I responded to a post on G+ earlier today and figured I’d bring that rant over here for the general public.
The question was “Why on earth was Gary Bettman ever given a new contract?” Numerous examples of the damage done to the game of hockey during Bettman’s tenure as NHL commissioner were given, including the fact that two long lockouts occurred with a third looking likely.
Over at Puck Daddy, Ryan Lambert touched on the same topic earlier today. I know Wings fans are supposed to hate him but he’s right this time.
Here’s my version of the response…
He hasn’t been canned because what most fans fail to take into consideration is that Gary Bettman is not employed to make hockey better. Gary Bettman is employed by the owners to act on their behalf. For the most part, the owners want to make more money. If they can do that by locking out the players, they will.
We may know that Bettman sucks but he gets the owners what they want (which should tell us that fans shouldn’t be siding with owners). He doesn’t tell them what to do, they tell him what to do. If there’s another lockout, it’s because enough of the owners think that will be good for business, and the ones who don’t aren’t willing to fight them on it.
Mike Ilitch has said he hates the salary cap but he has no problem pocketing the money he saves by it having been implemented. Those savings weren’t passed on to fans by cutting ticket prices, after all. And he’s one of the owners generally regarded as caring about the sport.
Bettman is a weasel but he’s a weasel who does a very good job. The fact that so many people complain about him while praising their favorite team’s owner is a sign of that.