Somehow, ESPN gets it right on Bettman:
That is a good article on explaining why Bettman is a terrible commissioner. It's not just irrational hate.
It also verifies another important point that's not being talked about when people compare this negotiation to the NFL and NBA CBA talks. Aside from the fact that the NBA also greatly increased revenue sharing in their deal, have a soft cap and a luxury tax, they're paying every single penny of player contracts that were signed before the new CBA. Only in the NHL is this considered an absolute necessity to renegotiate existing deals. And the players have even agreed to it, which didn't happen in the NBA.
Again, maybe Bettman is right. Maybe they should give some money back for the betterment of the league, but that sales job has to be the best he’s ever done. He needed to go “door to door” to each player and sell that -- if it could be sold at all. The NBA tried to sell it and it got shoved right back in their faces. No player in either of those leagues with an existing contract is making less than their contract called for after their labor issues were resolved. Under the current NHL revenue intake players are being asked to give back 12.3 percent of their current salaries, unless they can change the formula and make good on those lost wages. That’s an argument that simply can’t be made or needs to be made with a whole lot more tact. It’s breaking their contracts. Why doesn’t Bettman see how important that is to a person?
Another important point I've been trying to make that the article states well:
Let me be clear, Bettman might be right about every aspect of this fight (though he’s not), yet he’s still in the wrong. Simply put, his bedside manner has been horrific. His negotiating tactics have been awful. We’ve all forgotten what the definition of commissioner used to be. It’s faded over the last couple of decades. Call me naïve but last time I checked Bettman is the commissioner of the league. That includes the owners, players, zamboni drivers and Blackhawks Ice Girls. When exactly did the word commissioner become “puppet for the owners?” He should be held to a higher standard and that includes in the negotiating process, even if he is representing the owners.
It comes down to the part of his job as defined in the NHL constitution that is to protect the integrity and public faith in the league. There he has failed again and again.
No matter when the NHL season resumes, I hope they get rid of Bettman. If the league loses an entire season again, firing him is an absolute necessity.