Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/26/13 at 10:53 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Bettman’s era has brought some important positive changes to the league. Revenues have quintupled in size and player payrolls followed suit. The NHL played a series of regular-season games in Europe and Japan, broadening its global appeal. It created the successful Winter Classic, the annual outdoor game played on Jan. 1 that has caught the imagination of the U.S. TV viewing public. Television revenues have grown significantly as have league sponsorship deals. He helped stabilize wobbly franchises in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa through the Canadian currency-assistance program and enabled Minnesota and Winnipeg to get their franchises back.
Still, Bettman’s legacy will be forever coloured by the rancour and animosity of three lockouts. During the second, in 2004-05, the NHL became the only major professional sports league to lose an entire season to a labour dispute. So in spite of salary growth, many players regard him as a villain.
“The hockey has grown a lot in every which way so I think for the most part, he has been very successful – and obviously, we all appreciate that,” said the Anaheim Ducks’ Teemu Selanne, one of only a handful to play during Bettman’s entire reign.
“We – the players – are very lucky to have the lifestyle that we have. But if you ask any player, nobody’s happy that he also had three work stoppages. Obviously, that’s the only minus we are looking at from his part.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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