Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Do What’s Best For The NHL

from Jeff Blair at the Globe and Mail,

The best thing the NHL owners could do for their fans, frankly, is get rid of Bettman. Yes, the NHL has seen revenues grow from under $500 million at the beginning of his tenure to over $3 billion. But Bettman has now forced three lockouts – and make no mistake, in each case it was 100 per-cent his and ownership’s call – and in some business schools that would be seen as lousy management. This most recent lockout was out of a playbook drawn up by the New York law firm of Proskauer, Rose LLP that guided the NBA and NFL into lockouts and provided the NHL with its legal counsel, Bob Batterman.

It will be shocking, frankly, if Fehr is head of the NHLPA in a year’s time. And when his book is written, his time in that position is going to be a chapter, at most. There will be other things for him to do; he can leave knowing the NHLPA has a much better sense of self than it’s ever had, as well as the type of professional governance that, hopefully, will mitigate against undue influence from some of its alumni who spent the last three months urging the current group of players to take whatever the owners are offering. No wonder these guys ended up being stuck with a salary cap.

It will be Bettman and his wrong-hand man Daly who are the personification of this lockout, and that’s how it should be.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

bezukov's avatar

The best thing the NHL owners could do for their fans, frankly, is get rid of Bettman. Yes, the NHL has seen revenues grow from under $500 million at the beginning of his tenure to over $3 billion.

Too bad this was only about the owners enriching themselves more than ever…  not about the fans.  Bettman won’t go anywhere until he decides to himself.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/06/13 at 09:42 PM ET

Avatar

It is highly unlikely that Bettman will negotiate another CBA.

Posted by timbits on 01/06/13 at 09:46 PM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

I don’t see it happening.  Now it wouldn’t completely surprise me if it did happen.  I get the impression, that with only a few dissenters, the owners felt losing a whole season was worth it and that they got everything they wanted.  Now this time, you do have to wonder if the owners are completely happy with the outcome.  You get the feeling this was supposed to be a lightning attack, with bigger concessions, only a small loss in the season and the end of Don Fehr.  I could see the doves as unhappy with the length of the lockout and the hawks unhappy that Bettman didn’t get more concessions, but at the end of the day, I think he stays on.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 01/07/13 at 12:24 AM ET

Colossal Cap Hit's avatar

Telling the owners to get rid of him now after the CBA negotiations were finally fruitful is childish. Bettman is a good commissioner and he’s 60. He won’t negotiate the next CBA anyway.

Posted by Colossal Cap Hit on 01/07/13 at 12:31 AM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Colossal Cap Hit: ANY commissioner who loses TWO whole seasons in less than 20 years is by definition a bad commissioner. NOTHING he does can redeem himself from that fact.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 01/07/13 at 01:15 AM ET

Avatar

Colossal Cap Hit: ANY commissioner who loses TWO whole seasons in less than 20 years is by definition a bad commissioner.

Nah.  I guarantee you the owners have made way, WAY more money collectively from playing -2 seasons in the last 20 than they would have made by playing them all out under inferior terms.

And that’s what matters.

By getting from 57 to 50 Bettman (to the degree he was the one composing all the demands) pushed the owners aggregate profit/loss 224 million bucks a year to the good.

Over the full term of the CBA he made them all 2.24 billion dollars healthier.

And this was the smaller walk back on player share.  The lost season in 2005 got the PA from 73ish percent of HRR to 54 (eventually 57) percent.  All by itself that specific concession made Illtch alone somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 million bucks.  I boggle to think how much it made/limited losses for the league as a whole.

Wouldn’t surprise me at all to run the numbers and see that the 2005 and 2012 lockouts made the owners the better part of 5 billion dollars more profitable/less liable for the years between 2006 and 2022.  That might even be low.  It may be 6.

I think he’s a douchebag and a borderline incompetent, but it’s completely and totally inarguable he’s done anything but be hugely successful for the owners in financial terms.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/07/13 at 06:08 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I think he’s a douchebag and a borderline incompetent, but it’s completely and totally inarguable he’s done anything but be hugely successful for the owners in financial terms.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/07/13 at 05:08 AM ET

So then, these are perhaps two different answers to two different questions.

Is he a good commissioner for the bottom line of many of the owners that employ him? Sure. Is he a good commissioner for the fans, players, and general well-being of hockey in North America? No way.

No doubt, he answers to the owners. So objectively speaking, it is hard to skewer the guy when he’s “just doing his job.” That was the big difference for me here in round three… the realization that, at some point, you can make excuses for guys like Ilitch because you think they are better than the lockout, and you want them to be. At some point, everyone picks a side. Maybe some day the definitive report will come out that will tell us which owners wanted what, and we’ll be able to pick and choose which ones did right and which did wrong. But until then, they are all on the shit list for dragging the game through three lockouts. Sucks that Bettman seems to have pushed them in that direction, but, again, he’s just doing his job.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/07/13 at 09:48 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

If we evaluate success simply in terms of ability to make money, Pablo Escobar was one of the greatest businessmen of the twentieth century. Volkswagons produced in Germany from 1940-45 were in credibly cost efficient. Massey Energy is a highly profitable company, provided that court settlements for negligent deaths are not accounted for in the bottom line.

There’s MUCH MORE to running a sports league than feathering the nests of the employers. They’re providing a bread and circus for the Plebeians so that we can forget the day-to-day drudge and economic concerns of the world. When they lockout the fans, it puts the reality of the situation into sharp focus.  On that alone, Bettman has utterly failed. That the league won’t hold his tenure accountable for the bad PR is sad, but hey - make money, right?

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/07/13 at 11:36 AM ET

Avatar

Is he a good commissioner for the bottom line of many of the owners that employ him? Sure. Is he a good commissioner for the fans, players, and general well-being of hockey in North America? No way.

Totally agree.

That was the big difference for me here in round three… the realization that, at some point, you can make excuses for guys like Ilitch because you think they are better than the lockout, and you want them to be.

That’s why leagues have Commissioners.  To be the bad guys.

Bettman makes, what, 5 or 6 mil a year.  That’s a bargain in the minds of the owners.  That’s why we have these gag orders which have 7 figure fines attached to them.

The whole point of a commissioner is to absorb all the fecal matter thrown at a sport.  That way the individual owners are left free to be the white knights to their fans, insuring there aren’t any long term PR losses for whatever the owners decide should happen.

The way to know a Commissioner is screwing up is when you discover he’s more popular than the teams are.

There’s MUCH MORE to running a sports league than feathering the nests of the employers.

Oh, Red.  Red, Red, Red.  You poor kid.  I feel like I just ran into a 28 year old who still believes in Santa Claus.  I mean, you have to find out the truth, you can’t go your whole life believing in that kind of fancy, but I feel bad that I have to be the one to shatter that idyllic pre-conception.

There isn’t anything more to any sports league than money.  Not anymore, and probably not for 20 years or so now.  Probably longer, really.  ‘Good will’ and ‘the right thing’ only matter to anybody involved in pro sports to the degree that those ‘standards’ allow the leagues to profit from them.

Nobody does anything and expects nothing for it.  The NFL didn’t give a bleep about how awful the replacement officials were until it started to threaten their bottom line.  They don’t give a bleep about the safety of their players and their quality of life after their careers.  The NBA doesn’t give a flying damn about how many of their ex players end up destitute or how many young guys destroy their lives by chasing a draft pick rather than staying in school and getting an education.  Baseball doesn’t care how many of their players slam enough roids to give a horse 7 legs into their veins.

And none of them, I mean none of them, give two rips about what any of their fans think as long as those fans show up with their wallets open in supplication.

Never think for a moment that they do.

Enjoy sports.  In the moment it’s a great thing.  Never think the people involved, players owners coaches staff anybody, would subjugate their self-interest to yours for a second if it didn’t benefit them.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/07/13 at 12:05 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Thank you, redxblack. The notion that Bettman should ONLY be judged on how much money he made the owners is completely clueless. It disregards thousands of other people that Bettman is also responsible to. He’s the steward of the biggest stage of the game of hockey. He has been the worst commissioner in US sports history because he has lost the league more games than all the other leagues COMBINED IN HISTORY during his tenure. Ridiculous.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 01/07/13 at 12:06 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/07/13 at 11:05 AM ET

So wonderfully, characteristically condescending.

I was afraidd that your ridiculous, entertaining, misguided BS would end with the end of the lockout (the one that the players are at least equally to blam for), but luckily that hasn’t been the case.

Posted by Garth on 01/07/13 at 12:25 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

The condescension is the price for engagement, I suppose. But the point remains that sports are meant to be a distraction from economic realities, and when a league locks out its talent, it fails utterly. But if all that matters to you is money, then that’s your call. I prefer to believe we’re more than self-interested whores.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/07/13 at 02:55 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

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

 

image

image