They’ve never liked Gary Bettman…NHL Commissioner. But then again, they never liked any of those leaders prior, John Zielger dating back to the historic days of Clarence Campbell.
It might be an “American thing”, that one of ours is running theirs, the sport the Canadians believe is their heritage.
The NHL is marching thru the Stanley Cup finals after a glorious post season run of games decided by 1-goals, overtimes, amazing saves.
Bettman wants us to believe the NHL is at its highest point.
Don’t know if the league is where it used to be in the Edmonton Oilers great Gretzky days, or the days of the Mike Bossy-led New York Islanders, and surely not the days of Beliveau-Richard-LaFleur-Montreal Canadiens.
Yes we have had a splash of great young talent, Connor McDavid and Austyn Matthews.
Yes, the NBC-TV contract is spectacular in terms of dollars, clearances, and viewership.
Yes, the new Hockey Night in Canada-Rogers network package remains tremendous in presentation and importance.
Yes, a sunbelt team is the finals, those yellow jerseys of the Nashville Predators, in a city that once supported the Nashville Dixie Flyers.l
Yes, a new franchise just forked over 500M to play in the high desert, the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Yes, concussions are down to penalty calls, new rules, some suspensions.
Yes, Donald Fehr seems no longer the catalyst for labor strife, but then again, anything was better than the corrupt Alan Eagleson.
But all is not well across the NHL landscape.
There is bitterness over the Bettman led-owners decision, not to allow players to go the Olympics. The NHL refused to shutdown the game for 18-days, unless they got money.
The concussion issues remain, including Bettman’s feelings there is no link between concussions and CTE, evenough a number of NHL tough guys have died terrible deaths in recent years.
That concussion lawsuit is still out there, not to be ignored, just ask the NFL.
We have more officials on the ice than ever before, but we still have inconsistent hot-and-cold calls on thinks like boarding, cross checking and hits on goalies.
Instant replay and coaches challenges sometimes work then don’t work, depending on the game.
Goal scoring has been at an all time low for a 5-year run up this till winter, and the league still needs to find a way to tweak rules that might open the game up more.
Ailing franchises still dot the map, the sick situation with the near homeless Arizona Coyotes in Phoenix, the Florida Panthers malaise, the Carolina Hurricanes market-owner issues.
And still sitting out there, open markets with arenas like Quebec City, Kansas City, and the potential of Seattle.
Enjoy the games, Sir Sidney Crosby, Doc Emrick and Don Cherry, but don’t buy into the slap shot sales pitch the NHL is doing great. Still way too many things unresovled.
Some truth. Some fiction.
Guess for hockey fans on both sides of the border, another reason to dislike Gary Bettman, these NHL playoffs not-withstanding.