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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

Speculation: Gary Bettman's future

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12-12-2012, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by colchar View Post
CBettman has been the best the Commissioner/President the league has ever had....
No, he really hasn't.
Ken Dryden disagrees:


I've disagreed with him at times, but I've found him right far more often than wrong. Of all the NHL presidents or commissioners I've seen, as a player, an administrator and a fan, Gary Bettman is easily the best.

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12-12-2012, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pepty View Post
Ken Dryden disagrees:


I've disagreed with him at times, but I've found him right far more often than wrong. Of all the NHL presidents or commissioners I've seen, as a player, an administrator and a fan, Gary Bettman is easily the best.
That's not saying much when you match Bettman against Zeigler and Stein.

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12-12-2012, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Im surprised the NHLPA's negotiating at all, even pretending to be civil. First, the NHL launches its Blitzkrieg. Sends in its Panzers followed by the Shock Troops. Rolls back the clock, the years. Reclaim's what it feels are its lost lands & territories. Attempting to strip the players of hard won rights & freedoms while blaming its own ills' on labour. Then, while starving the population (players, broadcasters, sponsors, fans, countless tens of thousands more who rely on the NHL) to death it begins its negotiations. All the while of course doing irreparable harm to its own brand and image, setting back even further a great many of its franchises who will take years to recover (and some who just might not make it at all) from the folly of so misguided and ill conceived a strategy to begin with. But yup, sure thing AM. Its all the players fault, being lead through the Gates of Purgatory by everyones favourite Anti-Christ; Donald Fehr, and all the Christ like Disciples of the NHL can do is weep as the players take the game right over the edge & into the inferno, dragging the league, the fans, broadcasters & sponsors into the abyss....
And to pay for the players salaries and their profits the NHL teams are holding cities for ransom for tax breaks and capital infusions.

The owners are going to make their money, and I hate the fact that old people on fixed incomes are going to have their property taxes raised so millionaire hockey players can get paid more.

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12-13-2012, 01:15 AM
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I can't stand Gary Bettman, and you could argue his legacy either way. But it has to be understood that he is a product of the Executive Committee and a network of allies in smaller US markets. Bettman is pretty close to Jeremy Jacobs (who was responsible for renewing Bettman's contract last year) and has some loyalty from the smaller US clubs whom he brought into the league and has been a staunch supporter of.

The guys with the influence - of these guys, Jacobs and Snider are generally thought to be Bettman allies.
  • Jeremy Jacobs (Bruins) - Chairman of the Executive Committee
  • Ed Snider (Flyers) - longest serving member of BoG (i think). Also heads a very important media company.
  • Mike Ilitch - bought the Wings in 1982 for less than $10M. Franchise is worth over $300M now, so he can't be too unhappy with what Gary Bettman has done, but Ilitch is probably one of the moderates.
  • James Dolan (NYR)- has been a governor since 1995 and controls a media and sports management empire with over $10B in assets. But Dolan's influence is not what is should be since his confrontation with the Executive Committee over marketing rights. He lost and was pretty much forced to kiss up to Bettman and his supporters. I doubt he's ready to stage any kind of palace coup at this point.
  • Rocky Wirtz (Blackhawks) - he's not his father, and that's probably a good thing, but he also doesn't inherit his father's clout with the BoGs either.
  • Tim Leiweke / Philip Anschutz (Kings) - Anschutz is the heavy hitter, and the Kings can't be happy to not be able to capitalize on their Stanley Cup winning season.

Guys who should be influential, but don't seem to be:
  • Larry Taenbaum (Leafs) - one would think that the governor of the league's most valuable, and highest revenue teams, and an Original 6 team no less, would be influential, but it doesn't seem that Taenbaum weilds much influence. Possibly because the Leafs were owned by Teachers, who were extremely hands off as long as the bottom line was good. But now with Bell and Rogers - two extremely high profile media companies being the majority owners - you would think the Leafs would have some MoJo, but ...
  • Geoff Molson (Canadiens) - Probably the 2nd most important property, but the Molson's are not exactly known for being outspoken.
  • Tom Stillman (Blues) - long time governor (1994) but doesn't seem to be very influential.
  • Ron Burkle / David Morehouse / Mario Lemeiux - In this round, this seems to be the leader of the "moderate" owners. It's hard to be a hardliner when your co-owner is a recently former player and is very close to Sydney Crosby.

But Gary Bettman also has a group of guys who are very close to him. These are guys whom he has either brought into the league or guys whom he "fighting the good fight" for in terms of the core economic issues.
  • Craig Leipold (Wild) - was hand picked by Bettman as an expansion owner, and when he couldn't make a go of it in Nashville, he was pretty much gifted (or brokered might be more accurate) ownership of the Wild.
  • Charles Wang (NYI) - Gary Bettman has backed Wang in all of his struggles with Nassau County and the Township. Wang is notoriously loyal. He's back Bettman.
  • Peter Karmanos Jr (Huricanes) - Karmanos and Jim Rutherford were key players in the strategy to put the NHL into the most important regional TV markets in the US.
  • Phoenix - The NHL controls this vote.

Too new to be influential:
  • Jeff Vinik / Tod Leiweke (Lightning) - Vinik was the brains behind the Fidelity Magellan fund and has connections to the Fenway Group that owns the Boston Red Sock and Liverpool FC. Leiweke is the brother of Tim (Governor of the LA Kings) and also has connections to Anschutz.
  • Tom Gagliardi (Stars) - is a new owner, and therefore likely not as influential. He USED to be very close to the Aquilini's who own the Canucks, but .. not any more. He has connections to players / former players Jerome Iginla, Mark Recchi, Shane Doan and Darryl Sydor with whom he owns the WHL Kamloops Blazers. Probably a moderate as he is a passionate hockey fan and actually plays the game. Gagliardi said in a Dallas interview that basically the executive committee is leading the bargaining efforts and the rest is a "collective".
  • Mark Chipman (Jets) - another new owner who can't be too influential.
  • Terry Pegula - Another newcomer, 2011 for Pegs. It's unlikely he is too enthusiastic about seeing his new investments sitting idle.

  • Francesco Aquilini (Canucks) - Probably a moderate as the Canucks are doing well under the existing CBA and this lockout is poisoning a pretty rabid fan base.
  • Ted Leonsis (Capitals) - don't know much about him.
  • Kevin Compton (Sharks) - the sharks owners are like the 11 dwarfs; a coalition of millionaires in a billionaire's game.
  • Murray Edwards (Flames) - flames are similar to the Sharks, a bunch of millionaires. Last lockout, Flames CEO Harley Hotchkiss led the moderates group as he was close to Iginla who as close to Trevor Linden. Don't know if Edwards is of similar mind or not.
  • Henry Samueli (Ducks) - a team that has struggled with attendance and revenues. Probably backs the hardliners.
  • Josh Kroenke (Avs) - like Samueli, the Avalanche are rebuilding and hurting financially. Could be with the less compromising group.
  • John McConnell (Blue Jackets) - poster child for struggling teams. Probably a hold out.
  • Darryl Katz (Oilers) - probably want hockey sooner rather than later. The Oil break even or make a small profit as I recall, so this lockout hurts. But he has deep enough pockets to absorb it.
  • Cliff Viner (Panthers) - another struggling market and in the hardliners camp.
  • Lou Lamoriello / Jef Vanderveek - don't know where the Devils would fall. Vanderveek is in debt up to his eyeballs.
  • Eugene Melnyk (Senators) - read between the lines, he has been quoted a lot. He wants an end to this.
  • Tom Cigarran (Nashville) - again, small market, tough economy, probably with the hardliners.

But as long as it only takes 8 votes to kill the deal, the coalition of Jeremy Jacobs and the financially troubled teams (plus the ones that are close to Bettman) are likely to stand in the way of any deal.

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12-13-2012, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by LeftCoast View Post
I can't stand Gary Bettman, and you could argue his legacy either way. But it has to be understood that he is a product of the Executive Committee and a network of allies in smaller US markets. Bettman is pretty close to Jeremy Jacobs (who was responsible for renewing Bettman's contract last year) and has some loyalty from the smaller US clubs whom he brought into the league and has been a staunch supporter of.
Nits to pick.

Compton is governor for the Sharks, but Plattner (SAP) and Gund are in the ownership group. Plattner is definitely in the billionaires' club. You would be surprised at the number of teams whose lead owners are not billionaires. IIRC, Plattner has the largest share.

I believe Wilson for Nashville is the wealthiest of their group.

Kroenke for the Avs is extremely wealthy on paper (owns or owned the Rams football team).

Leonsis is a hardliner as is Karmanos. If Jamison gets the Yotes, he is a hardliner. Leonsis is on GB's committee. Lou was a governor (and negotiator) last go round, I am not sure of his current status.

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12-13-2012, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
I do not get this concern about the talent pool. The talent pool is not the problem in this league, and has not been a problem in decades.

The real issue is a problem people have with certain styles of play, especially defensive system play like the trap system and the 1-3-1. These systems can be played by any talent level but are associated with low talent levels because low talent teams try to use them to maximize their chance of winning.

The issue here is that fans like scoring, and defensive systems stifle scoring. And, so goeth the abysmal logic, because defensive systems became popular over a period of time, and untalented teams are known to resort to system play to minimize their weaknesses, it must follow that all the teams that played defensive systems were poor in talent.

The logic has the disadvantage of being absolute poppycock, but other than that, it's a perfectly legitimate argument.
Well a turning point was The Stanley Cup final of the Florida Panthers that got them there with a pretty tight defensive system that Roger Neilson gave them. And these guys had nobody. It proved that by following this blueprint you didn't need talent. And it was a dream come true for Bettman's quick ridiculous expansion.

As for the talent pool, kids play less hockey across the board in Canada. And there are far less great players. Hockey has become too costly for poor people and immigrants coming to this country, and too demanding for families in general. Kids are playing less hockey than anytime in history and the mix of costs and demand, if I would have been a kid in 2012 wanting to play hockey, I woulld not have been able to.

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12-13-2012, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ThisYearsModel View Post
What a bunch of baloney. Are you related to Bettman?

The USA Hockey youth clubs are winning and improving because of better processes and coaching. It has zero to do with expansion into other markets.
This is the most absurd comment I've ever seen on these boards. Try reading what the player from Pa, Ca. etc say.

Originally Posted by ThisYearsModel View Post
Massive TV deal? Really? What is the value of the NFL/NBA/MLB TV deals again? OLN/Versus/NBC Sports netwok? Yeah...brilliant! Unfortunately, the lack of revenue from covering media is one of the major reasons that the games have priced out most families. Te NHL's revenues come from ticket sales.
It's massive compared to what they had before. The NHL is not the NBA or NFL in popularity. Never will be. Judging the NHL by comaring it to the NBA/NFL is idiotic.

Originally Posted by ThisYearsModel View Post
How about game rules that change every few months? How about a completely uneven and unpredictable Shanahan enforcement program? Really, the old-boy way the NHL is run is an embarrassment.
That's laughable. In baseball, they raise and lower the mound every 5 minutes. They change something basic as the strike one repeatedly. As others have pointed out, the NFL changes rules all the time too.

Originally Posted by ThisYearsModel View Post
Add in 3 lockouts during his term, and he needs to go ASAP.

I see. The PA has noting to do with this. There is no such thing as negotiation. Right? It doesn't take 2 sides to make a deal, right?
Originally Posted by ThisYearsModel View Post
Only the greatness of the game itself has kept it from being wrecked by this little man.
You mean it would be ok if it were wrecked by a big man?

Sure the NHL has problems, but these are no worse than the NHL and NBA. Bettman is constantly being held to some standard of perfection that doesn't exist anywhere in sports. Bottom line. The NHL is more popular than ever, both in the US and Canada. It makes more money than it ever has.

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12-13-2012, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Plan The Parade View Post
So because we might fail, we should just restrict ourselves to aedequate profits and limited impact as a niche sport?

Sorry, you don't become rich with that line of thinking.
I didn't say anything of the sort. We are two decades on from this push to expand into non-traditional markets, yet the now has yielded a mixed bag and the future is murky.

One would think that after all this time, there would be some clarity. Yet, gains in TV revenue have been slow to come by (up until what would have been this year, the NHL was receiving virtually zip from American broadcasters) and often lag behind or mirror competitors (suggesting a rise in demand in sports broadcasting, period). There has seemingly been little effort to actually 'Grow the Game,' other than plunking down franchises and turning a blind eye. Has there been a reevaluation of the 1990's expansion? What worked, what didn't work? Usually when a business expands into uncharted territory, there are successes and there are failures. How come the league continues to refuse to acknowledge the failures?

Gary Bettman's tenure as NHL Commissioner has been nothing short of average and frankly, the NHL has needed better than that. Newspaper pundits are correct in arguing that the league has succeeded "in spite of itself."

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