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Gary Bettman - Good or Bad for NHL?

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Old
01-15-2007, 01:40 PM
  #1
oilerfan18
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Gary Bettman - Good or Bad for NHL?

Since the Oilers are not doing so well and I don't want to get into why as all the other posts do that, I have another topic to discuss. It happened the other night over a couple beers with a buddy and we were discussing whether or not Gary Bettman has done a good job with the NHL in the past decade and a bit.

Bettman took over the NHL on Feb 1, 1993. The NHL was uber popular with Gretzky being in the US and guys like Messier winning cups in New York. Hockey was among the top sports in the US and was close to rivaling MLB. The time also had expansion teams, teams moving south, and a couple lock-outs.

I argue that even though Bettman got "Financial Stability" now in the NHL and a fair playing field and help saving what is left for hockey in Canada, he has done a poor job with the game south of the boarder.

Bettman was handed the NHL on a silver platter and has since drove it into the ground and no one in the US cares. For the sake of this topic, lets leave out the, "who cares about US, hockey is Canadian" arguements. The TV/Money has to come out the the US and without it, the sport will continue to sputter along.

I have some other points, but lets have this post for an appetizer.

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01-15-2007, 01:49 PM
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The Big E
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We hates's him in MN

Ooooooh I HATE Gary Bettman. Those beady little eyes and horrible case of 'little guy syndrome'. He and Norm Green will always be hated in Minnesota for moving the North Stars to Texas.

The CBA is long needed and both sides were intractable. If Bettman had been more of an leader, he would've found a way to avoid losing a season. I do not attirbute the new rules which have reinvigorated the game to Bettman's leadership, but to the GMs finally pulling their heads out of their Shaite Pipes and agreeing to pull the game out of the defensive-minded doldrums that it had sunk into under Bettman.

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01-15-2007, 01:58 PM
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Bettman is a rat, and a chump. He's made SO many errors with the NHL that it's laughable he's still around. When the CFL tried US expansion and it didn't work... the league admitted it's mistake and withdrew. Bettman seems incapable of admitting error. Look at Nashville for cripes sakes, one of the best teams in the league and can't draw flies.

The NHL will only begin to reclaim its spot as a major sport in the US when Bettman is gone and someone with a new vision is calling the shots. There are markets in Canada, and even the US who should have teams right now but don't. There have been rumblings about expanding the league to 32 teams which is nothing more than a stupid cash grab. They need to contract 4 teams and move a couple more at least as part of a plan to make the NHL what it once was, a first class sports league.

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01-15-2007, 02:09 PM
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01-15-2007, 02:35 PM
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I think that a lot of people are going to hate Bettman for the increases of Salaries prior to the last lockout, two teams leaving Canada for different markets, the lockout itself and the mass changes in the game.

However I think overall Bettman has done a far better job in marketing the NHL and getting it stabilized then past commissioners including the exceedingly well tanned John Ziegler.

If your looking at the issues of expansion Bettman would be ultimately responsible for the franchises in Columbus, Atlanta, Nashville and Minny. Out of those three Columbus and Minny have had some strong off ice successes, so thats a plus for Bettman. Nashville started off strong, but the length of time it took for that team to be successful combined with some poor work with the corporate community have caused some problems. But those issues were caused by the Nashville ownership dropping the ball and not taking advantage of its early momentum. Atlanta hasn't been great off the ice, but the initial ownership group was very good (unlike Tampa and Floridas which were disasters waiting to happen)

You can't blame the expansion into Tampa, Florida or Anaheim on Bettman, they were driven through by Ziegler, Stein and the board of governers in a frantic search for expansion fee money.

Quebec didn't have the building for the modern NHL, and IIRC they weren't willing to build one, and the market probably wouldn't have supported a modern NHL franchise. Winnipeg was very much the same, and Bettman didn't have much choice as local ownership didn't step up to the plate in Manitoba which can be construed as a lack of interest in maintaining an NHL franchise.

Colorado has been a good success, The Coyotes not so much because they played out of a building that wasn't a great NHL building, and then build one outside of the metro area. Phoenix was a good idea at the time though because of all the snowbirds that live down there in the winter.

moving Hartford to Carolina had to happen due to a strong lack of support, but Carolina has actually been one of the better of the non original 6 U.S. franchises.

When Bettman came on board he was just in time for the 1994 lockout or strike that had been brewing for sometime, and while he wanted to prevent the salaray escalation that happened over the next 10 years by holding firm against the union. He didn't have time to build the type of consensus that he had in 2004 and the owners pulled the rug out from under him by negotiating a terrible side deal with the union. I still remember New Jersey telling the rest of the owners to screw the small markets.

Because of that bad deal, small markets suffered as both the union and the large maket owners exploited a terrible CBA to screw the small market teams out of keeping any of thier good players, they also forced a massive increase in ticket prices as small market teams tried and failed to keep up.

Bettman did a great job in the 2004 lockout. He made teams put away war chests got a consensus of support so the large market teams couldn't pull the rug out from under him again. Destroyed the Union by going head to head with them, and basicaly got everything that the owners wanted.

The new rules thing is a fiasco and I'm not a big fan of them, but he did listen to what the fans wanted, and put a mechanism in place with the competition committee to implement him.

The problem with the NHL is more with the individual owners then it is with Bettman. Its difficult though because a lot of them don't see hockey teams as a business, but a toy or glamor piece so when they market or make player decisions or whatever they're thinking with thier sack not with thier heads.

Bettman to me has done a pretty good job considering he's always fighting the union or the owners.

I heard a suggestion once that Gretzky should be the commissioner, and I laughed at that suggestion as it would be the quickest way to put the league out of business. You don't put a person in charge of a 2.3 billion dollar business because he's a good spokes person or a minor celeb, or a smart hockey guy. You put a business person who's a bit of a dick in charge. You might hate him but in the end chances are you'll be successful

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01-15-2007, 02:44 PM
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OntOilFan
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Say what you want about Bettman, but he did not blink at all during CBA negotiations.

That man has my respect. He has stones.

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01-15-2007, 02:54 PM
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Bettman did stand his ground with the new CBA and I do think he did a good job in that aspect. I still think that he has handled the NHL TV situation very poorly. The current TV is a joke for the NHL. Outdoor Life? The NHL needed to stay on ESPN. The the small amount of money the Outdoor Life network is providing the NHL will do nothing in the long run of the sports popularity. I believe he should have stayed with ESPN even though there was no "guarantee" of a profit. If the NHL wants to be considered a major sport, it has to be on major sporting networks like ESPN, not the Outdoor Life network, to which no one subscribes to and if they do, they probably aren't interested in major league sports. I think this is a major mistake for the NHL in its quest for gaining popularity. I think the deal the NHL has with NBC is no profit unless X viewers, but at this point, the NHL needs exposure, not tiny amounts of $ from non sports networks.

Am I wrong?

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01-15-2007, 05:15 PM
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Recently, Bettman has done good. He has saved the NHL and grown it, albeit perhaps too much....

However, I think the NHL is at a point where he cannot help it, only hurt it. He has done his job, it's time for someone new to take over with a more realistic perspective and fresh ideas

edit to add: his views seem to be short-term, which worked in a crisis. But now we need more long-term views for market growth. see oilerfan18's post about espn vs. oln

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01-16-2007, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainCrunch67 View Post
If your looking at the issues of expansion Bettman would be ultimately responsible for the franchises in Columbus, Atlanta, Nashville and Minny. Out of those three Columbus and Minny have had some strong off ice successes, so thats a plus for Bettman. Nashville started off strong, but the length of time it took for that team to be successful combined with some poor work with the corporate community have caused some problems. But those issues were caused by the Nashville ownership dropping the ball and not taking advantage of its early momentum. Atlanta hasn't been great off the ice, but the initial ownership group was very good (unlike Tampa and Floridas which were disasters waiting to happen)
But hown-da-heell can anyone justify keeping the NHL out of the MN market for 8 years? Wasn't Nashville and Miami in the '98 expansion ... how can they be justified over MN? Freakin' Thunder Bay would support the Panthers better than Miami. MN has led the league in merchandising since 99 (one year before the 1st puck was dropped in the X). We've sold out every game ever. We will continue to sell out for ... ever? We filled four sections for the preseason open practice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oilerfan18 View Post
Bettman did stand his ground with the new CBA and I do think he did a good job in that aspect. I still think that he has handled the NHL TV situation very poorly. The current TV is a joke for the NHL. Outdoor Life? The NHL needed to stay on ESPN. The the small amount of money the Outdoor Life network is providing the NHL will do nothing in the long run of the sports popularity. I believe he should have stayed with ESPN even though there was no "guarantee" of a profit. If the NHL wants to be considered a major sport, it has to be on major sporting networks like ESPN, not the Outdoor Life network, to which no one subscribes to and if they do, they probably aren't interested in major league sports. I think this is a major mistake for the NHL in its quest for gaining popularity. I think the deal the NHL has with NBC is no profit unless X viewers, but at this point, the NHL needs exposure, not tiny amounts of $ from non sports networks.

Am I wrong?
Unlike John Goodman in The Big Lebowsky, you are right.

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01-16-2007, 12:55 PM
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Captain Pilsner
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Originally Posted by The Big E View Post
Unlike John Goodman in The Big Lebowsky, you are right.
you're outta your element Donnie

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01-16-2007, 01:15 PM
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Are you satisfied with the current NHL?
Are you happy with the way it's being marketed in the USA?

If the answer is no, then no, Gary Bettman is not good for the game of hockey.

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01-16-2007, 01:28 PM
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Here's why I don't like Bettman :

His job is to increase profits for the owners, by pretty much any means necessary. Which mean's I'd probably dislike just about anyone in his seat.

I care about the game of hockey, and the game of hockey in Canada. I think it's one of the few things that really unites Canadians, and I want it to remain strong in Canada.
Under Bettman's watch, Canada has lost two teams, mostly because they did not make financial sense. Fine, I know money makes the world go 'round, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I can't really blame Bettman personally, and I can't really blame him for trying to grow revenues, it's his job after all. I just don't like how the NHL seems to have taken the hardcore fans for granted in it's attempts to make more revenues.

There are plenty of other things the NHL has done that I don't agree with, but I'm not gonna blame them on Bettman personally.

This is my new favourite quote :

"Hockey must be a strong game to survive the men who run it" - Conn Smythe.

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01-16-2007, 01:29 PM
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Bettman showed his he would never want another canadian team by not selling the Pens, and why was the NHL even in the sale process anyway? Shouldn't Mario and his group be talking to the new potential owner? Seems to me Bettman does everything in his power to prevent more teams to Canada and tries to move out as fast as possible.

Bettman has done a terrible job marketting the NHL to the states, ESPN shares of the blame too but Bettman did nothing to help and now he has to get any TV deal he can, pathetic.

And how Bettman sticks his nose and thinks what's better for American viewers by taking away fighting, its bull****, Bettman should have been gone before he was even hired, go back to the NBA at least you (Bettman) can't screw that up any worse than it is.

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01-16-2007, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smytty Heart View Post
you're outta your element Donnie
Gold! Man that movie is hilarious. Am I wrong? Shut up Donnie.

Good points made by people so far. I think the NHL is botching the Penguins situation terribly. Here is a team that is loaded with super-stars / future super-stars and Mario seems to have his hands tied. I'm sorry to say this but I think the Penguins need to get out of Pittsburgh.

How about league contraction, has a dispersal draft of all the players and Oilers picking up Crosby or Malkin.....could happen.....shut it Donnie.

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01-16-2007, 02:09 PM
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Bettman is a cancer on the game of hockey. He's killing it.

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01-16-2007, 02:18 PM
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Bettman, his ideas are stale and so is the league. Let's grow the game in REAL hockey markets, I don't want to see Oklahoma in this league and not see a team in Winnipeg. So yeh ditch Bettman ASAP!!!!!!!!!!

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01-16-2007, 02:27 PM
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Good for NHL, bad for hockey.

He's doen a good job for NHL (see CaptainCrunh post above) but as far as the game itself is concerned I didn't care too much about the strategy employed in the last 15-20 years. Is the product on the ice better than it was in the early to mid 80s? If anything, more teams menas deluted talent and many players that 20 years ago wouldn't get a sniff at the pro level are now playing in NHL.

There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, if NHL remained a regional league with teams located in the hotbeds of hockey. Unless a new ice age is upon us, hockey will always remain a fringe sport in some markets south of the border. Economically viable, maybe, but miles behind baseball, football, basketball in terms of community interest and support. Those that love CFL don't love it any less because it has not expanded in US, do they?

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01-16-2007, 02:49 PM
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I strongly belive that everything Bettman has done was a good % play to improve the financial situation of the NHL.

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01-16-2007, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilerfan18 View Post
Since the Oilers are not doing so well and I don't want to get into why as all the other posts do that, I have another topic to discuss. It happened the other night over a couple beers with a buddy and we were discussing whether or not Gary Bettman has done a good job with the NHL in the past decade and a bit.

Bettman took over the NHL on Feb 1, 1993. The NHL was uber popular with Gretzky being in the US and guys like Messier winning cups in New York. Hockey was among the top sports in the US and was close to rivaling MLB. The time also had expansion teams, teams moving south, and a couple lock-outs.

I argue that even though Bettman got "Financial Stability" now in the NHL and a fair playing field and help saving what is left for hockey in Canada, he has done a poor job with the game south of the boarder.

Bettman was handed the NHL on a silver platter and has since drove it into the ground and no one in the US cares. For the sake of this topic, lets leave out the, "who cares about US, hockey is Canadian" arguements. The TV/Money has to come out the the US and without it, the sport will continue to sputter along.

I have some other points, but lets have this post for an appetizer.
Maybe I'm very wrong but was the NHL popularity EVER close to MLB? I don't belive that was EVER the case.

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01-16-2007, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrel_master View Post
Maybe I'm very wrong but was the NHL popularity EVER close to MLB? I don't belive that was EVER the case.
considering the MLB players' strike in 1994 almost destoryed the sport I would say yes for a very short time it did

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01-16-2007, 03:04 PM
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considering the MLB players' strike in 1994 almost destoryed the sport I would say yes for a very short time it did
I seriously doubt that, so much so that one would have to provide a 3rd person link for me to belive it or have this confirmed by some respected board member.

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01-16-2007, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Moose View Post
Good for NHL, bad for hockey.

This is what I was trying to say, though I'm not all that sure he's been all that great for the NHL even. Most of the major profits made in the 90's were from temporary spurts, expansion money and a huge TV contract from Disney/ABC which was for far more than the NHL deserved. Bettman (or the Board of Governers or whoever) increased profits without actually increasing the popularity of the sport.

It remains to be seen what sort of effect "the new NHL" has on growing the popularity of the game.

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01-17-2007, 01:09 AM
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Bettman served his purpose

I think it is time for the nhl to go in another direction

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01-17-2007, 12:59 PM
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At least Bettman hasn't forced a Nike-made synthetic plastic puck that is claimed to have better "grip" than the previous rubber....Or completey change the break away contest into a "moves from the 80's all time greats" where the allstar player has to duplicate a deke Lemiuex did in '86...or fine our players for wearing any bling coming into the rink.....

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01-17-2007, 01:00 PM
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At least Bettman hasn't forced a Nike-made synthetic plastic puck that is claimed to have better "grip" than the previous rubber.
No, but he did bring in a puck that couldn't be frozen and would bounce everywhere so viewers at home could see it easier. And that ended the same way too.

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