Gary Bettman may be the league’s bobble-headed symbol, but Bill Daly is the one that really gets your blood boiling. Daly is the Rumsfeld to Bettman’s Bush. You always feel like Bettman, for all his shrewdness and weasel-ish lack of charm, can’t help it. You always feel like he’s just that dumb.
But, Bill Daly? Like Rumsfeld, he only shows up periodically to announce something to the rest of the world, and you know it’s bad. Whenever he stands up there in front of a gallery of reporters, you just know he’s got some long-winded, boring, but mean-spirited thing to say.
Now, with Bill Daly, it’s obvious there’s goodness in his heart. That’s not the issue.
It’s knowing he’s good that makes him so much worse.
For all his power and portfolio, Bill Dally is continually reverted to being Bettman’s monotone, loyal defendant. He backs the owners and leads the barrage through downtown Toronto. Whenever the league decides to lock out its players – which happens, like, all the time – he’s the face of the place. He’s ground zero.
Bill Daly is everywhere, and then he’s nowhere. He’s like Rahm Emanuel or – even better – Eli Gold from The Good Wife. They bring him in when things are bad, and they need a wartime consigliere. You know, like Vinny Jones in Snatch or De Niro in Wag the Dog.
“The President’s in crisis, and you need to solve it.”
His method is to say as little as possible, and then nothing more. If you offered him a meal, he’d barter himself down to a snack. Daly is the NHL’s minimalist, which is a bad, bad thing. We see him so much, some personality would be nice once in a while.
Of course, like any good deflector, Daly only gets more upset when you ask him things. It’s never your business. It’s never appropriate to talk about, no matter the situation or the question. You could ask him is he prefers Raisin Bran or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and he’d answer with, “We can’t go into details about that at this time.”
On Monday, Daly got upset. He’s worried about the future – the future he’s helped to build, actually – and he’s worried about the state of the game. Of course, that worry isn’t enough to cause him or anyone on that side of the aisle to actually do anything, but it’s worry, nonetheless.
So, while you’re cursing Bettman and shaking your head at Sidney Crosby, think of the one selflessly selfish guy who’s constantly taking bullets and barbs, and looking like a dick, 24/7
Bill Daly. You are the weakest link. Good bye.