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"Me like Sergi Federov, Me like him more if head were off. Me Like Hockey!"
Orange County, CA • 26 Years Old • Male
It has been 3 years since the lockout and 15 years since Bettman has taken over the job of NHL Commissioner. My question is this, has Gary Bettman helped our game or has he changed it too much far beyond recognition. Here are some pros and cons to consider, and please by all means add your own. I want to hear what fellow hockey lovers around the world think about the direction in which our game is headed.

In his tenure he has increased overall league wide revenue
He has expanded the NHL by adding 6 new teams
Balanced the book of NHL finances
Cracked down on bad infractions
Outdoor games

Focused on southern expansion and relocation
Basically removed the easy access of hockey from television
Has been a part of two NHL lockouts, and canceled a complete season due to one of them
Under his reign fighting and physical games are becoming more and more scarce

Jury still out on:
Has his change of the NHL identity better the game or is it loosing its tradition?
i.e. - trapezoid box, less fighting to appeal to Americans
The NHLs embrace of new media outlets (internet)
In about a year or two well be able to better asses this one

These are just a few things on the Bettman list, but as I was writing it I started to think. The reason we lost out on the lockout year was because many teams were loosing money. The league said it was player's salaries, but I bet many of the teams that were in the red were teams in the southern U.S., teams that Bettman insisted on expanding and relocating to. That leads me to think, what if this is all just Bettman cleaning up the mess he made. In conclusions I want to here what everyone thinks, from why I suck at blogging to conspiracy theories on why Bettman canceled the x-files.

edit: this just in the Chad Kilger suspension in Flordia is a Gary Bettman cover up, details to follow!
Filed Under:   Bettman   NHL   ???  
May 23, 2008 3:35 PM ET | Delete
I don't think you suck at blogging, I think the government cancelled the x-files (they were getting too closed to something J/K), and I unfortunately can't speak to the changes that have been made, except for one. I like the ebrace of the internet. I think you can reach a much larger audience through the internet and a bigger audience is deffinitely what the league needs. Maybe then it will get better coverage by the main stream media (TV). I do however, do not like Bettman's constant defending of the quality of officiating. The only thing that's constistant about it, is that is contisitantly bad. I heard someone say that he doesn't nedd to keep changing the rules, just routinely enforce the ones already in place. Maybe I'll right a blog about that...
May 23, 2008 4:07 PM ET | Delete
Yeah, the league can reach a much larger audience though the net. Lets just hope they don't botch it up like they did with T.V. As for the officiating that is a valid area in which I didn't cover. Your right, there are far to many inconstistancies there.
May 23, 2008 4:36 PM ET | Delete
I'd take 2 off of the pro list.outdoor games are just a gimmick...and this is coming from a Sabres fan.I don't see the expansion under Bettman as a pro either.IMO he's been an overall disaster for this league.
May 24, 2008 2:07 AM ET | Delete
Bettman is the destroyer of this league.
May 24, 2008 7:50 AM ET | Delete
Personally, I'm not a hockey elitist that views the expansion into the sunbelt as a negative. Considering the fact that if this weren't the case, you wouldn't have a Stanley Cup Champion in your own backyard, I'm surprise YOU view it this way. Expansion into the sunbelt has exposed more people to hockey who would otherwise have no reason to pay attention. How is that bad?
May 24, 2008 6:34 PM ET | Delete
Is bettman a savior or a destroyer. Thats a trick question right? Anbody with any knowledge of the sport of hockey, knows this guy is the BIGGEST IDIOT and has ruined the great sport of hockey!!!
May 25, 2008 6:09 AM ET | Delete
To Predaceous, First let me say, I am trying to view the situation with some objectivity with what is best for the league in my mind. Have I enjoyed watching the Ducks win the cup? Yes. Do I feel the league actually benefits from it in the long run? Probably not. First and foremost I want whats best for the league. Before I am a Ducks fan, or a Leafs fan, I am a hockey fan. Secondly, how is hockey expose in the sunbelt bad? One, many teams aren't making money and become a hindrance on the league, I for one don't really see a purpose in having two teams in Socal, but I divert. Two, in most traditional markets people either love hockey or they don't watch it. But it seems with the expansion into the sunbelt it creates a new type of hockey fan, the "casual" fan. Fans who don't really know anything about the game, history or tradition and try to represent it. Many times making hockey fans look bad. These are not elitist views, I am not saying you have to be born a fan or be from a major hockey town. What I am saying is if a person is a true hockey fan then they should learn what the game is about and the culture thats behind it. This is a game that means a lot to many people and as such should be respected. All to often I've heard from the "casual" hockey fans that the only reason they like to watch a hockey game is because of the fights. As a fan who has defended fighting in hockey to family members, friends, and other sports fans statements like that make my stomach turn. I personally believe that the only way to create "true" hockey fans is through a grassroots movement. We as a community are better able to represent the game, and when we bring in a new person to share the game with, we are better able to show then the traditions that make our game unique and loveable (like the octipi throwing in Det. but thats another blog for another time). Remember we as the fans are the best ambassadors to the game. Bettman can create as many teams as he wants in the south but it will never equal the expansion capable of the leagues current fans.
May 25, 2008 6:14 AM ET | Delete
I would also like to thank all of you for reading and sharing you comments.
May 25, 2008 1:18 PM ET | Delete
Gary Bettman is a destroyer. Period. The only positive thing that he's done is made the NHL more technologically savvy than the rest of the sports world. But any idiot could have done that. I'm not necessarily against expansion to non-hockey markets, but it was done poorly. Bettman just seemed to have a "if you build it they will come mentality." In actuality, he should have gotten behind minor league clubs and youth hockey in these markets a bit more before plopping down franchises in Florida and the like.
May 25, 2008 11:04 PM ET | Delete
Kriv, someone on this forum once said that putting another team in Canada would be like bringing sand to the beach. I think I agree with that comment. You have issues with the 'casual' fan, but it's the casual fan that's going to increase the awareness of this game. It's the casual fan who can turn on the tv and decide to watch the hockey game just because. This sport NEEDS casual fans. Right now it's either love it or hate it. No middle. Just to illustrate for you, since the Predators have come to Nashville, kids leagues, adult leagues, and women's leagues have sprung up where they never existed before. Before the Preds there were no high school hockey teams, now there is a state championship. The interest is growing, and that's EXCELLENT for hockey. If you think otherwise then I don't know what else to say to you. Btw, I'm from Southern California and grew up watching the Kings. I moved to Orange County in High School and bought my first season tickets - Ducks tickets. I strongly disagree that there isn't room for two teams in Southern California.
May 26, 2008 1:04 AM ET | Delete
Sorry Kriv, I have to agree with Pred on this one. Southern California is so vast that it can easily support two hockey teams. The Ducks have a strong fan base, of course because they won the cup, and the Kings fan base has been around for years waiting to taste victory, they just need to figure out how to market more effectively to the LA audience. I live an hour away from either franchise, and suport the northern team first and formost, but I do support the Kings as well. And if you haven't seen "In the Crease" yet, then you don't realize the extreme talent that has been building through the region through street hockey players switching over to ice. Some of the best young guys (14-16 yr olds) are playing for the California Wave, and that team already looks like they play in the NHL. Give them time to get bigger and faster, and watch out. The best thing about those kids, is that they come from all across the state, ranging from San Diego to Merin county. I think hockey in the sunny states wil get more popular if the teams can market themselves better.
May 26, 2008 2:03 AM ET | Delete
Who wouldn't want to go into a cool hockey rink when its 95 degrees outside?
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