Fair enough, but still I think you are putting too much stock into what Bettman's job actually is. He's merely a puppet, you have to go after the BOG to actually change the rules of the game which I'm pretty sure is your issue with the current league correct? What are your actual concerns with the league currently?
I agree he's a puppet and that the BOG still makes the final calls, but that is all the more reason that they need a strong leader who will actually stand up to them and tell them what is best for the league (and for themselves and revenues) once in awhile - A good commissioner isn't a doormat and will stand up to owners and do what's best for the owner's in the long term (not just the short - ie. the NFL's Roger Goodell)
My biggest problems with the league currently are:
- the horrible marketing and cross promotion of the league
- poor product placement by forcing teams into failing markets after they've proven they can't survive there
- lack of exposure in more traditional TV markets (VS can still be it's flagship station and I actually think they do a pretty good job, minus Renaugh and McGuire), but they should have had a secondary TV deal with ESPN, to at least have a couple games a month on there and that would have opened the door to ABC, instead of the atrocity that is NBC
- absolute joke of disciplinary rulings (I know this is Campbell - but this is where the commissioner needs to step up, have the stones and make a difficult personnel change)
What it really comes down to, is the NHL needs a firm leader and a REAL hockey guy who knows the game and will stand up for things when it matters, not a spineless, sniveling little doormat...
"Roger Goodell (uncapped year, potential lockout,all the players in trouble with the law)"
I think this argument doesn't fly. Goodell didn't take over the league until 2006, he hasn't had enough time to deal with all the issues. He has been hard on many of the players with serious league problems. Not to mention he is dealing with the largest sport in America, that makes more the twice that of the NHL. I think Goodell is by far the better commissioner of the two.
I would also love to see how much the NFL made in comparison of the NHL in 1993. I think if you look and the spread, I would bet that it was closer back then compared to now. Back then NHL was the forth largest sport and now it's 5th.
I actually don't think any of these arguments fly - he's actually handled all of these issues BRILLIANTLY and is holding guys accountable... the off the field actions are more a result of the player's upbringings and where they come from, than the league they play in... as for the CBA issue they have now - I can guarantee it will get worked out... Goodell knows what he's doing and is the perfect example of what a commissioner should be in a professional sports league