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Bettman Deserves Credit For Growing The Game In The USA

from Jesse Spector of The Sporting News,

Gary Bettman hasn't had many reasons to smile lately, but he got one on Thursday, when the United States opened its campaign at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, with an 8-0 romp over Germany.

The NHL commissioner gets to feel a sense of pride not only because he is American, but because Team USA shows why Bettman is right to stick with a methodology that garners him an unfair amount of criticism. It isn’t about his handling of labor negotiations with the NHLPA — don’t worry, that’s still a mess — but about his larger-scale stewardship of the league.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Red Winger's avatar

Did the NHL over-reach during Bettman’s tenure? Absolutely; but that doesn’t negate the fact he has indeed grown the game, also.

And that is why he is an enigma: most hockey fans agree the game has never been more fast or more exciting than in the last decade; at the same time, these consistent work stoppages boggle the mind.

He deserves both our hate and praise. Strange, that.

I’ve seen more than a few columnists, and certainly a decent percentage of people here, claim the following:

1) the game has never been better
2) Bettman’s been the worst commissioner, ever

Those two cannot co-exist easily, because one runs the risk of simply ignoring Bettman’s position when the game is very good, and over-emphasizing his position when the game is at a standstill, like now.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/27/12 at 07:12 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

most hockey fans agree the game has never been more fast or more exciting than in the last decade;

If the game is so fast and better than it every has been, why aren’t there anymore 160pnt players anymore?

Probably much more exciting watching hockey now vs. when guys like Lemeiux and Gretzky were playing.  I know old-time hockey used to bore me with slow, uneventful, low scoring games.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/27/12 at 07:32 PM ET

Alan's avatar

I wonder if this story will mean anything come this time next year.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/27/12 at 07:58 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Red Winger, on-ice and off-ice products are different things.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 12/27/12 at 08:47 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

On a lighter note, anyone else watch the hit Datsyuk laid on Artyukhin?  Arty was PISSED, like, Thorton pissed.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/27/12 at 09:58 PM ET

gowings's avatar

“On a lighter note, anyone else watch the hit Datsyuk laid on Artyukhin?  Arty was PISSED, like, Thorton pissed.”

Would like to see it…do you have any good links?thanks

Posted by gowings from MTL on 12/27/12 at 10:16 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

if the game is so fast and better than it every has been, why aren’t there anymore 160pnt players anymore?

Lots of points don’t equate to a speedier game. Also, many hockey people tend to agree that a 7-6 game is not automatically superior to a 2-1 game.

Players are bigger, faster, stronger. Defensive schemes have lowered scoring. Goalie equipment is much larger today. Those reasons play a part in the fact we don’t have 160 pt scorers anymore.

Well ,those, and the fact Gretzky and Lemieux were once-in-a-lifetime players. smile

Red Winger, on-ice and off-ice products are different things.

Agreed, but I’m not seeing the connection to my original post.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/27/12 at 10:18 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcoSp6sk68c&feature=player_embedded

RW, all those things you mentioned are why I don’t necessarily think the game is the greatest it’s ever been.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/27/12 at 10:26 PM ET

gowings's avatar

HockeytownOverhaul:

Thank you for posting the link so quickly smile I tried via the KHL website with no success…

Posted by gowings from MTL on 12/27/12 at 10:30 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Glad to GW

Was weird to see Radulov actually give a shit about his teammates.

Guess Arty’s inner Duck was showing.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/27/12 at 10:43 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Check your KK messages GW, sending you another link.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/27/12 at 10:47 PM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

Higher scoring certainly doesn’t mean better, a 7-6 men’s league game isn’t more exciting than a 2-1 NHL game (though there is a point where less scoring isn’t better).  The talent and skill of today’s game has never been better. 

However, this has little to do with Bettman. 

He has grown the game in the US - there is no doubt.  I think the southern expansion has been good for the game.  And turned out that Versus was great.  But then you get the fact that he’s dissed ESPN and is exclusive with NBC.  And now, these lockouts are simply unforgivable and are going t

He’s like a girlfriend who might do many things great, but keeps cheating on you.  In the end, that’s unforgivable, no matter how good it is sometimes.

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 12/27/12 at 11:01 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

oh my ... where do I begin ??

first of all Red Winger ...

“the game has never been more fast or more exciting than in the last decade”

I have to disagree with that ... it may be faster because the players are bigger than they’ve ever been but more exciting ??  Yeah the shootout is a freakin’ blast ... pfffff ... instigator & 3rd man in penalties have eliminated bench clearing brawls and retaliation fights to the point where the whistle blows every 90 seconds for a high stick or a hold or a trip or a crosscheck .... yeah thats WAY more exciting ... I love watching the refs fuch up a game.

Bettman’s 2 biggest mistakes have been:

1) expanding into southern markets that will never support NHL hockey (moron tried atlanta TWICE !! ... and 2 teams in florida ?? seriously ??)

2) he hasn’t gotten owners to share ALL TV revenues (national AND local) equally.

Sharing 6.3% of TV revenues doesn’t make for a healthy league but he insists that player salary and contract length will fix things.

Bettman is by far the worst commissioner of ANY professional sport and should have been replaced years ago.

The sooner he goes away the sooner the league can fix its problems.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 12/28/12 at 01:20 AM ET

Avatar

If the game is so fast and better than it every has been, why aren’t there anymore 160pnt players anymore?

Because goalies are about 5000% better now than they were 20 years ago and equipment for goalies is 10000% better than it was 20 years ago.  And because teams actually try and play defense now.

To the point of the article, I think the sum total of Bettman’s ‘growth’ of the NHL has come from him adding 8 teams to the league.  On a per-team basis it’s not like NHL attendance now is any different than it was when he took over, indexed for population.

So, to the degree anyone thinks Bettman should be lauded for adding those clubs, there you go.

IMO the NHL is pretty much exactly where it was 20 years ago in the general sports landscape.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/28/12 at 07:20 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 12/28/12 at 12:20 AM ET

What he said ^^^^^

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 12/28/12 at 09:02 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I think we’re forgetting about the R&D camps that have toyed with both good and bad ideas in an attempt to make the game better. Those happened under Bettman’s tutelage.

Look, I’m no fan of the guy; but when the game is good people want to forget he is the Commish, or if they do remember, he is a Commish with little influence. Have a lockout, and he is the most powerful Commish in sports.

Very selective, IMO.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/28/12 at 09:05 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Hockeytown Wax, you enjoyed the clutch-and-grab NHL of before? The game that was compared to ‘players skating through mud’? The game that helped Mario decide to retire early?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/28/12 at 09:21 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Red Winger, what I mean is that it doesn’t matter if the games are better, not when games are not being played.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 12/28/12 at 09:46 AM ET

Avatar

Red Winger, what I mean is that it doesn’t matter if the games are better, not when games are not being played.

What if part of the reason that the games are better is a result of games not being played?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/28/12 at 09:48 AM ET

Avatar

Im not a Bettman hater and I believe he has done some good for the league.  However his inability to negotiate an agreement with the players negates any positives he’s accomplished.

I still can’t wrap my head around this lockout.  The NHL was making progress and growing. Bettman crushed the players last time and basically wrote the cba last time.  Now Bettman has gotten what was most important with 50-50 split and some form of Max contract.  Why continue fighting over this little stuff.  You’ve won again but are just begging the players to finally say enough is enough and start a war.

Posted by tbassett on 12/28/12 at 09:54 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

What if part of the reason that the games are better is a result of games not being played?

I must’ve missed the part when Daly talked about contract limits, revenue-sharing and clutching and grabbing.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 12/28/12 at 10:02 AM ET

Avatar

Bettman crushed the players last time and basically wrote the cba last time.

He wrote a stupid CBA.  I don’t know how many times this has to be said.  He is now trying to write the CBA he should have written last time.

If a house is burning, just because the fireman can’t figure out how to make the hose work doesn’t mean the fire doesn’t need to be extinguished, eventually.

I know, I know… ‘the NHL isn’t on fire!’

I must’ve missed the part when Daly talked about contract limits, revenue-sharing and clutching and grabbing.

Remember the pre-cap era of hockey.

Now, if one team spends 70 million dollars on players and has a bunch of skilled guys and a bunch of depth, but an opponent spends 30 million dollars on players and has maybe one or two skilled players and no depth…

... exactly what kind of hockey do you think the coach of the 30 million dollar team is going to employ in an attempt to win regular season games?

So no, you didn’t miss the part where Daly talked about that stuff.  You did, however, miss the part where you had a chance to connect it to what happens on the ice.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/28/12 at 10:40 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/28/12 at 09:40 AM ET

So because all teams spend within 15m of eachother it’s all of a sudden a better more exciting game to watch?

LOVE those EXCITING Blue Jackets.. I mean Panthers.. I mean Wild.. I mean Atl, er, Winnipeg games…

Bad management is bad management.  Giving credit to the salary cap for our current exciting hockey AND lack there-of which is to the benefit of exciting hockey??????

You wonder why people have a hard time swalling the shit you spew DALY.

Are you Gary Bettman’s alter boy here to defend them at all costs?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/28/12 at 12:55 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

  I must’ve missed the part when Daly talked about contract limits, revenue-sharing and clutching and grabbing.

Remember the pre-cap era of hockey.

Now, if one team spends 70 million dollars on players and has a bunch of skilled guys and a bunch of depth, but an opponent spends 30 million dollars on players and has maybe one or two skilled players and no depth…

... exactly what kind of hockey do you think the coach of the 30 million dollar team is going to employ in an attempt to win regular season games?


remember before you get snide about how I can’t understand your COMPLEX “logic”.  We go from clutching and grabbing to how much money a team spends vs. a team that doesnt spend as much and an ambiguous “cliff hanger” with no real point at the end, which I’m FORCED to ASSUME you mean they’ll be goons. (which is nuts because with the cap and parity most teams only have 1 or 2 stars and a bunch of support players, not goons, but whatev)  and then calling Herm stupid for not seeing what Daly and Buttman do in CBA negotiations, how they help with the on-ice product.

You’re all over the map on this one, but as long as you get to think you’re right and be condescending in the process you’re G2G yeah?  You’re a “Pierre McGuire”.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/28/12 at 01:01 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Red Winger, what I mean is that it doesn’t matter if the games are better, not when games are not being played.

Agreed, Herm. The game right now, this minute, is in shambles. However, in a more long-term view, I believe there has been growth and positive changes, though those have certainly come in a rocky and disconcerted fashion at times. Again, it all goes back to what an enigma Bettman is. For that reason alone he should resign.

Are you Gary Bettman’s alter boy here to defend them at all costs?

I know this wasn’t directed at me, but if you’re going to use immature schoolyard tactics, at least know the difference between “alter” and “altar” smile

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/28/12 at 02:00 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Because you’ve never made a typo.

And really, would an immature schoolyard tactic user REALLY be learned enough to use appropriate spelling 100% of the time??

And by the way, is that opposed to the sophisticated degradation that’s handed out here daily anymore?  Because that’s WAY more betterer.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/28/12 at 05:29 PM ET

Avatar

So because all teams spend within 15m of eachother it’s all of a sudden a better more exciting game to watch?

That’s a ridiculous misrepresentation of what I actually said, HO.

My point is that if there is a wide disparity in payroll between teams you can guarantee the cheap teams are going to play as ugly and boring a style of play as possible because that’s the only way they’ll be able to compete night in and night out against significantly superior rosters.

We know this is true because, hey, we saw exactly this play out for the better part of 15 years prior to the cap.  It didn’t bother us because the Wings were always a higher-spending team.  Detroit had the good players.

So on the one hand we have a system which guaranteed a whole bunch of teams would play incredibly boring hockey, and on the other hand we have a system which at least gives those clubs a chance to be comparably talented to their typical opposition.

Are you Gary Bettman’s alter boy here to defend them at all costs?

I have a hard time believing you’re actually that ignorant… but you are steadily convincing me.  You’ve either completely disassociated yourself from reality, you can’t read, or you just like to make things up.  I simply don’t know what other options there are for you to actually think I support the job Gary freaking Bettman has done for the NHL.

Seriously, find the most positive thing I’ve ever said about Bettman.  The most positive thing.

We go from clutching and grabbing to how much money a team spends vs. a team that doesnt spend as much and an ambiguous “cliff hanger” with no real point at the end, which I’m FORCED to ASSUME you mean they’ll be goons.

Um… are you okay?  I mean, it feels like you’re legitimately starting to slip your traces, HO.  I literally have no idea what you’re even talking about there.

and then calling Herm stupid

That’s, obviously, a lie.  What I actually said was:

“You did, however, miss the part where you had a chance to connect it to what happens on the ice.”  Because he did.  Like you have.  That doesn’t mean either of you are stupid, it just means you don’t appear to have connected those two things.  You’re apparently in ‘wild overreaction’ mode today.

And that was in general response to his comment:

“I must’ve missed the part when Daly talked about contract limits, revenue-sharing and clutching and grabbing.”

... which certainly read to me like he was being pretty snide himself.  So no, I don’t feel too terribly badly about responding in kind with regards to tone.  He’s a big boy, right?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/28/12 at 07:51 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/28/12 at 04:29 PM ET

That wasn’t a typo, my friend; you simply didn’t know the difference between “alter” and “altar”, but that’s okay. smile

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/29/12 at 12:35 PM ET

Avatar

Child molesters deserve credit for the development of the Amber Alert.

Posted by Garth on 12/29/12 at 05:46 PM ET

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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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