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Change Needed At The Top

from Eric Duhatschek of The Athletic,

At this juncture, there are only two paths forward.

One, which is the NHL’s usual default position, is to take the easy way out. That’s happening already, with the league and the players’ association issuing carefully worded mea culpas about what happened to Beach and promising to institute stricter measures to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again. Circulating memos to staff always ensures major changes in corporate culture, right?

The second is to find new leaders.

Sometimes, you reach a moment in time when you need a clean break from past administrations.

This feels like that moment.

After the NHL lost the entire 2004-05 season to a lockout, I wrote a column for The Globe and Mail that was headlined, “Fire Them Both.” In those days my column ran behind a paywall. I begged the editor in charge to accidentally leave the key symbolizing a paywalled story off of this one so everyone could read it. He did. The column essentially concluded that both Bettman and the then executive director of the NHLPA, Bob Goodenow, had failed at their jobs because they couldn’t negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, unnecessarily costing owners, players and fans an entire season. I argued that such a monumental failure would cost any CEO in any business their jobs. It should be the same for these two. Goodenow was ousted shortly thereafter, but Bettman has continued to run the NHL, for better or worse, since then.

Calling for change then made little difference.

It probably won’t now either.

Bettman’s hard line in those labor negotiations ushered in the NHL’s salary-cap era, and now, every transaction that happens in the league is filtered through a team’s payroll. You lose a key player, such as the Lightning did with Kucherov a year ago, and the most important person in your organization isn’t the general manager, but the accountant who devises the strategy that allows you to put a player on IR for the entire year, but have him ready to go come playoff time.

Nowadays, hockey talk isn’t about the game on the ice nearly as much as it should be.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hootinani's avatar

Thats because the game itself has done nothing but diminish under Bettman’s watch.  But he has made the owners money, which is all they care about.

Posted by Hootinani on 10/30/21 at 08:48 AM ET

Paul's avatar

I agree with Duhatschek on this.

What about you Gary? You refused to launch a league investigation, not one word of support at your State of the Union presser during SC Finals, you said nothing when Chicago attempted to discredit Kyle Beach when they made him out to be a liar and said his claims had “no merit”.

This is from player agent Allan Walsh referring to the release the NHL on coach Q resigning.

So Bettman was aware of this and spinned it in typical NHL fashion.

It would take a large protest to make the public aware of what Bettman did and you’d see the BOG begin to sweat.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/30/21 at 04:34 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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