So Gary Bettman made BusinessWeek’s list of worst managers of 2004.
The owners have got to be feeling the heat. There’s no hockey. There’s no hope of hockey, and the man leading their league is widely regarded as an idiot. Not only that, but Bettman’s mismanagement of the players is making the owners look bad. As BusinessWeek said “NHL owners, an undisciplined bunch, should shoulder much of the blame for wildly bidding up salaries.” No one talked about the owners’ ineptness when hockey was on.
Of course, BusinessWeek was worried about Bettman’s ability to lead back in 1999 (login info.).
Looking back through the BusinessWeek archives, it was interesting to learn that Bettman was brought into the NHL to raise its exposure and prestige. Back in 1993, Kevin O’Malley of Turner Broadcasting told BusinessWeek “The technology of television should work hand-in-hand with Bettman…Hockey’s a great spectator sport, and [Bettman] should be able to translate that to television.”
Obviously, that didn’t happen. It didn’t even almost happen. And maybe the owners will start to realize that Bettman might not be the man to lead the league into the future.
Bob Dicesare from the Buffalo News makes a similar point. He wonders why the NHL is sitting around doing nothing instead of using the lockout to implement new rules so that when they finally re-open for business, the on-ice product is better than it was when they shut it down.