Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/17/13 at 09:12 AM ET
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
After almost 21 years on the job, Gary Bettman's daily calendar must look different than it ever has.
Certainly less littered with red flags.
For the first time since he assumed control of the NHL, there are no wild, burning-out-of-control brushfires that all of us in the all-seeing, all-knowing media can point to as evidence of a league that obviously doesn't have its house in order or is playing some kind of shell game.
That's not to say this is a golden era, although the league has never been bigger, has never attracted the revenues it does now as it hurtles towards becoming a $4 billion-a-year business.
If there is trouble, it is contained to the ice for now, and the width and breadth of it depends on how you view the suspension-a-day realities and the increasingly questioned role of fighting in the sport. Related to both of those, of course, is the percolating concern over brain injuries to players.
These are serious issues, but they are basically limited to what is going on when teams collide on the ice.
Off the ice, it's hard to recall a time post-1967 when there has been quite the stability there is now.
The arrival of the suddenly-competent Florida Panthers in town to play the unpredictable Maple Leafs certainly brings the immediate contours of Bettman's NHL into vivid relief.
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