BREAKING: Gary Bettman Forced Nashville to Match Shea Weber Offer Sheet
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is not known as a tough guy, but when Nashville Predators star defenseman Shea Weber was on the verge of leaving the financially-struggling franchise for the Philadelphia Flyers in lieu of a big dollar offer sheet, the veteran hockey boss looked more mafioso than CEO.
“I basically told the Nashville ownership to sign Weber or die,” Bettman told reporters as he puffed on a cigar and looked off into the distance. “They weren’t going to (expletive) this up for me. I’ve worked too damn hard.”
Bettman explained that his plan of expanding hockey into “non-traditional” markets across the U.S. has suffered serious setbacks, including the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, the seemingly perpetual financial difficulties of the Phoenix Coyotes that will likely see that team move soon, and most recently, the forced trade of Rick Nash for three guys nobody in Ohio has heard of, there was no more room left for error.
“If the Nashville Predators lost Shea Weber, they would be that much closer to being the Nova Scotia Predators,” Bettman said. “And I couldn’t have that. No, sir. Everybody knows Columbus and Phoenix are on their way out. Florida’s not far behind. And Atlanta’s already gone. But you know what? Gary Bettman puts his foot down. And when Gary Bettman puts his foot down, he refers to himself in the third person.”
Bettman added: “I also put a gun to the (Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran) and said, ‘Match, bitch!'”
Cigarran joined the press conference and confirmed that Bettman put a gun to his head and made him match the Flyers offer.
“Mr. Bettman was, uh, he was serious about this one,” Cigarran said as he shook in fear. “We can’t afford it. Nobody comes to our games. Nobody in Nashville except a few Preds fans knows who Shea Weber is. But, um…we’re going to pay him $110 million over the next 14 years. Mr. Bettman said that’s the way it was gonna be.”
“And!?” Bettman asked Cigarran as he brandished a gleaming 357 Magnum Smith & Wesson with a 6-inch barrel.
“And I’d like to thank the fans for their support. We, uh…we can’t wait for the 2012-13 season to start and, uh…Shea Weber to lead the Nashville Predators to a Stanley Cup.”
“That’s right,” Bettman said. “Any more questions?” he asked reporters.
There were none.