You know, I’ve really kind of made my peace with the fact that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was brought in to get a hard cap.
That’s what the owners wanted, and that’s what he’s doing.
I’m just really not that comfortable with the way he’s destroying hockey to get that cap.
OK. He locked out the players and ended the season. I don’t believe it was the best move for hockey, but if that’s what he felt he needed to do to get the cap, that’s what he needed to do.
But what’s the point of pissing off ESPN? Why go and criticize your only national outlet in the states? The only national outlet that’s getting ready to dump your ass, too. How is that good for the sport? How is it that Bettman’s first call after ending the season wasn’t to ESPN to talk about the future of the sport?
It all comes down to what’s been said so many times before: Bettman just isn’t a hockey guy.
Last week Mark Everson wrote an interesting piece about creating a hockey czar. Someone above the owners and commissioners charged with protecting hockey. The person (Everson nominates Wayne Gretzky, of course) wouldn’t be a manager. The person would be more like a benevolent ruler, interceding when needed and silent when not. It’s not a bad idea. The NHL is so consumed with its finances, it’s missing that the game is falling apart.
The league is talking about those new AHL rules coming up to the NHL to increase scoring and they’re actually bragging that a guy like Jason Spezza might have 100 AHL points this season. Spezza has spent some time in the NHL. He’s a talented guy. He should have 200 points playing in a lower league like the AHL. How can you think the sport is healthy when NHL players can’t even dominate in the minors?
An experienced NHL person would know something is strange about this situation. Bettman just doesn’t see it.
He’s a businessman (supposedly). Let him handle the business side of things. But he really needs someone to pitch in and take over the hockey side of things. Otherwise we’re going to be watching NHL games on UHF stations at 3 in the morning. And guess what? The score will be 0-0.