Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/07/05 at 06:40 PM ET
The panelists were asked if their sports, all arms of the entertainment industry, are in a similar situation to that of the movies and theater, where child actors have been a mainstay for many years. Why not simply abide by existing labor laws and let an immensely gifted player compete regardless of age? Bettman - whose league features brutal checks and on-ice fights and does not allow a player to enter its draft before 18 - considered the theatrical analogy. "We don't have stunt doubles," he said. From LeBron James to Maria Sharapova, from Michelle Wie to Freddy Adu. The age-old question, once strictly the province of parents, now cuts across big-time sports: What to do about the kids? Bettman, whose league boasts the likes of 18-year-old Sidney Crosby and 20-year-old Alexander Ovechkin, is troubled by the relentless hype placed on phenoms, and the burden of having to carry a team or a market without ever having stepped onto an NHL rink. "It's a question of expectations," he said. "More often than not that doesn't materialize." He added: "I'm more concerned with the guys who were expected to deliver and wound up with mediocre careers."
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