Fire these guys!

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

It's time for Donald Trump and the wet badger on his head that masquerades as hair to call Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow into the boardroom and deliver the two most famous words in reality television:

You're fired!

A pair of monkeys with a toy fax machine could have taken better care of the NHL than the president and union chief have during these sad and dangerous times. After the way they've let down the game, the fans, and their constituents, there's no way either of them deserves to be at his respective helm when all of this is over.

Goodenow needs to go right this minute and Bettman needs to finish the war he started and step aside when it's over.

Clean out the desks, say goodbye to the fawning secretaries (or, in Goodenow's case, to TSN's Glenn Healy), and beat it.

HIGH-SCHOOL POTHEADS

Six months to carry out the most important negotiations the league has ever known and they behave like a couple of high-school potheads who had all month to finish a term paper but didn't get started till the night before it was due?

Unacceptable.

But Bettman doesn't deserve a pink slip for what he's doing now - nobody at the league office level has ever fought harder to make the NHL work in Edmonton. Unfortunately, the sins of his past cannot be excused.

Being grateful for his efforts on the Oilers' behalf is like being grateful to the arsonist who sticks around to help put out the fire in your house. It's Bettman's gas can and his lighter that brought the NHL to smoldering ruins in the first place.

He negotiated the old, unworkable CBA, renewed it, and expanded to markets the NHL had no business expanding to, which watered down the product, made trapping a viable option and, through the basic laws of supply and demand, drove up salaries.

TV money dried to nothing under his watch, he didn't take a strong enough stand against free-spending owners and didn't take a pro-active approach in fixing all that is wrong with the on-ice product, other than his annual vow to "crack down on interference."

We need him for the duration of this dispute, no question, because he's squarely in Edmonton's corner. It has become his personal quest to make things right. When he does, that should be his final act and lasting legacy.

Let him celebrate the victory, then can him. That way he can be remembered more for his strength, resolve and commitment to Edmonton than for all the blunders that made this war necessary in the first place, and we won't have to worry about him expanding to Arkansas and Mississippi and adding a third referee.

Goodenow, meanwhile, appears to have so grossly misjudged and mishandled these negotiations it seems unfathomable he be allowed to continue.

He's already cost his players $1 billion and a year of their careers they'll never get back, and caved in on the one issue he said would never be negotiable - leaving all those tough-talking union men looking like red-faced 17-year-olds who just got busted at the liquor store with fake ID.

WON'T LOOK AT THE LOSSES

It was his refusal to recognize the NHL's mounting losses that killed the golden goose; his refusal to even consider a cap, when better leagues than the NHL had them for years, that killed the season.

And it was his union's combativeness on simple issues (like oversized goaltending equipment) that cost the league so many fans.

Now, in a move straight from the George Costanza school of negotiating, his players are currently holding out for LESS money than they would have made if they took a $42.5-million cap in September, while inextricably linked to a diminishing asset.

How can the NHLPA not be questioning his leadership?

"If they feel there's a better way to do things I'd be glad to make other steps," Goodenow said. "But right now I can tell you I haven't had anyone say anything to me about that at all."

If nobody's calling this morning, it's because they're too dense to work a phone.


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