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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

Bettman and the Oilers

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03-23-2010, 08:35 PM
  #1
Crazy_Ike
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Bettman and the Oilers

Fourier, this one's for you. I only wish there was more detail. God knows we've been talking about this for a long, long time here.

Having been on this board for five years I've seen sooooo many threads where the role of Bettman in the Oilers crisis in the late '90s was questioned. Since all media reports of the time were more concerned with Cal Nichols, Les Alexander, and Peter Pocklington, there wasn't much analysis as to the role of the NHL's management during the ordeal.

Well, I decided to ask Cal Nichols directly. The question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy Ike
(...) What we would like to know is the role Gary Bettman was playing during the ongoing crisis. It is difficult to get a clear picture of who was doing what from media reports at the time. There is a question whether or not Bettman was an important part of helping to save the Oilers, or if he was in fact more in favor of allowing the team to move to Houston.

So the question I would like to pose is simply, was Mr. Bettman a integral or key part in the effort to keep the Oilers in Edmonton, and if it's possible to say, how exactly he was or wasn't?
To my eternal gratitude he took time to answer. Here is Cal Nichols' response:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal Nichols
Thank you for your interest in the Oilers and in the business side of hockey. With regards to your question, I have a certain obligation of confidentiality with regards to some of the events that occurred in 1998. You can appreciate there was a lot of detail surrounding the whole process. However, to get to your specific question, I can say without any hesitation that Gary Bettman provided us with a tremendous amount of help in ultimately pulling the deal together to help us keep the Oilers and the NHL in Edmonton for the foreseeable future.
Cal Nichols is the hero of Edmonton, the man who rightfully can claim to be most responsible for saving the team. One cannot say enough good things about him. However, as far as I am concerned this should put to rest any question as to whether or not Gary Bettman was integral to helping save the team.

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03-23-2010, 08:41 PM
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A canned response dripping with diplomacy. That's some intrepid investigative reporting.

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Old
03-23-2010, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_Ike View Post
Fourier, this one's for you. I only wish there was more detail. God knows we've been talking about this for a long, long time here.

Having been on this board for five years I've seen sooooo many threads where the role of Bettman in the Oilers crisis in the late '90s was questioned. Since all media reports of the time were more concerned with Cal Nichols, Les Alexander, and Peter Pocklington, there wasn't much analysis as to the role of the NHL's management during the ordeal.

Well, I decided to ask Cal Nichols directly. The question:



To my eternal gratitude he took time to answer. Here is Cal Nichols' response:



Cal Nichols is the hero of Edmonton, the man who rightfully can claim to be most responsible for saving the team. One cannot say enough good things about him. However, as far as I am concerned this should put to rest any question as to whether or not Gary Bettman was integral to helping save the team.
Like he would say no and when does good ole Cal show up so we can ask him other questions he must have a ton of great info we could settle many disputes here with.

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03-23-2010, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Bugg View Post
A canned response dripping with diplomacy. That's some intrepid investigative reporting.
Is Cal Nichols even a part of the league anymore? Why would he need to be diplomatic? He can say whatever he wants about the nhl.

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03-23-2010, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AndreaBargnani View Post
Is Cal Nichols even a part of the league anymore? Why would he need to be diplomatic? He can say whatever he wants about the nhl.
It looks fishy at best why would he say anything at all now?

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03-23-2010, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreaBargnani View Post
Is Cal Nichols even a part of the league anymore? Why would he need to be diplomatic? He can say whatever he wants about the nhl.
Didn't Katz say he was going to keep him involved in some way? I have found out that role he would play but it was thrown out there at one time.

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Old
03-24-2010, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bbud View Post
It looks fishy at best why would he say anything at all now?
The OP said he asked him. Cal Nichols was just responding to a hockey fans email. Its not like he came out and said this in the paper.

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03-25-2010, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_Ike View Post
Fourier, this one's for you. I only wish there was more detail. God knows we've been talking about this for a long, long time here.

Having been on this board for five years I've seen sooooo many threads where the role of Bettman in the Oilers crisis in the late '90s was questioned. Since all media reports of the time were more concerned with Cal Nichols, Les Alexander, and Peter Pocklington, there wasn't much analysis as to the role of the NHL's management during the ordeal.

Well, I decided to ask Cal Nichols directly. The question:



To my eternal gratitude he took time to answer. Here is Cal Nichols' response:



Cal Nichols is the hero of Edmonton, the man who rightfully can claim to be most responsible for saving the team. One cannot say enough good things about him. However, as far as I am concerned this should put to rest any question as to whether or not Gary Bettman was integral to helping save the team.
Hilarious. Even given your own quotes that can never be verified...Nichols said Bettman "helped" with something. was he the one that made it happen? No. Was he the one that caused it to happen? No.
I'm not saying Gary didn't do his job when it comes to the Oilers issue at that time....but he certainly wasn't the saviour.

Too funny...can't believe a total thread was made about this.....

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03-25-2010, 06:13 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreaBargnani View Post
Is Cal Nichols even a part of the league anymore? Why would he need to be diplomatic? He can say whatever he wants about the nhl.
Any dealings he would have had then that had confidentiality attached to them (like any negotiations, as we just saw with Phoenix) he would still be legally expected to maintain.

I'm not sure if he's still on the BOG or not.

It was certainly refreshing to get it right from the horse's mouth (figuratively speaking) that Bettman played a key role in saving the Oilers, though. How can anyone even try to argue against Cal Nichols? No one knows better.

It's put to rest and I will simply chuckle at anyone who believes otherwise.


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03-25-2010, 06:34 AM
  #10
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Ike,

I appreciate you taking the time to go to the source. For the record, I have never denied that Bettman played a positive, even significant role in facilitating the actual transaction that led to the EIG's purchase of the Oilers. This is very well known in Edmonton, even if many want to downplay what he did. If you go back and look through our previous discussions this will be clear. The only thing I ever asked you to justify in this regard was the claim that Bettman specifically recruited people for the EIG. (He may have done so, but I have never seen any specific evidence in this regard).

I will also say that Bettman's and the League's actions following the purchase made a big difference in allowing the Oliers to stay in Edmonton. But my point from our previous discussion still remains uncontested. In my opinion, in the decade prior to the final sale, the League and Bettman both acted in ways that damaged their credibility in Edmonton even to this day, and in ways that could well have contributed to the demise of the Oilers. To put it more succinctly, if you help start the fire, you cannot expect to get that much praise when you help put it out.


Here is one perspective on the run-up to the deal. Like everything in this tangled tail, it has to be taken as a part of the whole:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sport...197/story.html


Last edited by Fourier: 03-25-2010 at 10:52 AM.
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Old
03-25-2010, 08:46 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourier View Post
I appreciate you taking the time to go to the source. For the record, I have never denied that Bettman played a positive, even significant role in facilitating the actual transaction that led to the EIG's purchase of the Oilers. This is very well known in Edmonton, even if many want to downplay what he did. If you go back and look through our previous discussions this will be clear.
Yes, it is. In the past you have always treated the topic seriously and fairly and discussed it in a mature fashion, rather than playing message board games (most of us here outgrew that ages ago) or just posting raw emotion.

Quote:
The only thing I ever asked you to justify in this regard was the claim that Bettman specifically recruited people for the EIG. (He may have done so, but I have never seen any specific evidence in this regard).
I think it would be better put that Bettman supplied what some prospective members of the EIG needed to come on board.

Quote:
In my opinion, in the decade prior to the final sale, the League and Bettman both acted in ways that damaged their credibility in Edmonton even to this day, and in ways that could well have contributed to the demise of the Oilers. To put it more succinctly, if you help start the fire, you cannot expect to get that much praise when you help put it out.
This can only be answered in the context of what (specifically) you would have had him do during that period.

In my opinion, from what you said before, you seem to have wanted him to do something he almost certainly couldn't (or even shouldn't) do. In a perfect world, being a bad owner should make you removable, but that's not the way things are set up. Until he was finally out, the league was stuck with Pocklington and had to make the best of it.

Can you imagine what might be different if the league had more power to force owners to do things?

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Old
03-26-2010, 07:41 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_Ike View Post
I think it would be better put that Bettman supplied what some prospective members of the EIG needed to come on board.
So now he didn't work the phones? Instead he told already lined up potential investors about the CBA that was coming 7 years down the road right? The one they waited 7 years to get then sold 2 years into it?

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03-26-2010, 01:49 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_Ike View Post
Any dealings he would have had then that had confidentiality attached to them (like any negotiations, as we just saw with Phoenix) he would still be legally expected to maintain.

I'm not sure if he's still on the BOG or not.

It was certainly refreshing to get it right from the horse's mouth (figuratively speaking) that Bettman played a key role in saving the Oilers, though. How can anyone even try to argue against Cal Nichols? No one knows better.

It's put to rest and I will simply chuckle at anyone who believes otherwise.

Gb didnt do much in fact fans i knew in Edmonton [ family who are still there btw] say anything but about Betman it was widely reported he was on record as supporting a move unless someone with money showed up to keep the OIL in town , did he assist once a group came together -sure but he had little to do with them .
Who did he know in Edmonton ?
If he knew them why did it go that far before he stepped in?
same old GB following the foul smelling end of the horse and hoping the teflon of being boss works.

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