We're not particularly big on conspiracy theories, but the timing of the announcement from MLSE that Brian Burke was going to be pushed aside, for his own protege as it turned, got us to thinking and looking at time lines, personal connections and maybe a grudge or two for good measure.
The Breaking News out of Toronto on Wednesday, left this Gary Bettman Welcome back to Hockey mea culpa I'm sorry, oh so sorry, address, more or less the kind of stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor of television stations everywhere (well back in the day where actual cutting took place we guess, now it's more a case of delete, delete, delete).
Anyways, while the Commish was busy thanking the fans for their patience and all the assorted participants in our last four months of angst (we particularly found amusing the term "those players that made it clear that they would rather be on the ice rather than negotiating...") most of the media up in Canada (not to mention the world of twitter which just plain blew up for a few hours) where the game actually for some reason still resonates with a sport loving public, were already past his speech, instead weighing in on the latest of theatre from the PT Barnum of hockey clubs, the Maple Leafs.
Now, we're not privy to how the negotiations went over the course of the last four months, but the owners of a cashbox such as MLSE surely were none too happy that at the end of the day, they were out some four months of box office receipts, television revenue and oh yeah fan goodwill and all of that.
Not to mention that perhaps the new era of NHL hockey once again will see the successful end up subsidizing the weak, incompetent and/or Phoenix.
When you look at the other sports leagues around there, your baseball, basketball and that Holy Grail of all that is successful the NFL, you rarely if ever have the member clubs usurping the Commissioners moments of sunshine moments.
Not so the NHL, where revenge is best served as soon as you can find a microphone it seems.
So, maybe the timing was just a little bit of payback to Gary Bettman, knowing that he's friends with Brian Burke, (who of course spent a fair bit of his time as Director of Justice for the league) and perhaps is indicative that not all of the team players in the boardroom at NHL central are particularly impressed with Le Chef...