On the Florida Panthers' official site, team President Michael Yormark has come forward to explain the decision to let Denis Potvin go. Please click here to read his full post. I will do my best to pull out a few excerpts that caught my eye.
"As we move forward with our new multi-year agreement with FOX Sports Florida, we will have much more control and input as it relates to production and advertising sales. This was very important to us when we restructured our partnership early this year."
Makes sense. This is, after all, a business. Advertising sales are a giant part of business. If this was a business decision, fine. It sucks, but we are going through hard times, and it's naive to think anyone is immune. But wait...
"Furthermore, due to our arrangement with FOX Sports Florida, this was not a financial decision. Again, it was a decision based on what we believe is best for our fans."
Huh? Production and ad sales were a big part of this decision, yet it was not a financial decision. His words. Now I'm not a business mogul. I don't have any experience running a multi-million dollar, professional franchise. But I did take economics in high school. And I'm pretty sure ad sales are a financial aspect of business. If I'm wrong, please correct me. And as for a decision that's best for the fans... the 50+ comments on George Richards' blogs by fans seem to disagree. The 104 votes against the decision as opposed to the 13 for it on a fellow blog, Litter Box Cats, also leans the other way. If it's a business decision, fine. Just don't try to hide behind the "It's best for our fans" line. It's embarrassing.
Mr. Yormarck goes on to speak highly of how Billy Lindsay and Steve Goldstein will work together. "I promise you, you will be amazed at how powerful they are together! I've seen them do a game together and they are awesome!!!!" says Mr. President. Wow! A whole game together! Swing and a miss. This is nothing against Goldie or Bill. Lindsay scored possibly the most famous goal in Panthers' history. Goldstein has been with the organization for years, going back to doing the in-house, between period hi-lights. But to think that this is a move that will better the on-air presentation is asinine. Forgetting Denis Potvin's hall of fame playing career, he has been on the Panthers' broadcast team for almost 16 years. To question Potvin's dedication to the team and organization is border line offensive. Because he returns home to Canada and doesn't live in south Florida during the summer months, he isn't as devoted? Not buying it. He has been here since day 1 and sat beside a handful of play by play guys. He's always come back because I believe he truly loves this team. This past season, you could here the pain in his voice as the Panthers struggled down the stretch. He has been as much a part of this organization as anyone, and is obviously one of the, if not the longest tenured man in the franchise.
I think it is clear to anyone that this was a financial decision. Potvin was let go because he isn't around 365 days a year to help sell the Panthers' brand. Ad sales and production are important to any business, I have no qualms with that. It's the assertion that this decision was based not on money, but "for the fans." The fans clearly are not in favor of this decision. I don't know what fans Mr. Yormarck has talked to, if any. It's using the fans, myself as a fan, as a scape goat for making an unpopular business decision that makes my stomach turn. I have no doubts in the skills or abilities of Billy and Goldie. I look forward to listening to them next season and I wish Denis Potvin the best. He was the one constant this team had since the beginning. Owners, players, and presidents have come and gone. Potvin stayed. Now, who knows. I continue to hope for the best. It's just not easy when you feel like you're being lied to by the man that runs your team.