Gary Bettman cares not about you or me beyond our ability to keep spending our money on his business.
This website was not created onto itself because I felt like people needed to read my words. This website was launched on the same night as we published our first issue of the game day fan-produced Blues program named St. Louis Game Time. The paper was the focus, the website was a place for those readers to have to go to talk back to the paper, read old articles and connect with one another. The website, of course, grew into something much different.
Now, some nearly seven years later I find myself staring down the barrel of a Kinkos-level commercial copier sitting in my basement and its monthly bill as well as the desire of our internet overlords for us to produce plentiful, interesting, SEO-optimized content on a more than daily basis during an offseason stretch that includes such fascinating Blues news as "Jason Arnott still not doing nothing," and all I can think about is Gary Bettman and his partner in crime Donald Fehr.
I'm no Chicken Little. I don't believe bullshit negotiating tactics and I don't freak out when the NHL produces an initial offer that every semi-sane person in the world can recognize as "aim high on your first offer" and the NHLPA then comes back with their "we gonna change the game, bitch" counteroffer.
Frankly, I'm not that interested in Bettman and Fehr's contest of who's got the biggest dick (though the thought of that reminds me of the late Ryan Dunne's remark that his looked like a button wearing a fur coat), but I also don't believe that either of these guys expected their first offers to be considered serious. They're both lawyers, or liars, or both, and they're being paid to negotiate. If they came together like two frat boys dividing up a late night pizza and got it done in two seconds, both sides would assumed they got screwed.
And whether Bettman plans to lock the players out on September 15th or Fehr believes they can start the season under the old agreement and keep working is all irrelevant. As I said, I don't freak out about these things. I truly believe that both sides already know what the final agreement will look like when they're done talking and chest-puffing and not meeting regularly.
Then again, I never thought they'd be dumb enough to take an entire season, crap it into their own hands and then whip it against the wall of their own living room like a monkey at a zoo. But they did that.
So there are times when I sit in my crappy basement office and stare at that Kinkos copier and think about the bills that are due for it in September and October and November and December and I wonder what kind of garbage I'll have to churn out for this website during those months if no one is playing and every other two-bit hockey website is grinding up the same NHL/NHLPA negotiations for people to read about.... and I want to kill Game Time.
I want to kill Game Time before it becomes a thing I hate. I want to kill it before it becomes a shell of what I'd hoped it could be. I'd rather see it die - rather kill it myself - than let it be slowly strangled by the intermingled hands of two overpaid professional negotiators like Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman.
You're not just negotiating for your respective parties, you dicks. You're screwing with your fan base. We have already suffered enough at the hands of our favorite sport, and most of us came back full force. This time, though, I suspect many of us won't be so forgiving.
This is our sport more than it is yours. And this is my baby more than it is a pawn in your game. Try me.