Gambling With Reputations

News reports are linking Rick Tocchet to a gambling ring.  Along with Tocchet, Janet Jones (Wayne Gretzky’s wife) and Mark Recchi are also being named as people possibly involved.  Supposedly a dozen players have placed bets within this ring.

News outlets:
6abc.com
TSN
TSN - Investigation could be NHL’s worst nightmare
ESPN -

not even on the front page or the main NHL story

- update: shortly after writing this espn.com made this story a blurb on the front page; an Olympic story is still the main story on the NHL front page
Sportsline - not only a blurb on the front page, but they’re currently listing the exact minute the story was last updated
Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated are both carrying the AP story

Bloggers:
Off Wing
Vancouver Canucks Op Ed
Jamie Fitzpatrick
Acid Queen
James Mirtle
Kukla’s Korner has multiple entries about it already
HockeyNation
The Battle of Alberta (with separate post about Janet Jones)
The Puck Stops Here
Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic
Abel to Yzerman (more from A2Y)
HockeyDirt

Kukla quotes the NHL’s Bill Daly:

“While we know little more than has been released publicly, we understand that Mr. Tocchet’s conduct in no way involved betting on hockey. And, while betting on football or other sports may be the pervasive issue, it in no way justifies poor judgment or otherwise alleged inappropriate conduct.
“With respect to the alleged conduct of the unnamed players, it is difficult to have any comment at this point, although everything we have heard, again, indicates it is not hockey-related.”

The non-hockey betting is important.  Very important, as no one can go on a “fixing” tear.

I have yet to see a Jeremy Roenick mention.  Remember, he didn’t bet on hockey either after he paid over $100k for betting tips.

From the Post article:

Unlike the NFL, the NHL does not ban players from betting on team sports—other than hockey—or associating with gamblers. Six of the firm’s handicappers told the newspaper that Roenick paid for tips on football and basketball.

I’m sure there’s more embarassment to come, but I’m not sure it’s as apocalyptic as some are thinking it will be.  The main story here will be the alleged mob ties.  Roenick used offshore firms that had ties to internet casinos, this is where the story is a whole different ballgame.

Update 530pm: A couple of more links were added.

Tonight’s Coyotes game is on OLN and Tocchet is supposedly going to be behind the bench.  OLN has a chance to dig into this story.  If no attempt is made to talk to Tocchet or anyone else in the Coyotes organization about this story OLN will be seen as soft and just producing fluff.  Tonight’s game is an opportunity to enhance the network’s reputation - let’s see if they take it.

Related-thought: this has obviously brought the NHL to the front of the sports pages.  Is any publicity good publicity?

Update 950pm: More links added.  Also, Tocchet is not behind the bench for the Coyotes tonight.

Update 1030pm: CNN.com has this as a main headline (not “the” main headline) on the front of the site.  The title?  “Gretzky’s wife named in gambling ring”.  Of course, you can see by the url name that it’s the standard Rick Tocchet AP article, but that’s not as fun a headline for the general public, is it?

Update Feb 8 415am: Blogger links update.  Also, some video from TSN: McKenzie, Bettman (via Kukla’s Korner)

Kukla also writes how OLN didn’t dive into the story at all.  A missed opportunity.  It’s rare a story is delivered on a platter like this, and it’s a shame it was handled with kid gloves.  The next time something huge happens with a member of an organization that’s going to be on OLN that night (if it ever happens again) - how many will be tempted to tune in after last night’s coverage?

Update Feb 8 455am: From the Arizona Republic:
Gretzky delivers warning to established players
It keeps getting worse (game recap with Tocchet mentions)
Toronto Star:
Probe a blow to NHL in U.S.

Posted by David M Singer on Feb 07, 2006 at 06:43 PM
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