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Respect for Bettman

What’s The Thing You Secretly Respect Gary Bettman For The Most?

“The fact he comes out to present the Conn Smythe trophy and Stanley Cup, knowing he’s going to get booed and heckled mercilessly, and yet carries on with his little speeches and presentations as if there’s nothing amiss.

“Could any of us go out there and face that avalanche of verbal abuse from 18, 000 fans who hate your guts? I doubt it. Say what you will about Bettman, and I believe he deserves most of the criticism he gets, but I respect that he doesn’t shy away from the Cup presentation ceremony, even when he knows he’s going to be heaped with abuse. Especially if he’s making the presentation to the visiting team.”

—Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey, in his interview at Puck Daddy

Maybe this is an interesting question for all of us.  It’s so easy to criticize Bettman, but if pressed, could you share something you actually respect him for?

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

Comments

bezukov's avatar

Maybe this is an interesting question for all of us.  It’s so easy to criticize Bettman, but if pressed, could you share something you actually respect him for?

I think the profits the NHL has seen over the past few years speak for themselves.  I’ll give the guy that.  I just don’t know how much respect the guy actually has for the game and what happens on the ice.

“The fact he comes out to present the Conn Smythe trophy and Stanley Cup, knowing he’s going to get booed and heckled mercilessly, and yet carries on with his little speeches and presentations as if there’s nothing amiss.

I have no respect for that part.  Its kind of a shame to me that its always pandemonium during the Stanley Cup presentation (in bad way) b/c Bettman won’t step aside and let someone else emcee the presentation.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/03/11 at 07:40 PM ET

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“The fact he comes out to present the Conn Smythe trophy and Stanley Cup, knowing he’s going to get booed and heckled mercilessly, and yet carries on with his little speeches and presentations as if there’s nothing amiss”

He is the head honcho of the league.  Who else is supposed to present the championship trophy of the sport?  It’s not like there is a choice.

Posted by Bob from St. Louis on 08/03/11 at 08:00 PM ET

awould's avatar

I’d skip and do somersaults out to present the Cup in front of rabid, me-hating crowds if I collected Bettman’s paycheck. I think he’s a smug little ass who relishes people hating him because it validates something to him. Who knows.

Posted by awould on 08/03/11 at 08:02 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Who else is supposed to present the championship trophy of the sport?

Actually I think it would be very tasteful to have ex-Cup winners or Hall of Famers make the Cup presentation.  I’m sure you could get people like Gretzky, Howe, Orr, etc. to do it.  I would have been a very nice touch to have Orr, just for example, present the Cup to the Bruins this past year.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/03/11 at 08:23 PM ET

whateverman's avatar

Its easy to take abuse from 18,000 fans when you’re making millions of dollars doing the job that they all hate you for.

Posted by whateverman on 08/03/11 at 09:04 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

What do I respect Bettman for?

Hmmm… getting a (supposedly) human female to marry his Pee-Wee Herman-looking creeper-vibe giving ass?

Yeah, that’s about all I’ve got.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/11 at 09:25 PM ET

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I’d respect him if he showed up and answered questions in interviews.

He’s been booed since the start, he’s used to it, it’s no scales off his back.

Posted by NathanBC on 08/03/11 at 09:29 PM ET

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He’s more accessible than any major sports league president in the country. He doesn’t shy away from the tough questions in any way. In fact, he’s the only top league leader with a weekly sport talk show where he answers questions from the fans. And doesn’t pull any punches. The league is healthier now, under his watch…than at any time in the history of the game. And he deserves all our respect.

Posted by Bushay from Detroit on 08/03/11 at 10:39 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

He’s more accessible than any major sports league president in the country.

Mark Cuban and Ted Leonsis are “accessible”.  They’re also asshats.

He doesn’t shy away from the tough questions in any way.

No, instead he continuously attacks the person asking the tough questions and asks instead where he’s getting his ideas from because nothing in Bettman’s world indicates what the majority of hockey fans might think.

The league is healthier now, under his watch…than at any time in the history of the game.

Just don’t tell that to Atlanta, Phoenix, Long Island, St. Louis, Dallas, or Columbus.

And don’t tell that to Crosby, Savard, or Perron either.  In fact, don’t make any loud noises around them.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/11 at 10:52 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

And he deserves all our respect.

How do we know you aren’t a mole paid by Bettman?  (Just kidding my man).

Just don’t tell that to Atlanta, Phoenix, Long Island, St. Louis, Dallas, or Columbus.

And don’t tell that to Crosby, Savard, or Perron either.  In fact, don’t make any loud noises around them.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/11 at 08:52 PM ET

That’s too true JJ, and cleverly stated.  Kudos.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/03/11 at 10:59 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

but I respect that he doesn’t shy away from the Cup presentation ceremony, even when he knows he’s going to be heaped with abuse.

Because he figures that the cup hides his monkey butler frame from half the crowd.

If I ever met the guy in person I’d give him a strong handshake and the evil eye that would turn into a bro hug with me whispering in his ear that I’d be waiting outside, along with heavy breathing.

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 08/03/11 at 11:12 PM ET

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STANLEY CUP FINAL SETS VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES

The 2011 Stanley Cup set numerous viewership milestones and records, including the highest average North American viewership for any Stanley Cup Final in history – 11.5 million viewers (records go back to 1994). Game 7 of the series led the way, averaging a record 18.3 million viewers in the U.S. and Canada, also a North American viewership record for any NHL game on record.

Game 7 drew 8.54 million viewers on NBC in the U.S., the best for any NHL game in 38 years, up three percent over last year’s deciding Game 6 and seven percent over Game 7 in 2009. In Canada, the 8.76 million viewers on CBC for Game 7 is an all-time best for any NHL game on the network and the second most-watched sports program ever on CBC, behind only the 2002 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Final between USA and Canada (8.96 million). The 8.76 million viewers is a 148-percent increase over the last Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in 2009 (Pittsburgh-Detroit, 3.528 million viewers). On French-language RDS, the game attracted 1.043 million viewers, 50-percent higher than the last Game 7 to feature a Canadian team (2006: Edmonton-Carolina, 695,000 viewers).

CBC averaged 6.153 million viewers over the seven-games series, the best ever for CBC, a 98-percent increase over last year’s Final (3.10 million viewers) and an 186 percent increase over the last seven-game Final in 2009 (2.154 million viewers).

The Stanley Cup Final seven game series (Games 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 on NBC and Games 3, 4 on VERSUS) averaged 4.6 million viewers and a household rating of 2.7/5, surpassing the 2004 series (3.3 million, 2.2/4 on ABC/ESPN) as the most-watched combined network/cable Stanley Cup involving a Canadian team ever and up 39 percent from that series. The combined viewership was up 160 percent over the last Final with a Canadian team (Ottawa-Anaheim, 1.76 million viewers).

The Bruins’ first title since 1972 energized Beantown with the Boston market averaging a 28.1/44 rating for the seven games (five on NBC and two on VERSUS), 12 percent higher than the Boston Celtics’ seven-game average in Boston on ABC for last year’s NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers (25.0/40). The 43.4/64 for Game 7 was the best-ever rating for an NHL game in Boston.

Posted by Bushay from Detroit on 08/03/11 at 11:15 PM ET

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Or maybe this may help you a little.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=559630

Posted by Bushay from Detroit on 08/03/11 at 11:22 PM ET

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>Mark Cuban and Ted Leonsis are “accessible”.  They’re also asshats.


Bettman runs the league. He doesn’t own a hockey team.

>No, instead he continuously attacks the person asking the tough questions and asks instead where he’s getting his ideas from because nothing in Bettman’s world indicates what the majority of hockey fans might think.


I certainly hope your not referring to the night he embarrassed Ron Mclean on HNIC for acting like a total idiot in front of a national audience.


>Just don’t tell that to Atlanta, Phoenix, Long Island, St. Louis, Dallas, or Columbus.

You mean cause their numbers are down in those towns?

Funny how you omit the other side of that coin and leave out the programs that had sensational numbers. As in Boston, Washington,San Jose,Tampa Bay and Nashville. Not to mention as always stellar numbers in Detroit Philly, Montreal and Toronto. Nice try.


>Just don’t tell that to Atlanta, Phoenix, Long Island, St. Louis, Dallas, or Columbus.

Was referring to the health of the league. Not the 3 ballerinas who got caught skating with their head down last season and ruined their careers.

Posted by Bushay from Detroit on 08/03/11 at 11:34 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Was referring to the health of the league. Not the 3 ballerinas who got caught skating with their head down last season and ruined their careers.

You could have saved yourself a lot of typing and me a lot of reading if you had led off with this instead.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/11 at 11:38 PM ET

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Just don’t tell that to Atlanta, Phoenix, Long Island, St. Louis, Dallas, or Columbus.

And don’t tell that to Crosby, Savard, or Perron either.  In fact, don’t make any loud noises around them.a

Yes, of course GB is to be blamed for player concussions, injuries, dilapidated arenas, Long Island voters, various franchisee business decisions, worldwide economic climate, etc.
This is typical stupidity from fans.  The fact is if we owned a monetary stake in the NHL itself, we would be all very happy with the job he has done so far.
And just as a reminder, GB cannot do anything without approval of the BOG.

Posted by Bob from St. Louis on 08/03/11 at 11:41 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yes, of course GB is to be blamed for player concussions, injuries, dilapidated arenas, Long Island voters, various franchisee business decisions, worldwide economic climate, etc.

As the commissioner of the league and the boss of the guy who makes the decisions which impact player injuries, he sure as hell CAN be blamed for that.

Also, as the commissioner who greenlighted Boots Del Baggio, lied to Moyes, threatened Karmanos on television, and has otherwise made a lot of decisions that he didn’t have to get BOG approval on, I feel pretty confident in blaming him for just as much as Uncle Tom up there wants to credit him for television ratings.  Because it’s always smart to assume that something happened BECAUSE of Bettman instead of IN SPITE of him.

The fact is if we owned a monetary stake in the NHL itself, we would be all very happy with the job he has done so far.

I don’t own a monetary stake in the NHL itself and neither do you.  My job as the fan is to enjoy the game of hockey and to love the heart and soul of the very game itself.  My job is not to pour over ratings reports and Forbes’ financial data and say to myself “Wheee! Carolina had better ratings this year than they did last season!”  The real typical stupidity is to say that the game is earning money as that’s something that the fans should be rooting for over the quality of the product and the integrity of the game.  I like Mike Ilitch very much and I want him to make a profit, but I don’t particularly care if he’s going to make $1M more by having the Cup Finals start two days after the end of the Conference Finals and go back-to-back games (causing one team to have to play three playoff games in four nights) because that was the right financial decision.

And don’t fool yourself about Gary Bettman having to ask permission from 30 owners before doing anything. He’s basically given blanket permission for a lot of the stupid little decisions without having to ask Papa Ted and 29 other cronies whether it’s ok to let his best bud “set a precedent” with Matt Cooke and then go back to the old way of handing out supplemental discipline by throwing a goddamn dart at a wheel.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/11 at 11:50 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The truth about laying blame or credit on Bettman lays somewhere between you idiot apologists and my cronyist whining.

I just don’t view the league’s financial success (relative) as anything resembling a statement on the overall health of the game.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/11 at 11:57 PM ET

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idiot apologists?

Granted it may not be a sports franchise but I also am a franchisee in a different type of business so I understand a little about the complexities with franchised business models.  All this specualtion about GB lying to Moyes, Boots Del Bagio, Karmanos, etc. is just specualtion on your part.  No matter what you say, you are NOT privy to any special information as neither am I, so no need to post a retort “proving” your point.

Also, he may be the commish but altering the physcality of the game by making it less violent invlolves more than GB.  Clearly the NHLPA has a say in these types of decisions and they are usually opposed to moves of such nature. 

The bottom line is if the finacial health of the league is solid then we as fans get to enjoy the game.  And since obviously the NHL is really more of a business than a game, GB is doing his job.  you may disagree but the ones who pay his large salary certainly do not.

Posted by Bob from St. Louis on 08/04/11 at 12:44 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

I’ve never seen people defend a commissioner of any league with so much gusto.  Cheers.  I still think you guys are on Bettman’s payroll.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/04/11 at 12:47 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

All this specualtion about GB lying to Moyes, Boots Del Bagio, Karmanos, etc. is just specualtion on your part.

It’s speculation based on news stories from sources I trust.  But you’re right that it is speculation.  So is any opinion that sits on the concept that he’s never lied to an owner, let a criminal buy part of a club without doing due-diligence, and threatened an owner on live television (which isn’t speculation, it’s something that I outright witnessed at this year’s All-Star festivities).

Also, he may be the commish but altering the physcality of the game by making it less violent invlolves more than GB.  Clearly the NHLPA has a say in these types of decisions and they are usually opposed to moves of such nature.

That is a very good point and one with which I agree.  The next time Paul or anybody else posts a link to an article that discusses whether I should respect the NHLPA, this will be among the complaints I will levy in that article (because I have levied similar complaints in the past about the NHLPA’s role in allowing dangerous equipment and predatory hits to remain a part of the game)

The bottom line is if the finacial health of the league is solid then we as fans get to enjoy the game.

Again, you’re absolutely right.  Personally, I kind of don’t want the NHL to be “too healthy” because I enjoy being able to afford going to games and being able to afford NHL Center Ice every season.  The “healthier” the game gets, the more it costs me as a fan.  I want them to make money.  I understand that they’re going to keep trying to make as much money as possible, because that’s kind of what running a business is all about.  If the NHL crosses a line where I don’t feel the game has maintained a certain level of professional integrity (like I believe has happened in the NBA), I’ll simply stop being a fan. 

Still, as we are fans and not owners, it’s a bit of a non-starter to even be talking about whether he’s doing what’s right for the owners.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/04/11 at 01:18 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I still don’t get why people are surprised that a pro sports commissioner has only his employers’ (the owners) interests at heart.

Posted by Primis on 08/04/11 at 01:34 AM ET

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National growth of the game in the US, largest TV contract ever, stellar attendance % better than any other professional sport, great game to watch, hard cap, league parity, growing into a world sport/olympic participation, technologically savvy league, growing tv viewership(best in 30 years) and lastly I respect that he doesn’t give a *#$%@& what his detractors say!

Posted by timbits on 08/04/11 at 01:37 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Who says anybody is surprised, Primis?

I’m not surprised that bears attack people; that doesn’t mean I’m ok with the concept.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/04/11 at 01:51 AM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

This has been an interesting comment thread.  Love him, tolerate him, or hate him, there’s a lot of reasoned arguments here. Thanks for sharing, everyone. smile

Myself, one thing I admire about Bettman is something a few of you have already mentioned… he’s quite accessible to fans in a number of forums, far moreso than his commissioner buddies in the other leagues, it seems to me.  Plus (while making a pile of money probably reduces the stress of it) I can also respect his ability to roll with the punches.  He takes a lot of shots from everyone—sometimes fairly and sometimes pretty cheap—but he always keeps engaging people and fighting for his point of view, regardless.

I think a lot of people would fold under that pressure, years on end. I’d find it very hard to live like that, myself, no matter how much money is involved.

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 08/04/11 at 02:04 AM ET

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Although I believe Bettman is successfully doing his job by catering to his bosses, I also appreciate (as does he I hope) that alienating the fan base is never a good idea.  For whatevever reason many blame him unfairly when things don’t work out and, seemingly only a few give him credit when they do.  If there is one thing that GB has done rather poorly is market himself well in the eyes of fans and a sizeable portion of the media.

Comparitively, in the NBA we have franchises like Seattle and Vancouver which have moved to other places and the league (according to owners) is hemorraging money and is currently locked out with no end in sight.  In MLB, we had the steriod era, attendance and tv ratings are declining for a number of years now, and there is no equal playing field with only a few teams always winning.  As for the NFL, that is an entity unlike any other.

As a sports fan, I just don’t get the sense the fanbase in those other leagues rag on the respective commisoners as much fans of hockey do on GB.

Posted by Bob from St. Louis on 08/04/11 at 02:30 AM ET

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I think there is both good and bad about Gary.

Good: 
1. Trying for league parity
2. The league is far easier to watch than it was in the pre-Gary days (those who complain about Versus should remember the Sportschannel debacle in the early ‘90s where half the country could not see the NHL at all). 
3. Has fought well to keep some franchises from moving although he has been rather selective in this, I think he probably doesn’t get enough credit for Calgary and Edmonton staying put in the ‘90s.
4. A lot of rules coming out of the lockout I like but probably the credit should go to the competition committee (no 2 line pass, better penalty enforcement overall).
5. Is at least accessible by having his radio show, even when his answers are all PR speak.

Bad
1. Too much expansion, especially in the south although I think 30 is too many teams anyway, no matter where they are.  Because there are 30 teams that can bid on a player’s services, keeping a good team together is next to impossible.  Dilution of talent is the #1 problem in the league today, I think.  Looking back at a 21 team league, that means there are now 9 full teams of players that wouldn’t have been good enough for the league 20 years ago.
2. I think having to move back to Winnipeg should be a real black eye for him, he never should have approved a move out of it.
3. Refuses to really answer any negative questions about the league, he should be a politician the way he dodges questions.  I would like to see an honest answer about the possibility of contraction, which is what should happen to Phoenix.
4. Not being real supportive of the Olympics.
5. Discipline has been a joke, another poster has it right that punishment is handed out by throwing darts at a board.
6. The way he has chosen to market players ahead of teams because that’s how they did it in the NBA has alienated a lot of hard core hockey fans.
7. I know I am a Devils fan but the way they got fined and punished for the Kovalchuk deal when every one else was doing the same thing was absolutely ridiculous.  Even if the contract went too far, there was no need for the taking of draft picks, I think voiding the contract was enough.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 08/04/11 at 02:09 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

I respect that he gets alot of thanks at A2Y.  Ass.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 08/04/11 at 03:14 PM ET

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He has kept the foil sales in Detroit a going concern.

Posted by timbits on 08/05/11 at 12:50 AM ET

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To the articles point, I think he knows that he is playing the WWE villain role—accepting nearly all of the blame for what is still wrong in the game of hockey, and he plays that role well.  Deflecting that negative attention away from the owners and other principals.

Posted by RJ on 08/05/11 at 12:46 PM ET

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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.

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