A Detroit writer claims that the NHL misses the mark with suspension of Red Wings' Justin Abdelkader and even speculates about a deeper conspiracy to promote Disney’s team at the expense of Detroit:
The quacks from Southern California are getting some help here from the league office. My conspiracy side says the league would love a team such as the Ducks, from the second-largest media market in America, to have a deep run in the playoffs.
The NHL's mindless cronies loved watching the Los Angeles Kings win it last year. The Red Wings — like most teams from Detroit — get no national media love or attention from the NHL. Bettman is hooked on the big markets. He thinks his sport should be on the same level as the NFL and Major League Baseball in the U.S. He is so wrong.
Those of us in NHL markets that rarely are in the spotlight have to chuckle at the absurdity of these claims. The Red Wings get no national media love or attention from the NHL? Really? A few years ago, you couldn’t turn in to a national NHL telecast and not find some combination of the Red Wings, the Rangers, the Blackhawks, or the Bruins playing. Casual fans could have been forgiven for thinking that the four American teams that made up the Original Six were the NHL.
At Awful Announcing, Dave Rogers doesn’t show much pity for the Detroit Red Wings writer who urges you to feel sorry for his team:
Bill Simonson, a Detroit Red Wings writer for MLive.com, is begging for you to feel sorry for his club. The Red Wings, a team the NHL has almost entirely based their future realignment around, is suddenly the overlooked squad in the league. The same team that will play in its second Winter Classic on New Year's Day 2014 before other noteworthy squads even play their first. The same team that has one of its own in Brendan Shanahan ruling over NHL discipline. The same team that has won the Stanley Cup 11 times is, according to Simonson, a team without national media love or attention from the NHL.
Simonson recently penned this article explaining why he thinks Justin Abdelkader's recent two-game suspension is unfair. Granted, we use the term "article" pretty loosely here. If you scan through his rant, you'll probably find yourself laughing at his delusions. We're not here to defend the NHL discipline system (it stinks), but we will point out a mockery of the written word when we see one.
Simonson claims that there is a conspiracy to push Anaheim deep into the playoffs because they reside in the NHL's second-largest media market. Yes, the NHL wants Anaheim, the team with some of the lowest attendance in the league (15,887 a game, 25th in the NHL) and one of the lowest evaluations by Forbes (21 of 30) to make it deeper than Hockeytown and their massive attendance (20,066 a game, 3rd in the NHL) and massive worth (6th in the NHL according to Forbes). It makes perfect sense that the NHL would love for Anaheim to make it deep into the playoffs after the massive ratings bomb they laid back in 2007 when they took home the Cup.
Perhaps the biggest offense from Simonson in an article loaded with incorrect and ignorant comments is the way he treats his own fans. He claims Detroit fans can't name five stars in the league that aren't on Detroit's roster. You might as well just call them morons if you think a hockey fan can't name any other players in the NHL.
And Simonson’s reaction to being critiqued for his piece is about what you would expect, insulting those who questions his claims without making real arguments.
However, I will give Simonson credit for two points in his article that ring true:
Bettman is by far the worst leader of a sports league to ever walk this earth. He let the league expand when it it was stupid to expand. The NHL has a blind arrogance from the league office that makes you think they have no idea what they’re doing.
Hard to refute that opinion of the commish or the general ineptitude of the management of the NHL.
By the way, hockey players have been my favorite athletes to interview over the years. They are real, honest and down to earth, for the most part. What I have found is that those who play the sport, live it.
Another nugget of wisdom. Too bad the main points of the piece were so far off base.