Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Goodbye Mr. Bettman

from Bruce Dowbiggin at the Globe and Mail,

While he doesn’t score goals or drop in front of shots, Bettman is one of the five most recognized names in the business. Presumably it’s his kisser that sponsors and broadcasters conjure up when they think of the NHL. But he’s also the face of three owner-generated lockout in 18 years. And you’re going to get him to sell fans and business people on accepting the Vegemite sandwich of a reduced season and compressed schedule?

We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. Bill Simmons of Grantland calls him NBA commissioner “David Stern’s mole with direct orders to turn hockey into a second-class sport.” Simmons goes on: “At this point, Bettman would lose any election to any human being with even rudimentary hockey connections unless it was the actor who played Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson in D2: The Mighty Ducks .”

As much as we might like Bettman (come on, somebody out there likes him ) how do you say that it’s business as usual when he and Don Fehr get done back-diving and forward averaging the business?

Let us give you an analogy. There’s a bus company in our town that had a tragic crash a few years ago. People died. Such was the desire of the bus company to put the tragedy behind them that they changed the name of their company! And they got rid of the driver.

The NHL can’t change its name, but it can change the driver of its bus after it went it into the ditch yet again. Maybe one of the networks will hire Bettman as an analyst on their infinitesimal panels, the way they do the defrocked coaches and GMs. “I must say I really like their active sticks, Mr. Duthie...” 

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Comments

Keyser S.'s avatar

Part of the bettman problem is this, nhl teams have a lot of turnover in owners. A new owner coming into the mix may defer to bettman because he’s been there before. And consequently, bettman may feel like he is the face of the nhl. Why else would he hand the stanley cup over even though he gets booed very badly every single time. I don’t think this is the nhl owners vs the players, I think it’s a few vocal owners and bettman vs the players.

Posted by Keyser S. on 10/24/12 at 08:42 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Part of the bettman problem is this, nhl teams have a lot of turnover in owners. A new owner coming into the mix may defer to bettman because he’s been there before. And consequently, bettman may feel like he is the face of the nhl. Why else would he hand the stanley cup over even though he gets booed very badly every single time. I don’t think this is the nhl owners vs the players, I think it’s a few vocal owners and bettman vs the players.

Oh good, so now most of the owners are absolved from blame as well, it’s just a few of them and the rest are being held hostage, so we really have no reason to be angry at any of that amorphous group.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 10/24/12 at 08:52 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

You could have a large group of owners that would like to replace Bettman to get a fresh perspective into the room, but Bettman only needs a few allies to keep them from ousting him. So, that’s the biggest problem. It isn’t strictly majority rule. And even at this stage, I doubt that there’s a majority that would want to replace him.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/24/12 at 08:53 AM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

Oh good, so now most of the owners are absolved from blame as well, it’s just a few of them and the rest are being held hostage, so we really have no reason to be angry at any of that amorphous group.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 10/24/12 at 09:52 AM ET

That’s really not what I’m saying at all. Of course most owners would want to make more money, although some probably feel it’s more of a hobby than a profit generator, and I’m sure a lot of owners don’t want the lockout even though it was a full count for the lockout that showed solidarity more than anything. But this has gotten out of hand now. And while you can’t give bettman all the blame, he’s the one in control of the owners.

Posted by Keyser S. on 10/24/12 at 09:03 AM ET

Avatar

Well, Bettman made Detroit 100+ mil from the last lockout and is going to make them 40-60 mil from this one.

I understand why players and fans hate Bettman.  He killed the NHLPA before and is going to kill them again, so the players hate his guts.  He’s been in the forefront of three work stoppages and is personally detestable, so the fans hate his guts.

The owners?  They love the guy.  They should.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/24/12 at 09:03 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

And even at this stage, I doubt that there’s a majority that would want to replace him.
Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/24/12 at 09:53 AM ET

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/24/12 at 10:03 AM ET

The owners?  They love the guy.  They should.

Well, this was really my point - just because it might be a few owners who are controlling the lockout, it doesn’t mean the other owners have a problem following along, or even agree with the loudest faction.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 10/24/12 at 09:08 AM ET

Avatar

Well, Bettman made Detroit 100+ mil from the last lockout and is going to make them 40-60 mil from this one.

Really?  Bettman made them that money?

You know, Detroit is a great example because a) they never ever ever ever ever have been big spenders, never even coming close to the cap ever and weren’t among the first to “circumvent” the cap with long-term deals, and they’re always complaining about not making enough profit.

Posted by Garth on 10/24/12 at 09:30 AM ET

Avatar

The owners?  They love the guy.  They should.

Yeah?  Because they’re all trying to make a profit yet apparently five out of every six of them is losing money?

Yeah, they should totally love him.

Posted by Garth on 10/24/12 at 09:35 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Garth - it isn’t cap circumvention to front load a contract should the contract actually go the duration. Detroit has loyalty and enjoys having the same players in place for long stretches. They aren’t offering long term deals past the point where people are likely to retire. They’re offering them to young stars who will likely be considering whether or not to retire when the contract expires.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/24/12 at 09:39 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I dunno, watching Mule and Z last year and the fact they have 8-9 years left on those deals respectively.  Hope Z can make at least 80 pnts for a few more years, would like to get home-ice advantage at least every other year for the rest of the decade.

Hope Franzen didn’t peak already either, all of 2 or 3 years into the deal.  He’s still supposed to have a good 2 or 3 in him.

But it probably looked damned good when the whole team was competing and they were getting real sniffs at the cup.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/24/12 at 12:14 PM ET

Avatar

You know, Detroit is a great example because a) they never ever ever ever ever have been big spenders

Wasn’t Detroit’s payroll, like, $70 million before the salary cap came to be?  So they got a massive cut in player costs immediately when it was instituted.

Not calling anyone out, just asking if I am remembering this correctly (maybe not).  If it is true, then, yeah, it kind of seems that the last lockout (and by extension, Gary Bettman) provided the Detroit ownership (and all the big-time spenders at that time, such as the Rangers, etc.) with some serious additional cash.

Posted by Lex Talionis on 10/24/12 at 12:25 PM ET

Avatar

Really?  Bettman made them that money?

Sure.  He took them from spending 70ish mil a year on salaries to 39, 44, 50, 57, 57,  59, 64 and then finally 70.  And that’s if Detroit spent to the cap every season (which they obviously haven’t).

8 years at 70ish = ~560 mil in salaries.
8 years at the cap ceiling = ~440 mil in salaries.

~560 mil - ~440 mil = ~120 mil.

To clarify, that means Detroit spent around 120 mil less in salaries over the past 8 years while their revenues were at least constant.

Same revenue with lower player expenses = more money in the piggy bank.

And that presumes for the moment that future salary levels would have topped out at 70.  The Wings spent 77.8 a couple years before the lockout, so that’s an assumption which likely shades the profit gained from the lockout rather low.

You know, Detroit is a great example because a) they never ever ever ever ever have been big spenders, never even coming close to the cap ever and weren’t among the first to “circumvent” the cap with long-term deals, and they’re always complaining about not making enough profit.

I don’t think you’re quite grasping the point.  I think it’s pretty obvious that the reason NHL owners love Bettman is that he made some of them a boatload of money from the last CBA.  I pointed out approximately what he saved the Wings in salary costs by having a hard cap.

Of course Detroit is a team which is going to spend fairly heavily.  I don’t exactly see what dots you are attempting to connect with that obvious statement of fact, though.

Yeah?  Because they’re all trying to make a profit yet apparently five out of every six of them is losing money?

I don’t believe you’re viewing the financial environment very clearly here.

The big market owners love Bettman because, like Detroit, the last CBA made them a bunch of cash because it limited their salary costs for 8 years relative to the previous situation.

The small market owners love Bettman because he instituted a RS program where on didn’t exist before, so free money for them.

The middle-market owners love Bettman because he instituted a hard cap which brought the big market teams back down to a comparable financial level, at least for a while.

There are assuredly reasons for owners in each of those three stratas to dislike the job Bettman has done.  The money thing will most likely drown out those other concerns, at least in the short-ish term.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/24/12 at 12:53 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