DON’T GET ME STARTED notes that it’s been quite some time since I negatively mentioned NHL Commish Gary Bettman.

Can you imagine, Bettman is approaching 25 years as the NHL Commissioner.  I remember that I gave him 3 years considering that he came from basketball.  So what has he accomplished?  As far as I’m concerned – not too much.  It’s no surprise that whenever he’s introduced at games or the draft, he gets booed.

My other concern is – what has he learned.  First his experiment to expand the league by putting several teams in the south is met with non-sold out houses.  True hockey fans know that the league was in great shape when it had 6 teams in the league……and again when it had about a dozen teams that included Buffalo.  Bettman wasn’t in the NHL at those times. But he really expanded the NHL

So, you might ask, what gets my ire up?   I’ve mentioned it before and I feel that the NHL policies lead to slowly eliminating big rivalries.  Here’s my complaint.  In the NHLs quest for teams to face each other, they established (this season) that every team will play at least 2 games against each other – home and away. 

Fewer games are being played between division rivals.  Here’s an example.  It wasn’t long ago that Buffalo and Toronto would split 8 games.  The border crossing when these teams would play was at its busiest.  Fans of both teams would travel the 90 miles between them – that is if they could get a ticket.

So what happens this season?  The mighty NHL scheduled 5 games between the teams – 5.  They couldn’t even come up with splitting 6 games.  To further get the dander up.  Here it is the middle of January.  There’s well over 2 more months to go in the season and Toronto and Buffalo will not face each other for well over 2 months.  That’s a disgrace.

The joy in baseball is that the Yankees and the Red Sox face each other at least 19 times in the baseball season.  Oh, you say they play 162 games.  OK split that up.  Say they play 81 games and that means they would play each other 9 or 10 times – double what the NHL does with its schedule.  Baseball doesn’t insist on teams playing every MLB team twice.  They have some interleague pay but not like the NHL.

So that’s my gripe.  We won’t be seeing Toronto again until April if both teams make the playoffs.  The way things stand Buffalo won’t play Toronto again until next season.

5 games between rivals is a joke that owners should address by going back to the future and keep rivalries going by playing more division games.  I could care less about Winnipeg wanting to see some of the big stars from the east.  Let them establish rivalries against those western teams that also have some big stars.

Bring back rivalries on Don’t Get Me Started.

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