Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: gary bettman
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There was a smarter way for Gary Bettman to handle a question about the existence of any connection between contact in hockey and the brain damage condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The commissioner should have replied that the league is currently involved in litigation and then declined to speak any further. Evasive, sure, but perfectly understandable.
Instead, he told reporters in Chicago on Thursday this:
“From a medical science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation that can definitively make that conclusion.”
It was a page ripped from the climate-change denial playbook, a classic head-in-the-sand defense. Appalling ... but then again exactly what you’d expect the man to say.
more plus other hockey topics...
From the Associated Press:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expects the salary cap for the 2015-16 season to settle in around $71 million, depending on the fluctuations of the Canadian dollar.
Appearing between the first and second periods of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night between the Anaheim Ducks and hometown Blackhawks, the commissioner said he expects it to climb five per cent from this year’s cap figure of $69 million.
Bettman also faced several questions about concussions three months after the death of former defenceman Steve Montador, 35, who was subsequently found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephelopathy — or CTE — a degenerative brain disease.
So, uh, "Meanwhile in Winnipeg" (and George here, reporting on his least favorite person)...
Hm. Even I'm going with sympathy here. Kidney stones are awful, and I hope that the chairman feels better ASAP.
I can't believe i just said that, but you don't wish acute human suffering upon your worst enemies. Away from the rink, anyway.
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is in Nashville on Friday to attend Game 2 of the Predators' first-round series against the Blackhawks. Before the game, he discussed Nashville's impact on the NHL and league-wide topics.
On if it was good for the league to have a "non-traditional" market like Nashville have significant on-ice success:
"I'm not sure i'm comfortable any longer with the term 'non-traditional.' Fact is there are some cities that have franchises longer, but Nashville has built its own tradition, its own history. This team is very well-owned by Tom Cigarran and his partners. The team on the ice has been built the right way by David Poile, who's one of the preeminent general managers. And we're in a place as a league where we have incredible competitive balance, best in our history, probably the best in all of sports. We've got 20 teams that could have won the Stanley Cup in all probability and four of them didn't even make the playoffs.
And as we sit here at the very beginnings of the first round, the Stanley Cup is up for grabs and that's great news for fans. It's great news for fans in Nashville as there are high expectations and a team that performed extraordinarily well in the regular season."
On Las Vegas's pursuit of an NHL franchise:
"Mr.(Bill) Foley, who's the person interested in having an NHL franchise in Las Vegas, wanted to assess the strength of the fan base, potential fan base in Las Vegas. Las Vegas in that regard is at least perceived to be an unusual market. He began his ticket drive and while I'm not prepared to announce the results, because it's actually still ongoing, it has been very successful to date."
“The media debates it a lot, but we don’t get a lot of negative feedback from fans. In fact, when you see the way the races played out and the importance of every game in the regular season, there are teams that wish they had a couple of points from October and November they would have liked to have down the stretch. The point system is working extraordinarily well.”
-Gary Bettman when questioned about the current point system in the NHL. Craig Custance of ESPN has more (ESPN Insider).
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joins Hockey Central at Noon to discuss the World Cup of Hockey, expansion to Las Vegas and much more.
On Tuesday, something a little puzzling happened: the NHL's commissioner visited a season ticket drive for a franchise that does not exist--not yet, anyway--while insisting that he's not necessarily supporting Bill Foley and the Maloof family's Las Vegas expansion plans. ESPN's Scott Burnside noted the strangeness of the situation:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who attended a news conference at the MGM Grand Casino to kick off the drive, insisted that the NHL hasn't made any commitment to anyone regarding becoming the first major professional sports league to venture into the gambling and tourist mecca.
"We're not in the expansion process and I need to keep making that clear,'' Bettman said.
Still, the optics of Bettman's presence for many observers were more powerful than words and seemed to indicate the NHL was in fact ready to make the expansion plunge provided the ticket drive is as successful, as a number of sources expect it to be.
Even before potential owners Bill Foley and the Las Vegas-based Maloof family started taking deposits on season tickets from interested fans on Tuesday afternoon, sources told ESPN.com that more than 9,000 individuals had reached out to organizers to express interest in paying to watch NHL hockey in Las Vegas.
Continued, and this is the important part:
Bettman told ESPN.com that Foley and his group have committed a lot of time and money (close to $2 million, a source told ESPN.com) and that Foley had invited him to attend the media event to see the level of enthusiasm and support for hockey in the city.
"I figured why not go out and see what he's got?" Bettman said shortly before boarding a flight back to New York.
"The event was well done," he added. "There was a big turnout and a high level of enthusiasm."
Edit: The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Alan Snel also provides the Nevadan perspective:
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr took part in an intriguing interview with the Associated Press's Josh Warrow, but in discussing the 2016 World Cup from the NHLPA and then the NHL's perspectives, a certain sports commissioner reminded us that the relationship between the players and league remains...complicated:
“What we have to be able to do is basically demonstrate, explain, show to sports fans and non-sports fans what this game is all about, and what the people who play it are all about,” Fehr said. “And if that doesn’t produce significant movement and attractiveness to the game, we’re in big trouble. But I think it will.”
Bettman shares that vision and credits Fehr’s arrival with providing the game — and union — much-needed stability after the NHLPA went through a lengthy stretch of upheaval and infighting after a lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season. Following Bob Goodenow’s resignation in July 2005, the union went through three executive directors before Fehr took over in 2010.
“It’s not a coincidence that the last decade-plus we haven’t had a World Cup because we haven’t had anybody to deal with on a long-term stable basis at the union to make decisions that had to be made to do an international tournament,” Bettman told the AP. “The fact that we’re now in a situation where there’s a strong union, which I believe is important and a good thing, we can pursue mutual goals and objectives to build the game.”
The owners, Bettman noted, deserve credit, too, for insisting on a salary-cap based system that has provided cost certainty and competitive balance.
“While we paid a huge, huge price for that, a long-term CBA is only a good thing if you have a system that’s working. And the system is working,” Bettman said. “Working co-operatively with the players’ association enables us to do more things to build on that foundation.”
Yeah, two lockouts, a season-and-a-half gone and the early retirements of the Messiers, Yzermans and Lidstroms...Anyway, the dual interview continues...
from Alexandra Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal,
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t grow up ice skating. He only learned in college, when his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) helped teach him. These days, Mr. Bettman doesn’t skate much, but he does watch his grandson play.
The longest serving commissioner in any major league sport today, the 62-year-old Mr. Bettman is looking for new ways to attract fans. At the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, he plans to announce the slate of outdoor NHL games for next season (most games are played in covered arenas), as well as the return of the World Cup, an international hockey event that he says “will be back in a major way” next year. A successor to the Canada Cup, which was held occasionally between 1976 and 1991, the World Cup has only been played twice, in 1996 and 2004.
Hockey’s popularity has been on the rise. Total attendance at pro games has grown to 23.5 million last season from 15.5 million in 1993, when Mr. Bettman took over. Over the same period, the NHL’s revenue has grown to nearly $4 billion from $400 million a year. (By comparison, professional football and baseball each had revenue last year of about $9 billion, while basketball took in about $5.5 billion.) In recent decades, the NHL has gone to great lengths to broaden the sport’s national footprint, expanding into new markets and relocating teams to places where ice hockey wasn’t traditionally played, such as Dallas.
from mbrodsky at of St. Louis JewishLight,
In the late 1960s, Gary Bettman would finish classes at his Queens high school, take the subway to Madison Square Garden and whip out his student ID card to land a ticket for 50 cents to a New York Rangers game. He’d sit in the arena doing his homework until the game began and he could cheer on favorite players like Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin.
Though the Rangers were a storied hockey club, Bettman was drawn to the newer franchises.
Growing up in a single-parent home, “I didn’t have the passing on of [fandom from] generation to generation that a lot of kids did, so I would tend to gravitate toward expansion teams so I would have instant history,” Bettman, the National Hockey League’s commissioner, told JTA in a telephone interview from his Manhattan office.
“At the time, I didn’t realize what I was doing. As I reflect back on it, it makes sense.”
On Feb. 1, Bettman will mark his 22nd year as NHL commissioner, his longevity trailing that of only five others — including ex-NBA chief David Stern — in the annals of America’s four top sports leagues. Stern had hired Bettman at the National Basketball Association more than a decade before Bettman took the reins of the hockey league.
On Thursday, Bettman, 62, was recognized by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America with the Louis Marshall Award — the first time the New York institution has bestowed the honor for “exemplary ethics and communal commitment” on a sports figure.
"The fact of the matter is, over the last two decades, the league, the game, the presence and prominence from our clubs has grown on every measurable platform, whether or not it's TV viewing, attendance, social media or revenues. The game, our franchises have never been healthier, have never been stronger and have never been more widely followed."
-Gary Bettman. The commissioner joined Chicago radio today and Nina Falcone of CSNChicago has more.
The New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein wrote an exhaustively comprehensive article regarding the decline of the Canadian dollar as it applies to the NHL's salary cap, the health of Canadian and small-market American franchises, the Forbes valuations of NHL teams, possible expansion and/or relocation and the long-term health of the league in wide historical context, factoring in the NHL's TV deal with Rogers, the percentage of revenues coming in from Canada and the league's growth in American revenues by staging Winter Classics and Stadium Series games. It's a helluva article.
The most intriguing part comes from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who suggests that the 88-cent Loonie should not negatively impact the salary cap for the 2015-16 season:
“I expect there to be a healthy rise in the salary cap for next season,” Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner, said last week. “The Canadian dollar would have to continue to fall in a material way for that to change.”
For the N.H.L., a strong Canadian dollar means strong business growth. But with the Canadian dollar skidding, speculation is rife that the league’s bottom line may suffer, triggering a cascade of side effects, including a stagnant salary cap for the 2015-16 season.
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater suggests that it's Gary Bettman who's "made the NHL popular again," citing the league's TV deals with Rogers Sportsnet and NBC Universal, as well as the ridiculous selling price of the New York Islanders, as examples, and he affords the 3-lockout-conducting commissioner the last word:
[T]he biggest thing Bettman did was listen to his players and coaches on how to make the product on the ice better. That began with rule-book changes to make the game more free-flowing when play resumed after the 2004-05 lockout.
"I used to talk to, without mentioning any names, coaches of less well-endowed clubs. And I would go: 'How do you do this? What's your game plan?' And universally, in those days, it was 'Clutch and grab, hook and hold, we had to neutralize the skill differential,' " Bettman said. "And then 'We'd try to steal it in the last 10 minutes.' That was not how this game was meant to be played. It all starts with having the game as good as it can be. But it isn't as simple as passing new rules. It goes to having the best competitive balance in all of pro sports. And it then means reaching out to the fans to give them the best connective experience."
Bettman has become the most senior of commissioners among the major pro sports. He has persevered through some tough times, and in the process has earned more of a grudging respect for the media and the hardcore hockey fan base.
"I'm not an 'I told you so' kind of person," Bettman said. "Although, I actually had a former player in my office today, who lived through 2004 and said to me, 'If I only knew then what I know now.' It's not an 'I told you so,' it's that we had a vision to fix fundamental problems to get the game healthy again so that it could grow."
via CNN YouTube channel,
The NHL Commissioner talks gambling & a possible team in Las Vegas, plus the future of hockey, including at the Olympics.
Prior to the start of Thursday's Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held his annual start-of-the-year "state of the game" speech and media Q and A session. NHL.com's Dan Rosen provides a transcript thereof:
On how much of the League's success last season comes from having the Stanley Cup champions in the second largest media market in the United States:
"Market size, particularly when you're dealing with major media markets, has an impact in terms of gathering attention. But I got asked that question when I did the media avail before the Stanley Cup Final started and it's frankly more important what's taking place on the ice. You can have the biggest markets in the world, but if the game isn't exciting, compelling and competitive it's not going to generate a lot of interest. The Kings, for example, had a magical, spectacular run in last year's playoffs, and I think that was as important, if not more, than it was taking place with a team based in Los Angeles.
"It's interesting, we talk about competitiveness and competitive balance, and you see it. As the season starts most of the prognostications I'm seeing are all over the place as to who is going to make the playoffs and who is going to win the Cup. Nobody knows, but there aren't a whole lot of teams that are out of the conversation. That's one of the things we think is paramount about our system."
The Q and A continues at extensive length...
The Associated Press asked Gary Bettman about the topic that won't go away--NHL expansion--and Bettman revealed a little more than he usually does about what the league isn't doing:
"If we go through a formal expansion process, then we will have to evaluate that very question," Bettman said Tuesday during an interview with The Associated Press inside his Manhattan office. "What we are doing is continuing to listen to expressions of interest, and we're pleased that there are lots of expressions of interest, but we haven't and are not ready to deal with them in a very structured, formal way and make that decision."
Before any expansion discussions can be held, the NHL will have to decide how many teams is enough, and if adding others will water down the product.
"That would require us to do an analysis we haven't done," Bettman said. "If you look around, there is no list on the wall ranking cities where we're not. We're listening. There is apparently a lot to listen to, but at this point that's all we're doing."
And now that the Coyotes are again firmly entrenched in Arizona, there is no immediate risk of any team moving, either.
"There is no reason to relocate," Bettman said. "The 30 franchises have never been healthier, never been better owned, never been more stable."
The interview continues, and Bettman also appeared on Sportsnet's HockeyCentral At Noon prograram to talk about Sportsnet's new TV deal, the opening of the 2014-1 season, fighting, and yes, troubled franchises:
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at CTVNews,
In his 21-plus years as the first official "commissioner" of the NHL, Bettman has overseen expansion, change and booming business. In the process he has also become a popular target for fans because he has shown a willingness to sacrifice games to affect the kind of change he and the owners want.
"The game was unhealthy, the competitiveness wasn't there," Bettman said of the 2004-05 lockout. "We did what we had to do to not have six, eight or 10 years of a mess. We go through these things not because we want to but because we have to get to a point where the game can be healthy."
Now that it's healthy, Bettman doesn't look like an executive on the way out. When Bud Selig steps down and Rob Manfred takes over Major League Baseball, Bettman will officially be the longest-tenured commissioner in North American professional sports -- though he insists because Selig previously had an interim tag that he already is.
"I will be the oldest when he steps down," said Bettman, who says he hasn't considered any kind of a succession plan. "I'm still trying to figure out how I got to be 62 years old."
Gary Bettman and George Strompolos were at the Canadian Club of Toronto today and discussed numerous topics including expansion.
You can watch more videos on different topics today at Sportsnet's YouTube page.
From NHL.com's Arpon Basu:
The NHL is close to hiring a new head of the Department of Player Safety, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.
The NHL has been without a permanent lead disciplinarian since Brendan Shanahan left the League on April 11 to become president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stephane Quintal, who worked under Shanahan since November 2011, took over as head of player safety on an interim basis through the end of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We're getting to the short strokes of that process," Commissioner Bettman said, speaking at a media event outside Montreal. "We've interviewed a lot of candidates, including somebody that's been doing it on an interim basis, and we will be making a decision shortly. We wanted to finish the process; [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and I each managed to take a little time off in August, but certainly well in advance of the start of the season we'll have an announcement."
Bettman also tells Basu that he's working with the NHLPA to reestablish "more international play," i.e. a revival of the "World Cup of Hockey":
Gary Bettman accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS Awareness...
Would-be Islanders suitor Charles Barroway is suing current Islanders owner Charles Wang for $10 million after Wang reneged on the sale of the soon-to-be-Brooklyn-based team, and the New York Times' Richard Sandomir went so far as to pen an editorial-style article suggesting that Wang's--well, let's be honest here--awful stewardship of the team merits all but a moral imperative to sell the team to someone who can competently manage it.
This morning, the New York Post's Josh Kosman reports that Barroway's lawsuit involves someone with an intriguing tie to a certain sport's commissioner, and that commissioner now finds himself in a sticky situation:
An adviser working for the hedge-fund manager who sued the New York Islanders for reneging on a deal to sell him the team is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s half-brother, The Post has learned.
Andrew Barroway hired Jeffrey Pollack several months ago after reaching a handshake deal to buy the club from owner Charles Wang for $420 million, sources said.
Wang and Bettman are believed to be pals.
And in addition to reporting that Barroway had difficulty actually coughing up the cash to purchase the team, Kosman reports that Wang increased the asking price for the team substantially (and many suspect that Wang did so after the Los Angeles Clippers sold for a billion dollars):
According to the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts, Rogers Communications is worrying that it overpaid for its Canadian TV-and-internet rights package, but the NHL discovered that the first payment from Rogers and strong performances by the outdoor games held this past season yielded an extra $150 million in revenue for the league:
Thanks to another run of prosperity after the NHL settled its labour problems 18 months ago, [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman was able to tell the owners there will be a little extra in their piggy banks for the coming season. Each of the 30 teams will get an unexpected $5-million (all currency U.S.) thanks to the success of the league’s Stadium Series and the first payment by Rogers Communications Inc., on its $5.2-billion, 12-year broadcast deal. That is a total of $150-million in cheques mailed out this summer.
The Stadium Series was the four outdoor games played last season in addition to the existing Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. They were added for a revenue boost following the 2012-13 lockout and paid off nicely for the NHL despite fears the league was flirting with killing the golden goose.
Shoalts continues and explains how these revenues will effect the NHLPA going forward (as you already know, the NHLPA chose to accept a $69 million salary cap instead of pushing for a $70-71 million cap to minimize escrow withholdings after surrendering significant portions of their paychecks to the league during the 2013 and 13-14 seasons):
USA Today's Kevin Allen and Erik Brady penned a fascinating article about the ways in which the role of a professional sports commissioner has changed during the tenure of outgoing MLB commissioner Bug Selig, sourcing comments from Selig, his predecessor, Fay Vincent, preeminent sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, former MLBPA executive director and current NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and a certain Mark Cuban (NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chose to decline an interview).
The article both traces Selig's path and sets a greater historical context for the role of a sports commissioner and how it's evolved since Selig took the job in 1992...
"If you go back, (sports) talk radio was in its infancy, there was no Internet, no mobile, less television coverage, no out-of-market packages to speak of, there was no social media and digital platforms," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told USA TODAY Sports. "That's a longwinded way of saying there is more to do. … To be a commissioner you always had to multi-task. But there are now multiple tasks, compared to what there were."
And aside from spending a significant amount of text pointing out that it's not the commissioner who is "in charge" per se--it's the owners who any and every sports commissioner represents, and the owners' interests that he proffers--Bettman, who took the reins from John Ziegler, very specificially tells Allen and Brady about the evolution of the commissioner's position:
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
“We have a trade to announce.”
Those six words have to rank among hockey fans’ favorite phrases. And ironically, that’s especially true when they’re spoken by one of the sport’s most unpopular figures: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
That’s because “We have a trade to announce” has become Bettman’s go-to catchphrase when a deal is struck during the NHL draft; they’re the words he uses to inform fans that they’re going to want to stop booing him long enough for him to break down the details. Sometimes the deal that follows is a blockbuster; sometimes it’s just a boring flip of draft picks. But you never know until Bettman lays out the details, piece by piece, into a live microphone in front of a few thousand fans.
And make no mistake, Bettman seems to relish the moment. This is a guy, after all, who spends pretty much all of his time getting pelted with hockey-fan venom. Whether he’s introducing the draft or giving a press conference or handing out the Stanley Cup, he’s basically on the receiving end of a nonstop barrage of negativity. Why wouldn’t he savor the one opportunity to soak in some good vibes?
While the boss is away, the talking monkey will play...
There's been a significant amount of consternation from both hockey fans and general managers regarding Gary Bettman's weenie-ish remarks suggesting that the NHLPA needs to be consulted regarding the salary cap's upper limit and range--which may not be determined until Monday, all of one day before free agency begins--and now we're finding out thhe reason why Bettman said what he did: he's playing hardball with the PA regarding factoring in next year's Canadian TV revenue, to the point that he's offering a SUPER lowball "upper limit":
Earlier this morning, Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Elliotte Friedman explained the TV revenue-vs-escrow issue:
Some things never change. Ahead of the Board of Governors meetings, quite conveniently so, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiwicke made some rather heated comments suggesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs are slighted by the NHL on a regular basis, as the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger noted in Twitter and now article form...
“Why there hasn’t been a Winter Classic in Canada is, in my opinion, a mistake and shows a lack of respect to this city...” Leiweke said.
In confirming his attempts to woo all these events to Toronto, Leiweke followed by perhaps making the boldest statement of many bold statements: The NHL would reach unparalleled heights if and when the Leafs compete for — and, in his mind, hopefully win — a Stanley Cup.
“As Toronto goes, so goes the (business) success of the National Hockey League. I firmly believe that,” Leiweke said. “If we could ever lift up that silver shiny thing, the impact we would have on this league would be phenomenal — like nothing we’ve ever seen before. No offence against New York. And no offence against L.A. (But) if the Maple Leafs play for the Stanley Cup, we are going to have 20 million people watching that game.”
"John McDonough is in my ear all the time for anything," Bettman told the Tribune. "He's very passionate about doing as many things from a league perspective with the Blackhawks in Chicago as possible."
That includes the Hawks hosting the NHL All-Star Game or NHL draft. Chicago has not been the site for the All-Star Game since 1991 and never has been the location for the draft.
That could change if McDonough gets his wish.
"There's always the possibility," Bettman said. "We haven't focused on where we're going in the long term but obviously we know there are a lot of great fans in Chicago and the Blackhawks are part of the heart and soul of the city."
Kuc also continues...
When the NHL comes to Las Vegas for its annual awards show, Gary Bettman always fields the, "When are you going to expand to Las Vegas?" question.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Steve Carp at least asks the question while coining it in realistic terms, pointing out that some 15 years after the mayor of Las Vegas attempted to lobby Bettman to expand to Nevada, the region sustained massive losses in the most recent recession, and as of yet, there's "no barn" (though Carp reports that the Anschutz Entertainment Group's about to break ground on a facility on "the Strip" shortly):
“Fifteen years is a long time,” Bettman said. “We’ve been through a recession and economic difficulty. But things are changing, and we’re aware of that. Right now, we’re not looking to expand. I know Las Vegas is an important city. Whether or not it’s a city for the NHL to put a team in is still to be determined. We have not done any investigating as to whether or not the city could support the NHL or looked at potential ownership groups. If the owners were to approve expansion, we would certainly begin looking more closely at Las Vegas and other potential markets.”
The NHL last expanded in 2000 with franchises in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Paul, Minn., to get to its current 30-team alignment. Expansion fees then were $80 million per team. It probably will take someone with far deeper pockets to join the NHL if expansion were to take place in the next few years.
When [Mayor Oscar] Goodman visited Bettman in 1999, the population of Clark County was 1,321,317, and Las Vegas was outside the top 50 media markets in the U.S. In 2013, there were 2,062,253 residents, and Las Vegas was the No. 40 media market.
And while the city slowly has rebounded from the recession and the population almost has doubled since 1999, there are still questions as to whether there’s a sufficient fan base to support the NHL.
The Mercury News's Tim Kawakami retweeted this at 11 PM EDT, and this qualifies as late-breaking blockbuster news of a sort. The Mercury News's Mark Purdy reports that the "rebuilding" San Jose Sharks have a very large problem that's harming their off-ice viability:
Simply put, the Sharks' local television contract is not acceptable to them. They think it stinks. Stinks so bad, in fact, that it could affect the team's long-term ability to stay in San Jose and the Bay Area.
This has nothing to do with the departure of popular television analyst Drew Remenda, which was made public Tuesday. That's unfortunate, but comparatively small potatoes.
How serious is the concern over the Sharks' television deal? I have learned and confirmed that National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman has taken the extraordinary step of personally intervening in the matter. Bettman has contacted high-level honchos at Comcast corporate offices in Philadelphia to see if the Sharks' local television deal can be reworked. Comcast is the parent company of Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, which broadcasts Shark games. So far, the Bettman talks have not been fruitful.
Here's the issue: The Sharks' local deal pales compared to most other NHL teams. The team is in the middle of a long-term contract with Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area that yields the Sharks $7 million per season. And it has 14 more seasons to run.
Gary Bettman's annual meeting with the media is on now or will be soon, watch below...
added 8:15pm, Here is Gary Bettman meeting with the media a few hours ago...
"I still think [of] myself as a relatively young man. I have as much energy and as much passion as I've ever had. I suppose at some point, I don't know when that is, either a function of age or whatever, the owners and I will figure out what's appropriate. But it's not anything any of us are focused on right now. My contract still has a few more years to run. I can't even tell you what it runs to, because I don't keep track of it."
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Q. You visited Seattle recently. Does this mean you are starting to think about expansion?
A: There is a lot of interest being expressed by people in Seattle. Before we even thought about seriously entertaining the interest, we were getting lots of stories about the building prospects and what the issues were. I was on the west coast, on my way to Minnesota, so I figured I would stop in and see the mayor and county executive and see what the story is. The story is that there is nothing going on right now. … It was said that we had no interest in Key (Arena). That's not what we said. What we said is we wouldn't have any interest in Key without knowing whether a new building is coming. Key is not a permanent solution. If someone wanted to play there on an interim basis, it is something we would look at, but we have no interest in going into Key in its current condition because it is not a hockey building. So we learned first-hand what was, and more importantly, what wasn't happening.
Q. Any progress toward deciding if the NHL will be back at the Olympics in 2018?
A: None whatsoever. I said leaving Sochi, we were coming out of the Olympics totally focused on the conclusion of our season and the playoffs. We haven't given the Olympics any thought whatsoever. … We didn't get a deal to anyone's satisfaction until six or eight months (before Sochi). If, and this is a big if, we are not going to go, I think that decision should be made sooner rather than later in fairness to all of the governing bodies. But I'm not saying we are not going.
Per the NHL, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing:
The NHL was named Sports League of the Year, the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was awarded Sports Event of the Year, and Commissioner Gary Bettman was selected Sports Executive of the Year by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily at a ceremony held in New York on Wednesday night.
The Sports Business Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the sports industry for the period from March 1, 2013 through Feb. 28, 2014.
So, y'know, after lockout #3.
The NHL was chosen from six nominees for Sports League of the Year, including, in alphabetical order, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NASCAR, and the PGA Tour.
The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which featured the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1, was chosen from five nominees for Sports Event of the Year, including the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships; 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open; The ONE: Mayweather vs. Canelo, presented by Showtime Networks in partnership with Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions; and Super Bowl XLVIII.
Press release? You betcha!
As Paul noted, Gary Bettman didn't necessarily tread upon any new material on Saturday, but if you wish to watch his entire media availability prior to Game 2 of the Bruins-Canadiens series, Sportsnet provides for your needs. "Bettman talks expansion, salary cap and racism," says the clip's title, and that's what he does, for fifteen minutes:
Gary Bettman is in Philadelphia tonight for the Rangers/Flyers game and did a Q & A with the media...
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
• On whether he likes shootouts:
Bettman: “I like the shootout in the way we use it. I wouldn’t like the shootout in the playoffs, and the fact is I like the shootout better than ending a game in a tie. And so the issue is can we tweak overtime so maybe there are slightly fewer shootouts? But the fact is, no matter what your opinion is – from the media or hockey person or fan – watch the buildings when the shootouts are going on. Everybody is on their feet. Everybody is interested. Everybody is watching. When games were ending in ties, that wasn’t so much the case in overtime. ... Nobody is looking for a fundamental adjustment. We’re looking more for a tweak to see if maybe we can get a few more games decided in overtime, but the shootout is a concept that’s here to stay."
• On the salary cap going up next season from $64.3 million this season:
Bettman: “The system is designed to deal with fluctuations in the Canadian dollar because hockey related revenues, which is used to compute the salary cap, is done in US dollars. So if the Canadian dollar goes down, the cap isn’t as high. Don’t hold me to this, we’re somewhere in the $69 million to $70 million as a guess. We’re don’t have all the data. We don’t have all of the reports from the clubs yet. That would be a wild guess. It’s a ballpark guess.”
chairman I mean commissioner is making his yearly attend-one-playoff-game-in-every-city rounds, and Gary Bettman is in Dallas today, so ESPN Dallas's Richard Durrett reports that Bettman was, as you might imagine, asked about the possibility of holding an outdoor game at the Dallas Cowboys' new digs, the AT&T Stadium...
"I certainly wouldn't rule it out," Bettman said prior to Monday's Game 3 between the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center. "It's an unbelievable stadium. I think our focus will be on making sure that when we're ready to come that it will be sold out. All of our outdoor games get sold out, and that's a big stadium."
Gary Bettman appeared on the Squawk Box on CNBC today to talk hockey...
Gary Bettman met with the media to discuss the GM meetings...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
It is Gary’s World and the rest of us are just living in it. That’s the takeaway from the NHL’s announcement commissioner Gary Bettman had reconsidered the penalty he had imposed on the Devils regarding the Ilya Kovalchuk circumvention case, and would thus return a first-round draft pick to New Jersey.
This was a thank you from Sixth Avenue to owners Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, who swooped in at the last minute — perhaps responding to the commissioner’s plea — to once and for all provide the remedy to the migraine headache the franchise had become under the ownership of Jeff Vanderbeek.
This was Bettman engaging in the power politics that define his reign and explain his mastery in the Boardroom throughout three lockouts, the last two of which yielded smashing victories for owners of disparate interests with one common bond — the commissioner who either invited them into the league or into its inner circle.
Want an All-Star Game in your city? Vote with me. Want an Entry Draft in your town? Vote with me. Want to recover a first-round pick? Buy this team.
continue for more topics including Jagr, Garth Snow and Callahan/Rangers...
VANCOUVER (March 2, 2014) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks at BC Place:
“We thank the Canucks and Senators for contributing to the terrific atmosphere at BC Place today and for providing such an entertaining conclusion to two historic months for the National Hockey League. While the weather outside prevented us from opening the roof at this outstanding stadium, the energy indoors from the more than 54,000 fans made for a memorable afternoon.
“Through the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and the
2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, our teams and our players displayed the very best qualities of our sport to over 375,000 fans in-person and an international viewing audience of millions more. We thank our fans, our Clubs and our players for this “season like no other” and we look forward to an exciting run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
Over the past couple of months, the debate as to whether the NHL should participate in Olympic hockey has included enthusiastic support from players, the NHL's most conservative (and powerful) owners insisting that Olympic participation is a, Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Thing, and of course Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, Donald Fehr and Rene Fasel playing all sorts of verbal chess.
This morning, the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa suggests that neither the players, owners, commissioner, the NHLPA or the IIHF will end up deciding whether we'll see NHL'ers playing in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. Instead, Shinzawa (writing his weekly notebok) suggests that the resident American Olympic broadcaster--and the NHL's current U.S. broadcasting partner--may make the decision for the parties involved:
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
As the National Hockey League embarks on a two-week hiatus for its stars to compete for national glory in Sochi, we sit down with commissioner Gary Bettman to briefly chat about Steven Stamkos, future outdoor games, the 12-year Rogers rights deal, and why the heck he was giving Gene Simmons a piggyback ride.
Most of the discussion surrounding the 12-year Rogers-NHL deal has focused on the television broadcast. What are your online plans for the next few years?
Online has become and will become even more important than it’s been. Millions are consuming their video content online as opposed to watching traditional television. We’re going to see as the devices continue to evolve – and there are devices going to be created that we don’t even know about yet – people, particularly young, tech-savvy people, are going to consume their media in a variety of different ways, and we’re going to make sure we’re responsive to what they want.
Is there a reason why the league’s website tends to shy away from showing fights or controversial goals?
We don’t shy away from anything. I know people say that and write it, but if it’s there, it’s available. You get it from us; you get it from YouTube. There’s no shying away. I know that’s a perception, but it’s not an accurate one.
Paul noted that ESPN's Pierre LeBrun tossed off a set of "Rumblings" with Olympic ramifications--and, "Lemme tell ya, kids, them Russkies are gonna be furious that the IIHF won't let them revise their rosters until right before the 'Perfect Olympics'"--and LeBrun's comments were made in parallel with TSN's latest epsiode of Insider Trading. LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie touched on a set of topics that included some bona-fide trade talk and this intriguing topic:
Commissioner Gary Bettman talked about expansion and said nothing was imminent. What is happening?
McKenzie: Bettman said there was no formal process in place but you have to believe there may be an informal process that is in the works. We know the NHL wants to get to 32 teams, the question is when it could happen. The absolute earliest you could add teams to the NHL would be the 2015-2016 season, just less than two years away. The league needs a one-year lead time on that, therefore if anything is happening, it will escalate over the next ten months.
Guaranteed that the sold-out Outdoor Classic in Ann Arbor will be one of the biggest feather in Gary Bettman's cap; if not the biggest.
-Stan Fischler of the Fischler Report where you can read more hockey notes.
George here on the late shift.
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek sat down with Gary Bettman a week ago Thursday in New York, and he used what I can only describe as a delightful chat with Chairman Mao as his weekly notebook. It appears that the Chairman is just as prickly in person as he is when engaging in press conferences and conference calls, as this exchange about Bettman's power to eliminate fighting from the game sans approval from the Board of Governors illustrates:
Bettman: I can ban smoking in this office and I can make that unilateral decision. I don’t make the [game’s] rules. I don’t have unilateral decision-making authority and there are people on both sides of the discussion that are very well dug in on their positions. That’s a discussion, as with all elements of the game, that we’ll continue to have internally and the game will continue to evolve.
Duhatschek: Do you a personal opinion about it?
Duhatschek: Would you care to share it?
Bettman: No. And it’s probably not what anybody thinks or has been speculated. There are people here that know, but anyone who has speculated doesn’t know.
The chat covers player safety, expansion, the CBA, broadcasting rights and the NHL's digital presence, and it isn't exactly revelatory, but it's...an intriguing read.
Excerpted from Dream Job
by Richard Pettie at the Globe and Mail,
What I have noticed is that newspapers love to run photos that cast Gary Bettman in a dark light. If they can make him look bad, they will. By 2013, he had been commissioner for twenty years. He is not a basketball guy – he is now a hockey guy, and he knows and loves the sport. Canadian media and fans are really down on him.
I read and hear the ugly things they say about him in letters to the editor or online comments or on talk radio. Yet Gary soldiers through. He gets it much worse than I ever did.
When he was badly booed while presenting the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, I immediately emailed him and apologized for the boorish behaviour of the Vancouver fans. Perhaps some of them were the same ones who rushed out and trashed the city after the game. I also found the way that Gary has been interviewed by Ron MacLean unacceptable (I’m thinking especially of the now infamous June 2010 exchange on Hockey Night in Canada, which was both vitriolic and confrontational). I guarantee that none of the NFL or NBA rights holders in the United States would ever treat a league commissioner that way. If CBC-TV loses its Canadian TV rights, that interview – it was an attack, really – might well factor in the league’s decision.
If he feels threatened by you, Gary Bettman may do something to hurt you, and he has many ways to do that: national broadcast deals, how many games he gives the CBC, the venue for the All-Star game, the venue for the annual outdoor game, another franchise coming into your territory.
For those of you unfamiliar with the CBC outside of Hockey Night in Canada, Peter Mansbridge, host of The National, is kind of like Tom Brokaw and Walter Kronkite wrapped into one, an incredibly, incredibly respected broadcaster, and when he sits down with people on Canada's nightly newscast, it's a big deal.
Mansbridge sat down with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday, and he did indeed confront the commissioner with the John Scott-David Clarkson scrap, the place of fighting and "the code," expansion and, well, probably some stuff they'll talk about on a later date...
Bettman also happened to speak on the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada radio show today...
More for the Canadian folks who are KK followers...
Gary Bettman on HC@Noon to discuss the latest progress with respect to the league and National television rights, and the goal to get national viewers to consume NHL content across all platforms.