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Abel to Yzerman

A Fan Asks Gary Bettman For Answers

Gary Bettman was willing to talk to me, a fan not a journalist, and I appreciate that.  I really do.

Anyone who follows A2Y knows that the 19 are not kind to Bettman.  We call him Li’l Gary in derision.  We thank him and then call him an ass.  Grown-up stuff like that, and worse.  Much worse.

Gary still chose to let me interview him at the Shanahan Summit.  He didn’t have to, many others wouldn’t, but he did.

And if Gary Bettman chooses to speak with me again, and I hope he does, I want him to understand his interviews will always be given fair coverage at Abel to Yzerman.  Nothing will be taken out-of-context.  Ever.

Gary Bettman, and everybody else, will always be given a fair and biased forum at A2Y to voice their ideas, opinions, and rebuttals. We are passionate Red Wings fans, and extremely biased, yet will treat everyone fairly who comes to talk with us.  Once you had a chance to voice your opinion, the 19 will tell you what they think about it.  They always do.

After the jump, my interview with Gary Bettman.  Unedited.  I comment on the interview later, for now you will hear it as it happened.

If you do end up reading this: Thanks Gary.


If you wish to download the .mp3, here it is.

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Comments

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MarkK's avatar

Definitely looking forward to listening to this when I get home tonight.  Bartender, be careful or the Diggers will be asking for recruitment of a new chapeau-adorned captain.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 08/20/10 at 02:32 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Damnit, I can’t listen to this at work.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/20/10 at 02:36 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

This is excellent. I have to give Li’l Gary lots of credit for doing this. Fact is, his answers are shit, he dodges most questions, and his tone and attitude is extremely pompous and arrogant, as usual. But he deserves a lot of props for doing an interview with a blog, being willing to go off the beaten path, and actually take up some real “fan” type of questions.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/20/10 at 02:45 PM ET

Lola's avatar

Listening now! Thank you, Bartender, for stepping up to the challenge (and the Emperor for asking him to do it.) And even thanks to Gary for being willing to go through with it. Just this once, I’m leaving the “Ass.” off his title.

Now, who wants to remix this into a Billboard-charting hip-hop song? Anybody?

Posted by Lola from down by the bay on 08/20/10 at 02:47 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

“I don’t know why people talk about the upcoming CBA negotiations” (or semething like that). Don’t you? Maybe we’re scared to death, dammit.

Other than that, amazing job, VooX. You made as hell proud, conducted the interview very well and the last question was very good. Gary sounded honest, dumb but not stupid. I would’ve liked to hear more about international broadcasting contracts, but I know I’m alone on that subject.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/20/10 at 02:52 PM ET

GrahamWIIM's avatar

Ha ha ha - fantastic job on asking whether he had ever paid for a game.

Whenever I hear Gary talk, I just feel like I am in kindergarten getting scolded by the principal. The condescension just seems to come really easily to him.

Fantastic job, VooX. It was very professional, even if you were able to get a couple of jabs in. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the interview.

Posted by GrahamWIIM from Chicago via Toronto on 08/20/10 at 02:53 PM ET

hiero4life's avatar

Great job Voox.

Posted by hiero4life from anywhere i am on 08/20/10 at 02:56 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Fact is, his answers are shit, he dodges most questions, and his tone and attitude is extremely pompous and arrogant, as usual.

Did you expect anything different? He said more that I expected, so I’m cool with that.

This interview crowns (or maybe H2H2 will crown) the best blogging stretch in the NHL’s history(!). NOHS on tv, release of TOV, H2H, Malik leaving Mlive to come to us and the team invinting bloggers (SSDD, TTD among others) to games, and now this. Congratulations to us.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/20/10 at 02:59 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Ass.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 08/20/10 at 02:59 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Nice job VooX…..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/20/10 at 02:59 PM ET

Jennemy of the Skate's avatar

Can someone please transcribe it? Because if I have to listen to his voice, I might have to poke out my own ear drums… just sayin’.

Posted by Jennemy of the Skate from the bar car on the stress train on 08/20/10 at 03:15 PM ET

eyesris's avatar

Awesome interview VooX.

Personally, this interview and the manner in which Gary responded to some, if not most, of the questions only cements my feelings towards him. Ass.

Posted by eyesris from Asheville, NC on 08/20/10 at 03:20 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i do believe that lil guy called you “naive”...

that’s not very nice.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 08/20/10 at 03:23 PM ET

Jennemy of the Skate's avatar

Awesome interview VooX.

Personally, this interview and the manner in which Gary responded to some, if not most, of the questions only cements my feelings towards him. Ass.

Posted by eyesris from Asheville, NC on 08/20/10 at 01:20 PM ET

I tried to listen, really i did… I got about as far as the Versus stuff and couldn’t take anymore. You were great VooX, but I agree with eyesris. What an ass.

Posted by Jennemy of the Skate from the bar car on the stress train on 08/20/10 at 03:23 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

A perfect example of what’s wrong with Gary.

He chose to use the word “naive” when asked about the UFC situation.

I actually think his underlying point and answer was very fair, but he phrases everything in such a condescending, arrogant manner.

He could’ve given the same answer in a way such as: “You know, I personally don’t think that a single event from any perspective is the reason the deal got done. Given the complexity of the negotiations since Comcast is both the owner of Versus and a competing provider, I think that attributing a resolution to a single event is unfair to the rest of the process.”

But nope, he has to call people naive. Way to go Gary…

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/20/10 at 03:26 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I am just finishing a tuna on rye sandwich and am going to have to wait to listen.  As soon as I heard not just his voice but his answers I could feel a groundswell of bile beginning to build.  I paid good money for this sandwich and I don’t want to lose it.

Beauty job, v00x, I’ll listen later today.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 08/20/10 at 03:33 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

wowie wow wow. Great fuching questions VooX. Well done, to come chest to face with an evil dwarf takes much skill.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 08/20/10 at 03:34 PM ET

Jennemy of the Skate's avatar

wowie wow wow. Great fuching questions VooX. Well done, to come chest to face with an evil dwarf takes much skill.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from the poopship. on 08/20/10 at 01:34 PM ET

Nah… belt buckle, at best.

Posted by Jennemy of the Skate from the bar car on the stress train on 08/20/10 at 03:39 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Not everyone agrees with you that the KHL is thriving

Hahaha! I love that answer and agree with Gary.

Great interview. Thanks 19!

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/20/10 at 03:40 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Not everyone agrees with you that the KHL is thriving

I actually agree with Gary on this one, as well. But just the way he answers, he’s such a doucher.

He could’ve just as easily said, “I’m confident that our league is the best in the world, and I do not believe the KHL is as healthy as the NHL.” The non-*#$%@& version of the answer. Everything he says is stand-off-ish.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/20/10 at 03:43 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

He could’ve just as easily said, “I’m confident that our league is the best in the world, and I do not believe the KHL is as healthy as the NHL.” The non-*#$%@& version of the answer. Everything he says is stand-off-ish.

But I like that about him.

That’s exactly how VooX would have said it and I don’t mind a commissioner with some swagger.
I love the NHL and it’s players, but normally we get the same BS answer “We didn’t get the bounces”, “You have to work for a full 60 minutes”, blah, blah, blah.

It’s nice to get some real quotes once in a while.

I’m no Bettman apologist, but I can’t say he’s not entertaining. He did do an interview with a relatively unknown blogger. He’s also on XM with his own show. How subjective it is, is up for debate.

However, I don’t think you’d see Roger Goodell or Bud Selig doing this anytime soon.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/20/10 at 03:49 PM ET

Avatar

Long time listener, first time caller…

I’m the last person (in a looonnnngggg line of persons) that will defend this guy but I think Bettman sounds a bit standoffish all the time because in most situations and interviews, he is being attacked for the product out on the ice.  Lets face it, hockey isn’t the glamour sport of choice for the general media and that’s the way most of us like it (us as in hockey fans).  Hockey is always forgotten and disgarded as the “other” sport, at least when the Olympics aren’t taking place.  Sports reporting and news outlets don’t take the NHL seriously and they never have.  He is well aware of that fact and I think he takes the approach going into these things that he is going to get bamboozled.  Plus, he and his handlers have probably rehearsed questions and topical responses until the cows come home so he knows how to formulate a generically bland, cookie-cutter answer.

It would be great to see more “alternative” reporting sources getting access to league officials and being granted the same opportunities as the “legitimate press”.  That seems to be the only way a fan is going to hear the real story the way it needs to be told, unabridged, unbiased, and unedited. 

Great job on this one VooX!

Posted by dogfacedgremlin on 08/20/10 at 04:12 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Above all else:  I’m running out of superlatives but absolutely superb work, VooX.  Aggressive and fearless questioning asked in as a polite manner as possible (if that’s even possible).  Thanks!

Thanks, Gary.  You’re still a dodgy sonuvabitch.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/20/10 at 04:14 PM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

I actually agree with Hank, Gary did an alright interview.  Voox, great job getting the interview and good work during it.  Not exactly the questions I would have asked, but I didn’t submit any, so that’s my own problem there. 

Great work again.

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 08/20/10 at 04:14 PM ET

jennyquarx's avatar

I’ve been waiting for this.  You did a great job, VooX.  Very professional.  Loved your questions.  Didn’t much care for the answers, particularly the UFC “naive” comment.  But whatever.  That was still pretty cool and I can’t wait to read your comments.  Thanks for all of this.

Posted by jennyquarx on 08/20/10 at 04:17 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i would have asked him if it’s bad for the game for national audiences to hear rampant booing every year when he steps on the ice to present the cup. it’s one common thread that seems to tie fans of every team together… we all boo Bettman at the end of the season.

it can’t be a good thing when the ENTIRE fanbase of a sport boos the commissioner as universally bad for the game. i’m surprised over the years that more owners haven’t started to agree. i know his role is essentially the “agent” for the team owners and to that group, it’s all about money. but, you have to think there’s someone out there who can be enough of an ass to the players and their union (thereby supporting the owners) but still maintain some level of public respect. i don’t think there’s really anyone in hockey who has all that much respect for the little weasel.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 08/20/10 at 04:25 PM ET

Brooklyn Deuce's avatar

Well done VooX. You were polite but dogged in your pursuit.

I agree with Nathan that Bettman’s prickly responses could have (should have) been handled with more tact through positive answers. He (Bettman) may feel that much of the criticism he receives is unfair (I don’t believe it is) as he is the face of league governance but his own sneering attitude brings so much of the vitriol down on him. A less defensive attitude would no doubt curb much of the hostility towards him.

Still though, I respect the hell out of the fact that he actually took the interview and provided time to a blogger from a blog known to despise him. I can’t imagine any of the commissioners of the other leagues EVER doing such a thing for even an interview that would be groveling towards them.

Posted by Brooklyn Deuce from Fauborg Marigny on 08/20/10 at 04:26 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...his tone and attitude is extremely pompous and arrogant, as usual.

Nathan is 100% correct. I think it’s genetic with this little prick. He can’t help himself, and it’s one reason why he gets booed every single time he makes an appearance. But, in reality, I think he hates the fans as much as the fans hate him.

Lil’ Gary knows he only has to please the owners in order to keep his job. The fans, the media and “the fan’s media” (aka Voox) are simply entities to be tolerated. He may have surprised a few people when he gave Voox the interview – but I don’t think his condescending attitude surprised anyone.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/20/10 at 04:30 PM ET

Twig in Houston's avatar

you lie!

Posted by Twig in Houston from Houston, TX on 08/20/10 at 04:32 PM ET

ITDeuce's avatar

Nice job again Voox.  I think you give Gary a little too much credit though.  He has nothing to lose in an interview where he is going to give horseshit answers where he dodges the questions.  The guy is a no load fuch who’s interests are fiscal, and not necessarily (rarely) based on what is good for “the game”.

And he likes to tongue punch Rosby’s fart box.  (Thanks Tosh.0)

Posted by ITDeuce from The Sunny High Desert on 08/20/10 at 04:33 PM ET

Avatar

Well done. Polite but to the point in your tactics. Really enjoyed the interview.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 08/20/10 at 04:57 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Wow.  Already the best hockey blogspot on the planet.  Then Malik jumps on board, and now this epic series of stuff from the resident bartender!!  Clearly the place to be—especially for DRW fans. 

Oh, and Lil Gary continues to be exactly who we thought he was.  Kudos to him for consenting to the interview I suppose, but beyond that, pretty much the same ole condescending verbal diarrhea! 

Still though, awesome job VooX!!!

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/20/10 at 05:43 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

How did you avoid slapping him in the mouth for suggesting you’re naive?

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 08/20/10 at 05:43 PM ET

Jennemy of the Skate's avatar

How did you avoid slapping him in the mouth for suggesting you’re naive?

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 08/20/10 at 03:43 PM ET

He didn’t want to have to reach down that far?

Posted by Jennemy of the Skate from the bar car on the stress train on 08/20/10 at 05:46 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Great Job Voox

A lot less violence than I would have appreciated, but awesome nonetheless.

Oh, and I don’t care if he’s willing to do interviews, or pretend to answer questions. He’s still an ass.

Fuch you Gary. Fuch you in your shiny purple ass.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 08/20/10 at 05:57 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Fuch you Gary. Fuch you in your shiny purple ass.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 08/20/10 at 03:57 PM ET

I suppose you could make the case that he has over-acheived…for a baboon.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/20/10 at 06:06 PM ET

ChristineRWBNB's avatar

Wow, it somehow doesn’t matter what he says, the way he says it is so offensive that he could be chanting the words to the black mass and not make me believe he’s any more evil than I already do. His fangs just drip with pomposity. It seriously turns my stomach.

But kudos to Voox for an awesome job. And to manage to hold back the urge to vomit for all those questions.

Posted by ChristineRWBNB on 08/20/10 at 06:49 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

But kudos to Voox for an awesome job. And to manage to hold back the urge to vomit for all those questions.

Posted by ChristineRWBNB on 08/20/10 at 04:49 PM ET

Thanks,Gary. Ass.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 08/20/10 at 06:56 PM ET

Since71's avatar

Well done Voox, you did the 19 proud.

Posted by Since71 from Bucharest, Romania on 08/20/10 at 07:38 PM ET

Krononymous's avatar

I think the “naive” comment says a lot about the man and his perception of NHL fans in general.  He answers questions like an attorney; admits, confirms, and denies nothing.  There are a lot of words coming out of his mouth but they have no real meaning.  It’s a verbal shell game and he’s betting that we’ll lose the ball. 

I’d like to give him credit for doing the interview but I can’t help thinking he thought he was just being magnanimous.  I think he sounded more than a little peeved at the impertinence of some of Voox’s questions.  Well done , sir!

Posted by Krononymous on 08/20/10 at 07:49 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com