With the National Hockey League Draft set for Friday ... no, no, wait, this isn't about the NHL Draft. This is actually way more interesting. Don't go away.
|The perfect way to settle this dispute? Let the Rangers and the NHL go at it. (Getty Images)|
Not because we hate the Rangers, mind you, but because the NHL hates the Rangers. And the Rangers hate the NHL. And the two sides are going to court to prove it.
In short, if this isn't a perfect case of "Hooray Beer!" we don't know what is.
The Rangers want control of their website independent of NHL.com. The NHL says it can't have it and has an owners' vote that says so. The Rangers are suing the league, calling it "an illegal cartel" and bullies. The league is suing the Rangers, saying they sued the league illegally last year, aren't playing nice, and are the same human bone spurs who have run the Knicks so well.
If I were the judge, that last one would be enough on its face, but that's another story.
What they really mean, of course, is this: The Rangers say the league can't exist without them. The league says the Rangers can't exist without the league. Chicken, meet egg.
Now we are being facetious about the draft scenario, of course. It hasn't gotten to that point yet, not even close. But in an argument in which each side declares the other is merely a cockroach feeding off the host's garbage, you can see where backs might get up a bit.
Were this an actual hockey game, the Rangers could simply send out Sean Avery, and the league could send out 29 other guys to beat the hell out of Avery, and they wouldn't need a lot of provocation. A number of them would do it as a summer school assignment.
But it isn't. This is the Dolan Boys, the same yobbos who gave you that Knicks thing, trying to pick a fight with Gary Bettman, the yobbo who gave you the '05 lockout, and games on Versus. That's a tough one to delineate.
However, if Bettman knows the history of his league (and we'll bet that if he doesn't, his vice president in charge of P.R. Frank Brown does), he has an ace in his hand.
The history of the league.
Now before you all start whining, "No, no, not history. Please. We'll even pretend to care about the stinkin' draft. Just no history," this is actually brief, and on point.