The Bag Skate: An Open Letter to Gary Bettman

Is it too hot for hockey? You may be right, but until the cold weather returns, welcome to The Bag Skate, FanHouse's afternoon roundup of everything that's happening on a typical offseason weekday.

Today's primal scream comes from the guys at Melt Your Face Off, who have penned an open letter to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in wake of the news that a small knot of his own owners engineered a loan to help a penniless businessman -- William "Boots" DelBaggio -- boost a piece of the Nashville Predators.

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Did I forget to mention that they did it behind Bettman's back?

HOW DO YOU LET THAT HAPPEN? You are the commissioner for a top-flight sports league in the most industrialized nation in the world. You are supposedly the most powerful man in your sport. Now, you claim that while owners are lending each other money to keep the franchises in their own little AllTel Circle of Friends, you thought everything was hunky dory?

"Most powerful man in your sport?" Come now, everybody knows that Brian Burke is the most powerful man in the NHL. Just ask him.

That being said, the very moment when Bettman discovered this little bit of chicanery has to be marked as the low point in his tenure at the top of the league. It's one thing for everyone fan in the world to use you as a human punching bag, but it's another thing entirely when the very men who hired you to do the job don't trust you enough to let you know what they're doing.

As we noted last night, Scott Niedermayer has decided to return to the Ducks next season in time for training camp. The next question becomes, "What's up with Teemu?" Stay tuned. Jose Theodore has broken off contract talks with the Avalanche, and G-Dub has his own interesting take.

One of the first items we saw when we got up this morning was news that New York Rangers forward Martin Straka was headed for his old team in the Czech Republic, a story that had been confirmed by the club president back at HC Lasselsberger Plzen. But wait just a second: Straka's agent, Rich Winter, said that Straka has decided to wait and see any and all offers he might get after July 1 and that no deal has been signed ... The Flames place three players on waivers and the Five Hole Fanatic is happy ... Ottawa extended qualifying offers to four others (Alanah has some uncomfortable questions for Bryan Murray) while Dallas did the same with six players ... The Red Wings are carrying too many defenseman, and the Falconer has some thoughts ... The KHL snags an NHL goalie ... EA Sports announces line of "All Play" sports games for Nintendo's Wii platform, but their NHL game won't be among them. According to an EA Sports spokesman, although the NHL game won't be adapted for play on the Wii this time, plans are always being evaluated.

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