Gary Bettman hates the economy

As reported on by NHL.com, Gary Bettman said Monday that ticket sales continue to increase and the league continues to grow despite the failing global economy. Ok, Bettman’s an economist now, so what does all this have to do with hockey you ask?

This announcement that the league is “still in a growth mode” came only a few hours after the National Basketball Association confirmed the cutting of 80 jobs within their offices due to the economy. So when a stable league such as the NBA takes a cut, what will happen to the “growing” NHL?

Commissioner Bettman assured fans that they will be cautious and keep a close eye on revenues and expenses. The economy forced the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles to play together as the Steagles during the Great Depression. I’d hate to see if this economic crisis could force the Penguins and Flyers to play together as the “Pelyers” or the “Flenguins,” neither of which carry a good tone.

Penguin defensemen might hate to see Gonchar return in 6 months

Now, of course, we all want to see Sergei Gonchar return as swiftly and comfortably as possible, but consider what the Penguin defense has done in his place. Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi, two guys who are well known for long scoring droughts (not that their usual role requires them to score anyway), have each scored goals over the course of the first five games. Orpik also contributed with a very important assist last night on the Dupuis game-winning goal.

The two youngsters, Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski, have contributed with three combined points. This might seem like an inadequate amount for two aspiring offensive-defensemen but they seemed to have found their groove after last night’s win over Philadelphia.

Perhaps Orpik is seeing the most improvement in two-way play being that he now has more time on the power-play as opposed to his power-play-ending shift with Rob Scuderi he saw last season. However, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if Gonchar came back sooner so Brooks could get right back to his full-time role taking the bodies, running the boards, and getting back to the nitty-gritty.

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying the Penguins don’t need Gonchar because we would certainly be doing a lot better with him. I’m just saying that the Pittsburgh defense is trying their hardest to make up for his loss, and, given the circumstances, have done a pretty good job so far.

The Atlantic Division hates losing points

Living up to the expectations it set last year as the division with the most teams in the playoffs, the Atlantic Division has racked up more points than any other thus far with 22. This is mostly due to the 5-0 New York Rangers who lead the NHL with 10 points.

It’s also, in part, due to division games frequently going into overtime. This was a trend we saw last season and is one that has continued into this season with the Pittsburgh/New Jersey game and the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia game both needing extra frames. Come March, however, these teams are going to wish they didn’t give up any one-pointers.

The Ducks and the Avs hate earning points

Anaheim and Colorado are the only two teams yet to record a point with both sitting at 0-3-0. Though three other teams (Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Chicago) are winless, they managed to pick up overtime one-pointers.

The Avalanche have been “frozen” in the end all of their games, losing only by one point in each of them. And the Ducks have “quacked” (I couldn’t resist) in their two-point loss to Phoenix and their three-point losses to San Jose and Los Angeles.

Anaheim plays host to Edmonton tonight at the pond and Colorado welcomes winless Philadelphia tomorrow night.

Hockey fans hate ESPN

We in the hockey nation can’t say we’re surprised…after an exciting night of NHL games last night, not one single highlight made it onto ESPN’s Sports Center (although, the Dupuis game-winner did make number 6 on the top ten plays of the day). This is something that I feared would happen when Melrose took the Tampa Bay coaching position.

ESPN did, however, cover every aspect of the Dallas Cowboys and how their problems were being dealt with and what they were doing about Adam Jones and the new receiver they brought in to help Terrell Owens and Tony Romo’s pinky finger. I turned it off in fear of a feature story about the hot dog vender in section G-32.

And so, to the “world-wide leader in sports,” please live up to your name or else you’re permanently on the hump-day hater list … besides, I’m really tired of relying on Versus for all my coverage.

We conclude, once again, another HH report. Don’t forget to look for all your latest haters in hump-days to come.

Happy hating!