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Nightfall

Am I the only one that respects Gary Bettman?

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Bettman could have done much better.

Revenues are up, but I feel they could have been up much more... by focusing on strengths and not expanding into nothing markets.

No matter how you spin it - losing an entire season is an abysmal failure and has never happened in NHL history.

He has effectively alienated almost the entire NHL fanbase. Yes, it is not a popular job but come on - this guy is universally hated by almost every single fan out there.

He is an embarrassing public persona and combative with even the simplest questions posed to him.

Edited by egroen
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One thing I'd like to add about the referees is, the NHL isn't alone in the boat with inconsistent reffing. Let's not forget the Galarraga perfect game, and the Calvin Johnson catch for local Detroit fans. Reffing isn't an easy thing and there are going to be mistakes.

I would like to see improvement on the simplicity of the rules though.

The reffing will never be perfect. That would be impossible. The problem that myself and others have is that the NHL does not seem to do anything about improving the officiating after obvious flaws and errors are exposed in the system. The NHL never admits fault at any point, no matter how apparent the flaw, and because they can never admit that there is problem, they will never take the steps to fix them. Textbook denial, or in this case, refusal.

IMO, so many simple and attainable adjustments can be made to improve the game, or to improve upon the rules that are already in place, but why does it take 3 years to make a headshot rule? Why is there a replay room when a good portion of plays are non-reviewable based on some loophole? Why does a ref's intention get the final priority over the decision of a review booth that so clearly shows how entirely the ref failed in the first place?

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Much of the criticism of Bettman is BS. He's a very smart guy who has done a pretty good job for his primary constituency (the owners). Fans -- especially north of the border -- will hate him no matter what he does. Too effing bad. Take it up with the owners.

Totally agree that his big mistake was the aggressive push into the US Sun Belt. A toe-in-the-water, slow/incremental approach (i.e., one team instead of six) would have made a lot more sense if he wanted to pursue such a strategy. On the other hand, he's also shrewdly thrown the NHLPA a bone with the expansion by creating more player jobs. Even if just 2 or 3 of the Sun Belt teams survive (with the rest folding and/or moving to Canada), his strategy still will probably have been a success overall.

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Shrewd on the part of the League hiring Shanahan away from a possible position with the NHLPA. Or, maybe Shanahan didn't want to deal with them anymore.

During the "Kovalchuk Debacle", I saw Steve Simmons (on TSN) make a statement that is quite true: Bettman got his job thanks to the owners, but he is supposed to be impartial in his rulings. Rather than have a small group of owners mad at him (the possiblity of the re-opening of other contracts), he chose one team to make an example of. Simmons said that the way he Bettman handled that contract case shows that he has lost all impartiality and should be replaced.

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In this article, Bettman hits the trifecta; from TSN:

1) On the topic of the Coyotes and franchise movement:

"The process is ongoing," he said. "No new headlines."

What happended to the mutiple "possible owners"?

2) On the League opening in Europe:

"We're still at the stage where we take volunteers,"

3) He specifically singles out the NHLPA as being the cause of Wade Redden's inability to stick in the League.

He is a beauty.

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No matter how you spin it - losing an entire season is an abysmal failure and has never happened in NHL history.

Well if we're going to say things that have nothing to do with Bettman, then I'm mad at Bettman for allowing the Big 3 to happen in Miami.

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Is he the best guy for the job? I don't know.

Has he done well from a business standpoint? Yes.

Has he helped bring popularity to the league? Yes.

Has he helped balance the teams in the league? Yes.

Has he ever been a fan favorite? No.

His individual actions always raise some eyebrows, but considering how far the NHL has come in 18 years, his long term plan seems to be working.

Strange that Detroit has made the playoffs every single year that Bettman has been in charge :-p

Edited by Joseph Franks

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Well if we're going to say things that have nothing to do with Bettman, then I'm mad at Bettman for allowing the Big 3 to happen in Miami.

Oh really? Bettman has pandered to his low-revenue producing, money-losing expansion clubs. Of his 8 new teams, only Minnesota and Colorado have been a success. That's a 25% success rate. He had no problem allowing owners to move from traditional canadian markets into the USA, but is fighting tooth and nail to keep a team in Phoenix. It is largely because so many of these markets were failing that a hard salary cap was needed. His failed negotiation with ABC (owners of ESPN) in 2004 also directly led to the lockout. Of all the major sports, he delivered by far the worse contract imaginable --- the only league to get absolutely ZERO guaranteed advertising revenues from advertisements. Advertisemant revenue sharing is what keeps lesser teams afloat in other leagues. And it's not like this blind-sided him and there was nothing he could do about it. BS. Bettman had held the reigns for 12 years prior to the lockout (he allowed it to become a league ESPN did not even care about airing). Hockey when he took over what as it's zenith in the mid-90s -- yet he allowed it to drag down into the muck of the deadpuck era without ever competently addressing it... until the lockout. Did hockey realy need a full year off in order to mandate refs call the game properly?

Bettman was also named one Business Week magazine's 5 worst executives in 2005.

His job is to report to the owners, but does that job have to come hand-in-hand with completely alienating the NHL fan base, IE. the customers?

I do not believe it has to.

Yes, revenues have gone up since he took over in 1993, but a more competent commissioner could have done much better and without making the NHL the only major sports league to lose an entire season (and another half season on top of it).

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2) On the League opening in Europe:

"We're still at the stage where we take volunteers,"

Sending Carolina to play Minnesota overseas is just brilliance.

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Sending Carolina to play Minnesota overseas is just brilliance.

I find it ironic that some people say this in regards to Europe but get all butthurt when they choose to have the most popular teams play in the Winter Classic.

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I find it ironic that some people say this in regards to Europe but get all butthurt when they choose to have the most popular teams play in the Winter Classic.

lol. Different things, but keep trolling.

I also have never stated that I have a problem with popular teams in the winter classic. I have a problem with repeating teams in the winter classic when other popular teams have not been represented as of yet.

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Since his first full season in power: six expansion teams, four relocation teams, accounting for one-third of all the teams currently in the League.

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lol. Different things, but keep trolling.

I also have never stated that I have a problem with popular teams in the winter classic. I have a problem with repeating teams in the winter classic when other popular teams have not been represented as of yet.

Like who?

Pittsburgh and Washington is going to bring the most bacon. It hasn't happened yet, so I don't see the problem.

Also, I'm not sure troll means what you think it means.

Edited by Doc Holliday
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Bettman actually had a funny line while sitting in with the VS crew. He said that while he walked out on the ice with Mario Lemieux for the pregame inaugural ceremony at Pittsburgh's arena he asked Mario "why are they booing you?". It seems he may have a sense of humor after all.

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Bettman actually had a funny line while sitting in with the VS crew. He said that while he walked out on the ice with Mario Lemieux for the pregame inaugural ceremony at Pittsburgh's arena he asked Mario "why are they booing you?". It seems he may have a sense of humor after all.

Either that or he's completely detached from reality and couldn't comprehend why he would be booed, which meant that it would have to be Baby Mario getting booed. Which is just as likely, sadly.

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Oh really?

yes really. The lockout happened because owners wanted a cap and the players did not. That had NOTHING to do with Bettman. It wasn't until the inflator rule was finally agreed to by the owners that the CBA finally took shape. Bettman every year has activated that inflator btw.

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yes really. The lockout happened because owners wanted a cap and the players did not. That had NOTHING to do with Bettman. It wasn't until the inflator rule was finally agreed to by the owners that the CBA finally took shape. Bettman every year has activated that inflator btw.

Sure. The commissioner is powerless and had nothing to do with the state the NHL was in for the 12 years leading up to the lockout. 2005 does not exist in a bubble where all of a sudden the owners decided "Hey! A cap would be great!". If you take a moment to explore just what led to that state of the NHL you will find a commissioner who was very culpable and a situation which could have been avoided. Otherwise, we would see a lot more lost seasons in pro sports in the past 100 years. Or perhaps this was just the first time owners and players disagreed?

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Sure. The commissioner is powerless and had nothing to do with the state the NHL was in for the 12 years leading up to the lockout. 2005 does not exist in a bubble where all of a sudden the owners decided "Hey! A cap would be great!". If you take a moment to explore just what led to that state of the NHL you will find a commissioner who was very culpable and a situation which could have been avoided. Otherwise, we would see a lot more lost seasons in pro sports in the past 100 years. Or perhaps this was just the first time owners and players disagreed?

1994-95. Bettman tried to lock in some form of "cost certainty" due to the rising salaries, but there was a degree of infighting between the owners as to what kind of control and how it should be implemented, which resulted in a lost half of a season for virtually nothing the owners wanted. In 2004-05, the owners saw more of what Bettman had seen coming, and were far more united and successful.

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