After an NHL All-Star Game that garnered more publicity over most Americans not knowing who or what the Versus channel is (am I the only person who’d hoped for a 24-7 mix of Baluyut family programming?), Chris at Goonblog doesn’t mince words in accusing Gary Bettman (above) of “systematically ruining the Greatest Game On Earth.” Damning stuff, as I was under the impression he was fucking with hockey, too.

Goals are down almost two goals from last season. Listen, I don™t want to see a 6-5 shootout every night. I like a hard fought game. The boys have figured out how to play in the new rules, and coaches have learned to coach in the new rules. It wouldn™t be a bad thing if there were more up and down hard hitting 2-1 games out there. You know, Old Time Hockey. YGTBSMT says there is a correlation between the drop in attendance, and the 1.6 less goals per game than last year. I don™t see it that way. Look, the honeymoon is over. People came back in droves last year because they missed the game. I think they are staying away in droves this year because the new NHL as it turns out isn™t all that interesting. People would rather have the ability to switch channels during a 7-6 parade to the penalty box new NHL game as opposed to paying a hundo for a decent seat, $25.00 to park, and whatever else to eat and drink.

The other issue in the NHL the YGTBSMT is the rise in head shots, and hard checks in open ice. So, let me get this straight. Guys aren™t allowed to hold anyone up coming out of the zone anymore, and there is virtually no hitting along the boards in the No Hitting League. So when guys get a head of steam coming out with their heads down, or looking back for a pass they get creamed by hard hitting defensemen there is an outcry against this sort of behavior? This is a violent game played by violent men correct? What did they think was going to happen when they took the physical slow up style out? Guys getting creamed never learned to play with their heads up. Ask Eric Lindros. He never had to learn to play with his head up because he was always so much bigger than everyone else. The kids playing now have played the North American style for a long time. To change to a more European style with the speed and less stick fouls is a big adjustment to a lot of these guys. I think the big hitters in the league like Dion Phaneuf should be allowed to play their game as much as the next guy. Hey, keep your head up.

In homage to Chris’ trenchant analysis, here’s some stock footage of P.J. Stock :

Popjocks’ Sean Leahy calls the above sign, “The Best Fan Request Ever”. Who knew Sidney Wicks had so many young fans in Pittsburgh?