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Pacioretty fallout: Air Canada threatens to pull sponsorships over NHL headshot problem

Mar 9, 2011, 10:19 PM EDT

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

In the wake of the decision by the NHL not to fine or suspend Bruins captain Zdeno Chara for his hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, a hit that has left Pacioretty with a broken neck and a severe concussion, a lot of the discussion that has surrounded the situation has centered on the NHL’s willingness to let things go so long as it’s a “hockey play.”

Matt Cooke‘s hit on Marc Savard went unpunished because it was a “hockey play” last year, before Rule 48 came about anyhow, and now Chara’s brutal hit on Pacioretty falls under the same header whether fans like it or not. The NHL’s lack of action has gotten the attention of one of the NHL’s largest sponsors and they are not pleased at all.

Air Canada’s director of marketing and communications Denis Vandal has written the NHL and the governors of all six Canadian teams to tell them they are not pleased with the league’s actions in the wake of the Pacioretty incident and that if things don’t change with the NHL, they’ll withdraw their sponsorship in the NHL.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun shares the blockbuster revelation and the letter from Vandal.

“We are contacting you (Wednesday) to voice our concern over (Tuesday night’s) incident involving Max Pacioretty and Zdeno Chara at the Bell Centre in Montreal,” wrote Vandal. “This is following several other incidents involving career-threatening and life-threatening headshots in the NHL recently.”

Vandal noted the controversial issue is becoming bad for Air Canada’s brand.

“From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents; action must be taken by the NHL before we are encountered with a fatality.

“Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey.”

“As a strong supporter and sponsor of NHL Hockey in Canada and several U.S. cities, Air Canada is very concerned with the state of hockey today,” Vandal noted.

“While we support countless sports, arts and community events, we are having difficulty rationalizing our sponsorship of hockey unless the NHL takes responsibily to protect both the players and the integrity of the game.”

Having a major sponsor like this speak up and speak out about their concerns with the game is virtually unheard of. Air Canada of course owns the naming rights to Air Canada Center in Toronto and, as Garrioch notes in his piece, it’s believed that they have sponsorship deals with all six Canadian teams.

Air Canada’s bombshell tactic to shake the NHL into action does come with a bit a curious PR angle too. Air Canada is based out of Dorval, Quebec, near Montreal. Doing right by the home team to shake your wallet at the league when they feel the NHL didn’t act appropriately could be viewed as a gross abuse of power.

There’s also the part of this in which if the league does jump as Air Canada threatens to pull their money, that if the league made sweeping changes to protect the players with this as the motivation and not countless awful blows to the head, there’s no amount of public relations mastery to help the NHL look good. After all, if money is the motivation for change and not the players health that’s an equally heinous possibility. It also kicks the door open for other sponsors to make threats if there are other parts of the game they don’t like and would like to see changed because they dislike the association it makes for them. (Fighting, anyone?)

Air Canada being proactive like this is stunning. If they’re honest about this and they’re seeking hockey to make changes for the better, good for them for showing the compassion and care for the game and the players that those in charge of the NHL have seemingly lost their way with in recent years.

If there’s other motivations at work here for Air Canada, be it them taking care of business at home in Quebec or trying to drum up their own business by taking a side in a very public affair which most fans share their opinion, then this is nonsensical PR buffoonery and exploitation at its absolute worst. The NHL has to take their threat serious enough to hear them out, but the ball is in Air Canada’s court now in how they handle this.

  1. nolesshabitual - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Seems like obvious homerism to me. Where was AirCanada to stand up for Marc Savard, Fedor Tyutin, or the face of the league and Canadian National Hero Sydney Crosby? But a guy who hasn’t played 40 games for the precious habs? well that’s enough to lose a leaguewide sponsorship….

  2. jsarge99 - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    This is awesome.

  3. rocketgopher - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Funny that you suggest that Air Canada may have a conflict of interest in this, but fail to point out that so does the NHL. The NHL’s head of discipline, Colin Campbell, has a son that plays for the Bruins. Sure, Campbell gets his subordinate to “officially” make the decision but how likely is he to want to suspend the MVP of his boss’s son’s team?

    Also, Air Canada did, in effect stand up for all the Marc Savards, Tyutins, and Crosbys, because they essentially said that the Chara hit, which was clearly the most brutal and devastating of all, was the last straw for them. Why would any large corporation want to be associated with a blood sport, which is what hockey seems increasingly to be coming?

    Instead of questioning Air Canada’s motives, why don’t you say something about whether corporate pressure to reduce career- and life-threatening injuries caused by goonery is a good idea or not. If you think it is, then you should be happy with Air Canada’s stand. If you want to see more hits like Chara’s, then write to the Air Canada CEO and tell him you love the NHL just the way it is.

    • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:15 AM

      the league made the right choice here. 5 and a game is punishment enough for a hit that had it occurred anywhere else on the ice or not resulted in an injury would have been a 2 min minor. basing punishment on resulting injuries is just plain stupid. chara is no goon, he has never been suspended and he did not try to break this poor guys neck

      • bbrdca - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:22 AM

        The league absolutely made the wrong call. Are you implying a perennial norris candidate doesn’t have awareness of his position/vision to see the stanchion coming? In addition, this wasn’t a shoulder to shoulder check, charas arm guided paciorettys head into the pole. Or does he not have body awareness, in addition to not having positional awareness?

        At the very least they could have gotten paciorettys side of the story, but instead they took charas word and left pacioretty out entirely. Elementary schools have more thorough disciplinary procedures.

        Between Gregory Campbell and Jeremy Jacobs the leagues decision isn’t surprising at all. Disgusting, but not surprising.

    • palinoma - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Having seen this hit on TSN, ESPN, the internet from 3 different angles, 50 or so times….it is horribly obvious that chara in my opinion did this on purpose! These guys didnt like each other. Theres à history..!!! I watched the games.. I know!

      His elbow shouts out at Paciorettys head as he is coming up to the stantion. You see chara look at the stantion then look away..
      Shame on Chara! Shame on the NHL! Shame on Mike Murphy! And hats off to Air Canada to speak out against the NHL lack of action!

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        funny how all the experts as well as the league disagree with you. but hey, what do ex-nhlers know about the game, right?

  4. hulkhogan69 - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:09 AM

  5. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    hitting is a part of the game. good call by the nhl to leave charas punishment to what he received on the ice. in my opinion had there been no injury it would have only been a 2min interference minor. its despicable that often times were seeing officials base their calls on a resulting injury, and seeing them get suspended on that same basis

  6. blomfeld - Mar 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    As a fan who’s been watching this game for forty “plus” years, I have to say that if ever the writing was on the wall, then that surely is now. Hockey “will” change, whether the league, sponsors and fans, like it or not … and the sooner that change happens the better. Sadly though, someone will likely end up being killed in the meantime … it’s almost inevitable and probably necessary.

    The current formula for the North American game is preposterous and it’s in many ways consistent with the sick “MMA” attitude that permeates our culture today. You have the same sized rink as in 1895, yet the players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever. In fact, they appear to now increase in size, strength and speed, almost “year to year” ! It’s almost comical when you compare today’s “pinball” game to the hockey that we were entertained to before. Regardless, simple physics dictates that something will ultimately give, be that the rules, the player’s, the owners or the fans themselves.

    A simple solution would be to immediately adopt the International sized rink.
    The game would not only become safer, but that much better and enjoyable to watch.
    I wish that could happen, but I doubt it will …

    • polegojim - Mar 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      Love this idea – open up the rink, give the guys room for speed to dictate, over size.

      Everyone would be more concerned about getup up ice, rather than hawking the blue lines.

      Finish your checks, of COURSE! Bring even more finesse into each game, DEFINITELY!

      THAT’S Hockey.

  7. murdechoc - Mar 10, 2011 at 9:49 AM


    The fact is that it’s absurd to give suspensions only when a star get injured. Pacioretty have 24 points in 37 games, that is not so bad. If the strategy of air-canada works and the nhl take the good decisions, it will help all the players like Crosby and Savard, not only Pacioretty.

    This is one of the cheapest hit I’ve never seen in the nhl. Don’t say that Chara didn’t want to do that, it’s impossible. He even said that he known where he was on the rink!!

    One thing is sure, Chara is banned for life at Montreal, he will be over booed. It will even be dangerous for Chara to come into the Bell Center. I’m sure, some crazy fans will chase him. He’ll never be safe in the town.

    • pinky54 - Mar 10, 2011 at 10:15 AM

      Yeah I bet Chara is TERRIFIED of fans………………………………….
      The Bruins handled Cooke when he came back to town. Cooke will always be booed here. Im sure Matt Cooke doesnt go home and cry about it, or run for his life from fans. Its part of the game.

    • nolesshabitual - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      it works for montreal because it would force the whole league to play the pansy flop and drop style les habs are known for. It was a clean hit, just because of a piece of metal was in the spot of a clean, if hard, check doesn’t make it dirty. Face facts, if there was no suspension for Matt Cooke on Savard, how would there possibly be a suspension to Chara for this one. As for the air canada demand, well i guess it works if you like to watch the Canadiens or soccer.

    • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:20 PM

      this is not a dirty hit, it was an interference penalty. had max not been injured it would have only been 2 minutes instead of 5 and a game. chara did not mean to injure max. you cannot suspend players based on a resulting injury and the nhl was right in realizing that

  8. sandgyna - Mar 10, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Sports that people who don’t like violence could watch instead of hockey:
    Ballet, Figure Skating (although some might suggest Tonya Harding), gymnastics, cricket. Enjoy.
    The problem with Air Canada coming out now and having a headquarters based near Montreal is that if they truly truly cared, they would have said it long ago. I truly believe that they are only saying this now because it involves the Habs. Well as a fan. I say leave. The air industry is in turmoil. You need the NHL as much as the NHL needs you. Your name is the brand of the most successful franchise in NHL hockey and go ahead and pull that. Most people need to forget what Air Canada is anyways. Most people who live near the American border travel to the states to fly anywhere. Air Canada predicating how a sport is run is just laughable. They were sponsors for the MMA so if hockey was in a trapezoid it would be ok? They also have sponsored many violent childrens sports (karate for example) so their only concern now is that it was a Montreal player. See you Air Canada. I hope the NHL lets you go. This is the same thing that has happened in the NFL the past season. We get ‘fans’ who can’t handle the violence. The difference between NFL and NHL players is that NFL players acknowledge and agree to the violent risks when they sign a contract for the millions a year. My question to anyone is this: IF the NHL or the NFL came up and said we have this sport you know is very violent and you could potentially have a serious injury but we will offer you $3 million a year to play, NO ONE would turn it down. So everyone needs to seriously suck it up and quit whining like babies. ANd i have to agree when people suggest where was Air Canada on the two Savard hits or the two crosby hits. Instead they open their mouth for a player who just entered the league. If Air Canada was serious they would have said something to protect the best player in the game. And they didn’t so this is just a fan of the Habs who happens to work for Air Canada. Let’s see how everyone reacts. I can’t wait to see what Cherry says Saturday. I know he will agree with me.

  9. rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    To all of you who think Chara intently did this – you are doing nothing but sullying any respect (or what’s left of it) for Montreal and their fans. That’s you @nolesshabitual most recently. That every single NHL expert and guru (that doesn’t live or played in Montreal) has said while the outcome was extremely unfortunate, the NHL made the right call, is a pretty solid piece of evidence that maybe you’re thinking a little too subjectively. That hit took place in less than 1 second, and anyone who claims Chara has the ability to actually ward Max that way has never laced up. Should we ban half board hitting all together? Hey, I heard a couple NHLers suggest it. What’s even more damning is the fact this isn’t even close to the first turnbuckle hit of the past 5 years (Orpik anyone??), yet not one person has referenced that. Further, to you “rocketgopher” – gee, no I have no clue the NHL’s Disciplinary Director had a son on the Bruins. Seriously, thank you for pointing out. And what good that did when the Savard ruling came through. Seriously, that 25 game ban Cooke got was so “homered”. Wait…Oh right, Campbell Sr. hilariously called that a “Hockey Play” – open ice, from behind, elbow to head. We can argue the lateness of Charra’s hit all day, but the fact is there are checks finished that late in every period of every hockey game in the NHL. You tell me how it’s justified Paille gets his suspension a month ago for his hit, but Cooke doesn’t.

    This is nothing but shear homerism and as the article points out, an attempt to put themselves on the PR wire as humanitarians. Funny, you don’t see any other companies withOUT investments in the NHL saying anything (what a true “gesture” would be). And once again “rocketgopher”, don’t pretend for a nanosecond if this hit took place in Columbus against the Thrashers, that Air Canada is coming out with this pathetically faux “knight in shining armour” ploy.

    The NHL is a better place with Montreal’s franchise being good and their great fanbase. But you’re beginning to make me wonder what the line is when you can be so blinded by fandom rather than actual objective hockey knowledge.

    • bbrdca - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Oh, so Tanner Glass and Steve Montador live or played in Montreal? The problem isn’t that he FINISHED a check, it’s that a)the check started WAY too late and b)he raised his arm as can be seen in the pic in the link below. They’re already expected to know where they are and what the hazards are, see:boarding. Think back, had the league acted accordingly and suspended Richards hit on Booth do you think the Cooke hit would have happened? Instead, the league gave a greenlight on those types of hits and now they’ve given a green light on using the stanchion to decapitate someone. The league needs to stop this “hockey play” BS and start thinking about the impacts of it’s decisions in situations like these.×300

      As for Campbell, he was playing for Florida when the Cooke hit happened. If you truly believe Colin Campbell has no part in discipline relating to his son/his sons team google Colin Campbell e-mails.

      Everyone seems to forget Chara actually DOES have a history, a history of avoiding suspensions because he has no history. Remember his assault on Gausted, that carried an automatic suspension? Or breaking Ivanans jaw after the linesmen have him locked up and he’s in a completely defenseless position? Dirty plays, even if he isn’t a dirty player.

  10. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    i personally believe the nhl made the right call here. unfortunately the league constantly applies hypocrisy, inconsistency, and double standars when handing out suspensions. for that reason there is no clear precedent for hits like this. hopefully this decision finally set one, that being that hits that arent malicious cheapshots (matt cooke on savard) should not be subject to suspension just because of a resulting injury

  11. thebigolddog - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    It’s about time for Canada and America to have their own leagues. The idiotic, childish response including criminal investigation of Chara and AirCanada threatening to end their sponsorship is enough for American teams to pull out of the NHL and form their own league.

    Where were these people when Patrice Bergeron or Mark Savad were injured by players with bad intentions and received no punishment?

    Canada in general, and Montreal in particular, can go pound sand!

    • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      gary bettman wont even give us another team, let alone our own league. i for one would welcome it though. americans ruined the game post-lockout. there were none of these problems before the game was americanized. the only thing i would demand is that canadian players would not be allowed to play in the american league, then the winners of each league would play so canada can demonstrate it is the dominant nation and knows how to play the game better than anyone. all that aside though, please dont let people from quebec represent all of canada

      • thebigolddog - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Who do you think you are to demand where free men work?

        What is wrong with you arrogant Canadians?

        Fact is, you know, given a choice, most would choose to play in the American league and you’d be left with nothing.

        Time for teams like the Bruins to start speaking up and start forming a league w/o Canadian based teams.

  12. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:58 PM


    if you want to exclude canadian teams from your league then we would have every right to exclude our players from it. “arrogant canadians” keep your nhl teams afloat. if there wasnt more money in the US you think most of these players would want to play in front of no-nothing fans and half empty arenas?

    luckily there are far too many legal hurdles for your ignorant idea to become a reality

    • thebigolddog - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      You have no right to tell free men where they can work. What is it with the totalitarian mentality running rampant in Canada these days to think you can tell fellow Canadians where they can work and where they can’t? Maybe you all think you’re in France or the old USSR.

      “God keep our land glorious and free!”

      You make a joke of your National Anthem.

      The teams left Canada because they couldn’t make it in those small markets. Wake up kid. Your league would be nothing in no time and nobody would want to play there with the vastly reduced salaries.

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        “The teams left Canada because they couldn’t make it in those small markets.”

        yeah, the jets left for phoenix and how well is that team doing? theyve been hemorrhaging money for years yet gary bettman talks like hes willing to give his life to see an unprofitable team stay in phoenix rather than move to canada. it wasnt enough that he americanized OUR GAME after the lockout, now he wants to keep all nhl teams out of canada. seems to me teams like the leafs, habs, and canucks can offer comparable salaries. if both leagues were capped they would be making the same money on either side of the border.

        im not going to get into a politically based argument with you on a hockey forum, ill just reassert that for the same money canadian players would rather play in fron of actual hockey fans

  13. rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    No no. The rest of Canada is absolutely fine. As you’ll see because not one of the other Canadian markets is truly outraged by any of this, because there is nothing to be outraged about. We’ll just let Quebec form it’s own little 4 team league (3 Montreal teams, 1 Quebec) with Women’s Olympic Hockey rules and see how it fares.

    Also derpdederpdederp – not quite sure what you’re talking about. The NHL attendance is actually doing very well. And your small contingent of 6 teams isn’t the reason why. “No nothing fans”? Why don’t you visit Minneapolis or Chicago, or Boston or New York or Philadelphia, say that, and see how you fare.

    • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      yes attendance in places that have always been hockey towns is fine. im taking mostly about the phoenix debacle, as well as other non-hockey market teams like florida. and yes many americans have only started watching the game post lockout and dont know what real hockey looks like. unfortunately you need to take in a chl game to see real hockey these days

      • rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:34 PM

        Dude come on. It’s not Phoenix’s fault they got a hockey team. It wasn’t exactly prospering in Winnepeg. Trust me, I am all for Phoenix and Atlanta and Florida to go either by by all togther, or relocate to (or back) to Canada. But don’t sit here and tell me the game is thriving because of the Canadian teams. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are multiple Canadian teams losing money.

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        i suggest you check this out. canadian teams accounted for 31% of ticket sales 3 years ago. not bad for only 6 teams, eh?

  14. iaintafrate - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    There are 2 issues here….First the hit wasn’t illegal, plain and simple…It’s not illegal to ride someone into the boards, the hit wasn’t from behind, he didn’t target the head, etc. It’s a common hockey play that had an unfortunate result. You can’t expect Chara in that split second to go, “Oh wait, the stansions right there, I better not him this guy”. Pacioretty also could have pulled up or shifted outside, knowing he was in a dangerous spot, but tried to beat Chara to the outside. Chara had to finish the check or let him fly by. The second issue is the cry-baby Canadiens fans. You support a team that dives, fakes injuries, takes cheap shots then turtles up and refuses to fights. They are a team of gutless cowards whose main goal on the ice is to antagonize their oppenents and trick officials. Any when you play that game, this stuff is going to happen. It was a clean hockey play that resulted in a horrific injury and that’s too bad. But it reminds me of the kid who teases a dog until the dog get fed up and bites. Keep crying, it’s what Habs fans do best. Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole.

  15. thebigolddog - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Your Game? ROFLMAO. I suggest you take a look at the history of the NHL. You game was “Americanized” starting in the 20s. By the 40s, 4 of the original 6 were American.

    It’s sad that Canadians feel the need to cling to lie to feel good about themselves.

    • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      which players dominate the nhl? who wins more than anybody on the world stage? yup looks like hockey is canadas game

      • rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:30 PM

        And where do they play professionally? Oh right.

  16. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:32 PM


    where they play doesnt mean sh*t. we keep those teams afloat and win more consistently than anyone on the world stage. hows your bronze from the last wjc and silver from the olympics treating ya?

    • rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      Pretty sure it does since you seem to think threatening to leave the NHL would somehow be good for Canada and its game. See how your free workers react if all of sudden it’s a 12 team league in Canada with zero wages. I’m sure Canadian born players HATE playing in Detroit right? Please, they just want to play and win. And it’s you arrogant fans who somehow think you have the power (or right) to dictate where it is they’d want to skate.

      And once again, this is NOT a national issue, this absurd overreation and subsequent embarrassing saga (police) is from Quebec and Quebec only. There may be individuals here or there, but outcry is not surprisingly centered there. As another poster said; “Congrats Montreal, you’ve set the bar for pathetic once again.”

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        that was basically saying that if that other guy would make a suggestion as ignorant as forming an all-american league i should make an equally ignorant statement that canadian players should not play in said league. since either will never happen theres no point in arguing semantics. im well aware this is not a canadian issue, and cant count the number of times i have come on one of these forums to beg americans to not judge canada by what the quebecois do

  17. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:37 PM


    hmm from what ive seen every canadian team plays home games in front of a capacity crowd or close to it. the nhl is not thriving because of canadian teams but those teams are certainly doing better than most others. obviously its not phoenix’s fault they have a team, but it is gary bettmans fault for doing all that he can to keep them there, or in other words to keep another team out of canada

    • rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      Sorry man, 100% attendence does not mean success. And I never said anything to the contrary. I love B’s away games in Canada because I know it’ll be a great crowd. I’m just saying other than Toronto and Montreal, Canadian teams have almost no bearing on the success or failures of the NHL.

      And this is not Bettman keeping a team from Canada. It’s Bettman having to big an ego to admit he made a mistake. This is the only franchise in his own hands in which he can control this.

      Here’s an attendance chart for a reference:

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        i disagree. bettman barred jim balsillie from relocating both pittsburgh and nashville before the phoenix situation

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        what does mean success in your mind then? id say 100% attendance is a pretty good indication of how successful a team is. financially, no team in canada is in as much trouble as many american teams

  18. iaintafrate - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    The league should investigate this hit first.

    • rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Haha, well played…

  19. rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    derpdederpdederp – Well I think most would be in agreement moving Pittsburgh would have been an awful idea, I don’t care where you’re from. And Nashville has been mildly successful so I can’t blame him for wanting to protect the one expansion franchise that was working.

    • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      in hindsight you can say that, but at the time pittsburgh was a bottom-feeding sorry excuse for an nhl franchise. moving them would have made all the sense in the world. if they hadnt gotten crosby the would still be in the same position

      • rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:01 PM

        Right. But they also had a guy named Mario Lemiuex trying to buy and keep the team in Pitt. Guessing that had a tiny bit of merit when making the decision. Where’s he from again?

      • derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:05 PM

        i honestly dont think the fact that mario wanted to buy the team had anything to do with it, all that mattered to gary the canuck hater was that someone wanted to keep the team in pittsburgh. the nashville deal was signed and done before gary stepped in at the 11th hour. theres no doubt in my mind that had somebody bough the ottawa senators during their bankruptcy and chosen to move them to las vegas gary wouldve giving his blessing to the deal without blinking an eye. he simply favours teams in america over teams in canada. i think its time for a canadian to run the show. after 2 lockouts i dont think gary gets a passing grade as commissioner and needs to go

  20. rogersjd16 - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on the Mario thing. He was a huge ambassador for those deliberations.

    You sure as hell won’t hear any complaint from me on Bettman needing to go. Overexpansion, TV Deal, revenue sharing…I will say he’s done admirably to resurrect it recently, but not enough for me to say he should remain in office.

  21. blomfeld - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    As a Canadian who’s followed the game for forty “plus” years, I think we really need to keep our “attitude” in check here. There’s no doubt that given our strong dollar and resource-fueled economy, we’re thinking of ourselves as sitting pretty “cool” these days. Well that is both stupid and quite dangerous … not to mention that it obviously comes across as unabashed “arrogance” to our American brothers. The bottom line is that “one without the other” amounts to nothing … or a “watered down” product at best. Yes Bettman’s a goof and yes some contraction and relocation is inevitable. But we Canadians need to leave it there and not become disrespectful to our friends … that isn’t our way and we know that. Things will inevitably change again in the future, much like the tides or the weather … and so it’s important that we always stay as “one” through thick and thin.

  22. derpdederpdederp - Mar 11, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    (gasp) looks like theres other areas of the ice players can get hurt. for all you suggesting players should avoid hitting near the stanchion, should players also avoid open ice hits like these? i mean the guy got concussed so where was the suspension? the sad part is the way the nhl treats hits resulting in injuries these days (with hypocrisy, inconsistency, and double standards) i wouldnt even be surprised if hits like this start getting punished. thankfully the nhl showed it was capable of some objectivity and made the right choice about chara. hopefully that sets a reasonable precedent

  23. truwarier90 - Mar 11, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    chara is a thug, toss him out, the bruins are a joke, colie campbell gives them so much favourtism due to his son on the team, guys like chara, thornton, greg campbell, lucic can do all the cheapshots they want because colie campbell and bettman don’t care, and I can guarantee you that they would love to have matt cooke on their team, since they love employing cheap shot artists, if matt cooke was on their team, he would have never got any suspensions this season.

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