1) The article referenced was written by Caps beat writer Tarik El-Bashir. In it he tells of the major cut backs in newspaper hockey coverage in the states. How many cities with NHL teams are actually NOT having a reporter cover the Finals! This can not be good news to Mr. Bettman. If the average person doesn't even know games are happening, how can they expect people to gravitate/look for the games on TV?
2) We predict that the first games on Versus will receive dismal (even for hockey) ratings. Games 4-7 on NBC will probably be slightly higher due to more potential viewers, but even there we expect there to be little interest in hockey when its 80-90 degrees in a vast majority of the country.
3) Now, not having a paper from Houston or Seattle covering a hockey series isn't news BUT when papers in successful hockey towns like New York and Detroit's decide to not cover hockey's most important series, then it doesn't bode well for Gary's hope to 'grow the game'. Just another nail into the coffin of hockey becoming a mainstream sport in the U.S.
4) Coupling that with the inevitable move of 1-2 teams from the sun belt into Canada, many can now see the writing clear. Hockey fans are realizing that under Mr. Bettman it has failed to grow where he had stated it was vital to become a major league sport in the U.S. Some like our friends at Jibblescribbits have postulated this will be the end of Bettman.: http://jibblescribbits.blogspot.com/2007/05/can-blackberry-bring-down-gary-bettman.html#links Though we'd love to see Bettman gone, we don't see him being abandoned now by the owners. Once he got the salary cap he assured himself a job for life, and misery for the rest of us!