else was behind those decisions, right?

Chill out, guys -- there's no need to get personal. There are merits to everyone's side of the story.

"Chardkerm: Are you talking about the same Tom Renney who has woven Henrik Lundqvist (how did that "Kevin Weekes is my #1" turn out?), Fedor Tyutin, Petr Prucha, Jed Ortmeyer, Ryan Hollweg, Dominic Moore, Jason Ward, Blair Betts, Adam Hall and Thomas Pock into the lineup over the past two years?"

HL:forced his way into the lineup despite Renney's arrogant roadblock.

Prucha: Only after Rucinsky was injured. And after he proved himself, he's on the 4th line. Care to comment on that?

Tyutin: There was nowhere Renney could hide Tyutin, he was on the team before Renney became coach. And, he played his way onto a defense of washed-up pilons.

Moore: Gone. And appreciated on a young team that will leave the Rangers in the dust.

Hollweg: Hit himself onto the team and was benched last year for taking penalties for overexhuberance while the vets took many more penalties for being lazy (like hooking) which Renney overlooked.

Ortmeyer: On the team before Renney was coach.

Hall, Ward and Betts: You gotta be kidding me?

Pock: Only after he went through at least four levels of hell, which he's still going through when he's benched for the crime of being the best d-man on the ice while the usual suspects keep playing.


It was Renney in his role as Player Development who recommended drafting Dawes, Cally and Dubinskly. He also had a huge role in the reconstruction of the Ranger's scouting staff.

Lurker Kev

Uh while you seem to be on this trend of getting personal as of late hows about reality.

I like Renney for what he does best which is manage player personnel. As a coach he has made a ton of mistakes and been outcoached on most occasions.

You want to give him credit for players in the lineup how about being real:

Prucha has been mismanaged since his first days as a Ranger and if not for injuries might never have gotten recalled last season.

Pock: How many games did he spend in the press box and who was it that sat so Girardi could play? Pock still has not become a regular.

Adam Hall was who the Rangers got in the Moore trade. He was worked his way out of the lineup and is barely hanging on to a spot on the 4th line. After 46 games he has all of 4 goals which is 10 behing his last season totals. The Preds gave up on him and by now his play should explain why.

Ortmeyer earned his PT when Sather was the coach not Renney

Tyutin also got his start when Sather was still coach

Jason Ward has been around as a pro since 1999 so he really doesn't count as a part of the youth moverment.

So when you really look at things then Ryan Hollweg and Dom Moore are the only ones who Renney can claim credit for actually developing them in regulars.

While you want to see credit be given for moves Renney did not make then why not also question how come as a coach he has not been able to get MORE out of those you cited as his developmental projects?

How come of those players you want to cite none have had better second seasons this year? A coach is expected to get the most out of his players so which of these players has improved under Renney this season?

Kev, take 'em on all you want on the subect of hockey and the Rangers -- I myself have commented at length in opposition to those who blame Renney and Jagr for problems the team is having without giving them credit for the good things they do and without looking at others who might be contributing to those problems. If I sometimes question where the comments I oppose come from (and I've come to some alarming conclusions in that respect, particularly in Jagr's case), I try not to dwell on that and counter them solely with hockey arguments -- that is where the reality lies anyway.

I haven't touched a single post that sticks to hockey. I have deleted posts of a personal nature that had no hockey content and I have edited out similar things in comments that otherwise had good hockey content because I don't want the discussion to escalate into flame wars -- there are plenty of issues on the hockey side to debate without getting into all of that, like your take on the young players Renney has introduced and other commenters' counterpoint to that.

I don't personally support one view over the other -- I see elements on both sides that have combined to create inconsistent results that are sometimes bright and promising, both in the short term and the long run, and are sometimes grim and frustrating. My experience is that there are three groups of fans -- those who revel when the team does well but who tend to grow quiet and distracted when things go wrong, those who quietly enjoy the good times but shout out their frustrations when things turn sour, and those who do a little bit of both to neither extreme. Ultimately, the team's performance elicits the varying types of response on this and other sites. Unfortunately, the Rangers have experienced a lot more downs than ups over the past decade.

What I do support is this web site. And I have too much work between it and the print publication to be policing the comments. The ground rules have always been clear -- all opinions are welcome, as long as they are respectful of other commenters and the subject matter at hand. There is plenty of room there to drop the gloves and determine once and for all what exactly is right or wrong with this team, who exactly deserves the credit and/or the blame, and whether Jack Bauer will be the next coach of the Rangers (once he saves the country from all those rogue nukes).

All this is very nice but we won't have hockey much longer anyhow. Did you notice all the empty seats at every venue playing hockey this year. And it's being reported that TV viewership was down 76% since the last All-Star game in2004. I think next year it's supposed to be in Atlanta. Even the Braves can't sell out a playoff game. I hear Winnipeg and Quebec are looking for teams again. Hockey is boring. Unless of course you are on of the new fans that Bettman thinks are going to rule in the near future. He Shot on the faithful so he could expand the game and quite frankly it sucks... Sorry for the language...Z

I agree with some stuff here..Tom did do some things pretty good, but this season is not what it should be..I think its because of JD leaving, but thats just me. If renney gets fired so be it, i think he should, but i dont know anymore , what ever happened to Pat Quinn, he was fired and i havent heard anything about him,, it would be nice if he coached. But what ever the out come is its gonna have to wait next season. But waddya gonna do, hopefully we make the playoffs and get lucky, but i wish the deadline would come already, im waiting like patience on a monument. This whole forsberg situation, its freaking me out, i dont want prucha to go.

Chardkerm and Jess, your arguments just aren't persuasive. I mean, come on - when you say Lundqvist "forced his way into the lineup despite Renney's arrogant roadblock," or that "Hollweg hit himself onto the team," you act like it happened in a vaccuum, with no connection to the current coaching staff. It's just blatantly ignoring the fact that Renney HAS given youth a chance, whether they "forced their way" into a regular spot or not. Besides, isn't that how you're SUPPOSED to get a lineup spot, by earning it? I thought that's what we all wanted, no?

Well, most of us want that, unless you're of the belief that sainted young prospects should be handed the moon no matter how poorly they've played. Case in point is Prucha this season. He's all heart, but many people act like he wasn't given a chance this year, which just simply isn't true. I'd love for him to play well enough to stay on the top two lines, and I still think he can do it in the future, but somehow it never gets mentioned that he played himself off the second line this year on merit. Should he be given another chance to play through his youthful mistakes and get a crack on the top two lines? Absolutely, and this is where I think Renney has mishandled him recently. But to suggest, as many here frequently do, that he hasn't been given a chance to succeed is laughable. Can't we just face the fact that Prucha is having a bad season?

Another guy is Pock. First off, it's way too soon to make a judgment on his career and whether or not his development has been stunted, let alone to claim he's been "put through four levels of hell," in the immortal words of chardkerm. Secondly, he's got potential and talent, but so far he has yet to prove a single thing in his career. Pock has played well at times and poorly at others, just like any other new NHL player. To call him "the best d-man on the ice," again, as chardkerm does, is incredible. It goes a long way towards proving my point that people around here have their favorites and their whipping boys, and nothing that actually happens in games will change those opinions.

One more thing that doesn't fly is this, "Ortmeyer, Tyutin, etc. were on the Rangers before Renney took over, so he can't take any credit for them" rationalization. Yeah, they pre-dated Renney - so what? It doesn't mean Renney HAD to play those guys. He felt comfortable enough giving them important roles and has helped accelerate their development. But you'd never know it, what with all the "Renney is the worst coach - he'd rather play (insert washed up veteran's name here) instead of giving a kid a chance" crap posted in this forum. (To answer your question Jess, I believe Tyutin, Hollweg, Ortmeyer - although it's a limited sample size so far because of the injury - and even Hossa have all progressed this season, while Prucha and Hall have taken steps back.)

None of this is to say Renney is without fault or that he's done a fantastic job as coach. He hasn't. What's equally true is that he's not the imbecile he's often portrayed as around these parts. Much like the way the entire Rangers season has gone, Renney has done some good and some bad. But the posters I've been taking issue with lately fail to see the good at all, and relentlessly hammer away at the negative. Criticism is cool, and there's been a lot of it deserved this year, but too much of it has been over-the-top, meanspirited, petulant, and not really based in reality. Sorry if that's too personal for you Jess. Maybe it hits a little too close to home.


You wrote -
"My experience is that there are three groups of fans -- those who revel when the team does well but who tend to grow quiet and distracted when things go wrong, those who quietly enjoy the good times but shout out their frustrations when things turn sour, and those who do a little bit of both to neither extreme."

I would counter that argument as follows. I see the 3 types of fans as...

1) those who eat up the propaganda dispensed by CVC, MSG, and the broadcast crew. That slanted view is the only hockey information that they receive, so they are in their own little "what, me worry?" world. All is rosy in Ranger land, and like Nero they fiddle while Rome burns.

2) those who are growing uncomfortable with the continued failures of Sather, Maloney and Renney, but have not yet begun to raise their voices in protest. They feel that they are loyal Ranger fans, and sooner or later things will turn around. Maybe if the team misses the playoffs again, they'll get vocal. I think the majority of Ranger fans fall into this category.

3) those like myself, who have lived and died with the Rangers for 35 years, who see through the lies and ineptitude surrounding this once-beloved franchise, see the greedy and weak people holding the team hostage, see the continued (8 years) lack of improvement in all areas, and decide that they aren't going to take it anymore.

You're beginning to see more of the TYPE 3 fans on this blog, and speaking out all over. Maybe it's a shock to the TYPE 1 and TYPE 2 fans, but we've been here all along... it just takes a lot to get us riled up.

As one of the cornerstone franchises in the NHL, the Rangers are truly playing with fire if they alienate their true fans. They had better clean up their act soon or very possibly see the demise of the NHL. After all, Bettman has the league half the way there already.

Dubi -

I totally disagree with your comments on Prucha.

Prucha had 16 PPG out of his 30 goals last season. That qualifies him as a PP specialist.

This season, Jagr complains to Renney that he doesn't like Prucha's north-south game, so Renney listens to his master and drops Prucha from the first PP unit (which gets 90% of powerplay time).

Prucha still has 10 goals (3 PPG), playing mainly on the 4th line. In fact he's right behind the big 4 among forwards - Cullen just jumped past him by 1 point with lots more playing time.

I don't think you can say Prucha's having a bad season at all. What you CAN say is that Jagr and Renney pulled the rug out from under him.

Give him back the PP time he had last year, and you'd see his goal total right around the same mark, which wouldn't be bad at all.

Well said Baron! Put me in Type 3. The Rangers will NEVER win the Cup with El Presidente Cigaro and Knicksfan Moneybags Jr. running (ruining) this team!

Jagr doesn't like Prucha's game? Did I miss something? Prucha is off the first unit because Shanny is there. I'd characterize Shanny as North-South. Sorry, I don't by the Jagr as Puppet-Master theory. I agree with Kev on almost all counts. Bottom line is that Renney is paid to coach. He will make decisions that he feels are best for the team (which includes benching J. Ward, whom people on here have claimed is one of Jagr's pets) because his job depends on it. He may listen to Jags, but he knows that his job depends on winning and not making Jagr happy. Sure, the two might be intertwined, but there is no way anyone can claim that Renney doesn't think he is doing the right thing. Prucha had a crappy start to the season, was dropped from the 2nd line as he struggled (he ssemed to be choking his stick, missing shots that he easily made last season, and blowing offensive chances). He looks like he has found his game, and now is the time for Renney to give him the 2nd line spot. That's where I feel Renney is incorrect. But Jagr being the reason for Prucha's lack of icetime is ridiculous.

"I agree with Kev on almost all counts. Bottom line is that Renney is paid to coach. He will make decisions that he feels are best for the team..."

And he's doing a fine job so far. Whether Renney is another Sather puppet or making his decisions on his own, he's been a failure since the Olympic break. Before that, Jagr and HL carried the team. And before that, he was run out of Vancouver. His decisions are poor, yet he keeps making the same mistakes and to make matters worse, he's routinely outcoached. Quite a resume to endorse, guys.

Lurker Lev:
If Prucha has has played himself off the second line, please tell me what Jason Ward did to play himself onto the first line or Betts and Hossa onto the second line?

As for Prucha, his production is down because he is not getting the power play time this year and because of the centers he has been playing with. I believe that Prucha should be put back on the 1st PP unit in place of Nylander - Jagr is the QB of the PP anyway so might as well move Nylander to create a viable 2nd unit. Also, with Prucha, Jagr will have 2 right handed shots to pass the puck to for one timers - Shanahan can go higher in the zone to create better passing lane and Prucha can be down low for slam dunks and rebounds. I would love it if this go a try.

Jess: "It was Renney in his role as Player Development who recommended drafting Dawes, Cally and Dubinskly. He also had a huge role in the reconstruction of the Ranger's scouting staff."

Jess, he certainly isn't giving his "children" a chance to show what they can do with the big team, esp. considering that we have six 4th liners out there every night, contributing nothing to offense. Maybe it's because he's Sather's puppet or maybe he's just in fear of losing his job and is making ill-informed decisions because of that.

I'm a TYPE 3 definitely!! And proud of it!

Chadkerm- I never said I endorsed Renney. I actually think he is making the wrong decisions. I was merelyt saying that I don't think he is a puppet of Jagr, which is a myth generated by fans who don't like Jagr. It was a ridiculous statement by whoever claimed that Jagr told Renney that he didn't like Prucha's North-South game and that was why he wasn't on the first Power Play (it is well established that it was because of Shanny). I was merely saying that Renney ultimately is responsible for lineup decisions, not Jagr, and even if he makes the wrong decisions, it is because he is doing what he thinks will create wins. I'd like his job to be to develop a home grown team, but I think the realities of his job are that he is under tremendous pressure to win now. We would all love to see more youth in the lineup. Renney obviously feels that isn't what is needed. I think he's wrong, but I don't think he is doing it because of Jagr or because of favoritism.

Brian: I never said anything that indicates I endorse J. Ward for the first line or Betts/Hossa for the second line. I simply said Prucha played himself off the second line. One has nothing to do with the other.

BTW, I stand by my statement about Prucha 100%. He was pretty terrible early in the season when he was getting big minutes. Does this mean I don't think he should get another crack at top line time, or that he shouldn't get more PP time? Absolutely not, and I said so in my last post. But I'm trying to deal with reality here, not some fantasy endorsed by others that Petr Prucha has been completely shafted for his entire Ranger career.


I could not agree with you more.

I could write a litany about Bettman's failings which, by the way, continue a tradition that Clarence Campbell firmly implanted in the zyche of the NHL owners.

It continued via his succesors, John Ziegler, Gil Stein and since 1993, one Gary Bettman.

Suffice to say that the National Hockey League has still to adopt a mantra that's been a watchword in the National Football League since the days of Bert Bell (ostensibly it's first true, no-figurehead chief executive).

In a nutshell it was this: Rivals on the field; partners off the field.

That's a mindset but but it's grounded in reality. Witness little Green Bay being wildly successful financially and reasonably competitive artistically and compare them with the plight of the Pittsburgh Penguins (or Kansas City Scouts, or Colorado Rockies, or Cleveleand Barons, or Winnepeg Jets, or Quebec Nordiques or Hartford Whalers).

As far as Versus goes, their mediocre productions aside, how many people can actually are able to receive their games (buried on an extra-cost digital tier) --ESPN was analog and was/is "standard equipment" on basic cable (analog) packages.

And what kind of over-the-air "national contract" is that which guarantees the league no, (nada/nix/zero/zip), revenue?

Consider the following:

Several years ago, NFL Commissioner Peter Rozelle (Bell's successor), realized that the league's showcase franchise, the New York Giants were in deep trouble (almost two consecutive decades franging from being a laughing stock to an embarrassing failure), alienating its fan base. Some of whom organized the famous "15 Years of Lousy Football, We've Had Enough!" campaign.

Among other eye-catching stunts it featured ticket-burning parties in Meadowlands' parking lots and got an awful lot of media play.

Rozelle stepped in, forced/twisted arms/threatened - in other words did what he had to do to force two feuding, recalicitrant owners (Well Mara and his nephew Tim) to start running a professional operation.

To make a long story short Rozelle made it happen.

Rozelle, whatever his other faults, was a man who applied common sense, wisdom, and ingenuity, was proactive when the situation unarguably demanded it. Very much in the spirit of his predecessor, Bell (who got the owenrs thinking collectively and thus set the stage for the first of the NFL's national, wildly lucrative TV contracts).

Rozelle, cut from the same cloth did not hesitate to take the initiative when the situation called for it.

In contrast, the NHL is "headed" by the likes of Bettman (unquestionably in the Ziegler tradition), whose latest promotional project is designer uniforms.

Any wonder why the NHL is relegated to a network that preceded its All-Star telecast with an ad for (no kidding), artificial worms ("Operators are standing by right now!)?

Lurker Kev: My earlier post was not as clear as it should have been - it really is a critism of Renney (not you) which was not directly mentioned. I just think with the limited time Prucha got (I do disagree with your view that he got big minutes) and playing with Cullen who is not a #2 center, and the lack of PP time, his production has been grossly affected. To further this point, last year people passed the puck to Prucha - now all the passes go to Shanahan. His production, or lack thereof, has more to do with how he has been used and who he plays with. But we can agree to disagree.

As for Ward, Betts, and Hossa, I was just trying to point out that I think Renney makes decisions regardless of merit for just about everyone on the team - yet somehow Prucha is singled out and gets demoted for reasons that I think are beyond his control.

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