Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/29/12 at 11:32 AM ET
from Christopher Botta of SportsBusiness Journal at The Sporting News,
Experienced league-side executives refuse to count out Bettman, no matter how long this third lockout drags on.
Robert Caporale, an alternate governor for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1991-97, said much the same. “Gary has to lead 30 owners who, quite frankly, are not used to being led in their other businesses,” said Caporale, now chairman of Game Plan, the sports and entertainment investment banking and consultant services firm. “Ultimately, this lockout is on the owners and players. If another season is lost, Gary should not be held responsible.”
That’s seen as the case no matter the vitriol toward Bettman in these recent weeks and months. To that end, the NFL and NBA lockouts brought frequent and heavy criticism of Goodell and Stern from the players of those leagues, and while some argue those relationships have not returned to any level of pre-lockout collegiality (particularly in Goodell’s case), all parties have returned to business—whether that means playing the game or managing the operation.
Don Meehan, president of the player representation agency Newport Sports Management, believes NHL players will be civil toward Bettman and continue to promote the league’s brand whenever a new deal is reached.
“I would think that players would be able to put aside their personal feelings and understand that both Gary Bettman and (NHLPA Executive Director) Don Fehr are retained to do a difficult job,” said Meehan, whose agency represents NHL stars Steven Stamkos, Henrik Lundqvist and Jarome Iginla, among others. “In CBA negotiations, there are times when the issues allow one to be emotional and frustrated. But we have to accept and understand that is part of the process. When it is all said and done, we have to have professional respect for each other.”
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