Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mr. NHL Fixer-Upper

Gary Bettman is booed at the 2007 NHL entry level draftGary Bettman: Mr. NHL Fixer-Upper. Do you trust this man?
Gary Bettman worked for the NBA from 1981 until he became the commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL) on February 1, 1993. During his twelve years in the NBA Bettman rose to third in command of the NBA, spending many years as the league's general counsel and senior vice president. He is credited with bringing the NBA's model of how to run a league to the "new" NHL. Does that apply to the fixing of playoff games?

Many share the feelings of Section 335, who said:
I have posted here before that the Refs have always helped Pittsburgh. I have not said they lack talent. I have said that they get extra power plays and get away with flagrant fouls. The Rangers could have beaten them with fair and honest refs. The Red Wings beat them because they were so much better that a few extra power plays were not enough (although they lost a game because of them).

The Delaney submission to Federal Court on how the NBA uses Refs to improve TV ratings and help teams it wants to have win because it is good for the league says exactly what I and others have always thought. The games are fixed. I believe that the NHL is no better.
NY Post: Foul Play, NBA Ref blows the whistle, games riggedThe NY Post's front page says it all about the way, that many have suspected, the NBA has worked for years.

NY Post:
DIRTY REF CALLS PLAYOFFS BIG RIG -- Top NBA executives rigged playoff series to pack arenas and pump up TV ratings by ordering officials to shamelessly make calls that benefited favored teams, disgraced ex-ref Tim Donaghy charged in bombshell court papers today.

"Tim gave information on how top executives of the NBA sought to manipulate games using referees to boost ticket sales and television ratings," lawyer John Lauro wrote in a letter to Brooklyn federal Judge Carol Bagley Amon, detailing how his client has cooperated with feds since being busted last year.

MORE: Letter From Donaghy's Lawyer (PDF)

Donaghy faces up to three years in federal prison when he is sentenced on July 14. He is detailing how league execs used referees to manipulate games, and is hoping his cooperation will get him off with just probation.

"Tim explained that league officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so hurt ticket sales and television ratings," Lauro wrote...

Tim Donaghy - crooked NBA refTim Donaghy

Delaney: NBA, feds have not contacted me about claim -- NBA referee Bob Delaney, one of three referees to work Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals, told Bob Ley in an interview for ESPN's "Outside The Lines First Report" that he has never been contacted by NBA or federal investigators concerning allegations by former referee Tim Donaghy that two referees in that game intended to assure that series went seven games...

LA Times:
Tim Donaghy's claim reopens an old wound for Sacramento Kings fans -- "We was robbed"

Huffington Post:
Tim Donaghy, Disgraced Former NBA Referee, Claims Officials Fixed Playoff Series
Curt Shilling: Every SINGLE play up and down the floor has MULTIPLE fouls being committedCurt Shilling [Boston Red Sox pitcher] / 38 Pitches blog:
. . . NBA Finals -- Ok, so I get some ridiculously good tickets for Game 2 of the NBA Finals last night. This was the 2nd chance to see the Celts up close. A few observations...

Every SINGLE play up and down the floor has MULTIPLE fouls being committed by multiple players. These guys are in close, every play. They are beating the crap out of each other, and the refs see it. That makes me think that the game is called and paced exactly how the refs want it to be. I wondered aloud, a few times, how in the hell calls weren’t being made against the Celts on a ton of plays in the paint where there was some serious pugilism being committed. There were a ton of ‘non-calls’ in my incredibly amateur opinion...
Good analysis Curt. I think we can now guess the reason why there were a "ton of 'non-calls'." You were prescient. Pure and simple, the NBA refs decide the outcome of games. As you said: "the game is called and paced exactly how the refs want it to be." The Celtics-Lakers Game 2 was played on Sunday, June 8th. The recent Donaghy allegations story broke on Tuesday, June 10th.

Is the NHL refereeing that much different from the NBA?

If an NBA game can be described as "serious pugilism," then an NHL game is like cage fighting.

David Stern: NBA officials get 90% of the calls correctNBA Commissioner David Stern tries to throw water on the Donaghy game fixing brush fire, but it might have been just more gasoline.

He said that NBA officials just get 90% of the calls correct.

Take that "correct call" percentage to baseball and the game would collapse.

It can be argued that in the NHL the the impact of a bad call (or biased call) is much more serious than in baseball or basketball. Bad calls lead to power plays, which directly decide the outcome of games.

AP / Courier-Post:
Stern: NBA referees don't manipulate games -- [Stern] said referees get about 90 percent of the calls right -- and none of the ones that are missed are done for any illegal reason...
David Stern Press Conference Transcript --
... the subject of officiating. It's something that we decided five years ago that we would track literally every call in order to help develop our officials and make them better, and they really effectively are the most measured and metricized group of employees in the world.

That said, they get about 90 percent or so of the calls correct...
NY Times:
Stern Unconcerned About F.B.I. Inquiries of Bavetta -- Commissioner David Stern restated his unwavering support for his referees on Thursday and said he was not concerned that at least one referee, Dick Bavetta, had been the subject of inquiries by federal agents...

Parting shots.

Ranger Pundit / June 29, 2007:
Salary Cap Shenanigans -- "It seems very clear that Bettman's financial forecasting was wrong. The 2004-05 [lockout] season did not have to be sacrificed like it was by Mr. Bettman."
The 2008-09 NHL salary cap is projected to be $56.3 million. It was $39 million for the 2005-06 season. It has been increasing at a 13% annual rate. No teams have filed for bankruptcy.
The Gary Bettman Song

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  • Section 335 said...

    The Lakers are down 3-2 going back to Boston. An honestly Ref'd series and they are up 3-2. Refs determine championships. How differently do you, as an athlete, approach a game six up 3-2 instead of down 2-3? The answer is very differently.

    Same with the Rangers-Pittsburgh series. Allow the Rangers to win one in Pittsburgh and the series is very differently played.

    I hear the Sather actually filed a protest with the NHL about the Refs in the Pittsburgh series. I would love to read what it said.

  • The Dark Ranger said...

    Hey Pundit,...of course you'll have to reference:

    for an unbiased objective view of our dear commissioner. hope your summer brings us something to talk about come July 1.

    New signing today.>>>we'll see how it goes.


  • jb said...

    section 335,
    A powerplay here an uncalled powerplay there the tipping point for an NHL game is so clearly in the hands of the refs.The smoke at the NBA has turned into raging a fire and Stern pretends nothing is wrong. Bettman follows his godfather Stern model of stonewalling about the integrity of the game.

    Maybe the signing of Andreas Jamtin will get the Pundit excited? I think too much Bettman talk makes him ill.

  • Down by the Seaside said...

    Hey Pundit, with Bettman and Dolan fighting, how do you route for either guy? Kind of like when George HW Bush was running against Mike Dukakis.

    The evil of 2 lessers!