It’s not uncommon to hear fans booing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman even if it’s just to deliver the Stanley Cup to a bunch bearded men who resemble Professor Dumbledore.
I’ve never thought this was fair even if people enjoy holding him responsible for losing the 2004 season. That was 12 years ago people, time to move on. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to simplify the blaming process because the quicker they can place blame the quicker they can start the healing process and it’s much easier to point the finger at the man at the top than it is to take the time to understand the actual process. Plus, it sounds cool to other people when you talk as if you personally know Bettman was responsible.
No matter how much more we care about playoff races the fact remains that if owners didn’t spend so irresponsibly the need for a cap wouldn’t have been necessary and do we really care that much now anyway.
The real fact is that 30 owners love Bettman and he loves the game. Bettman was awarded with a sparkling new contract in January that will keep him the top man through 2022. I’ll go out on a limb and say that at least 70% of the people who are not in favor of the Commish have no idea why. Fans really just show anger because they’re still perplexed why the copy machine says it has a paper jam even though there isn’t any visual evidence of that being a true.
When Quebec and Winnipeg blame Bettman for their team losing it’s only because it’s more difficult to talk about Canadian economics and the fact that they couldn’t or wouldn’t find media outlets that spoke English to increase revenue. Fans never Gary credit for stepping in when the Pittsburgh Penguins were on the verge of leaving Western Pennsylvania. Perhaps we should go back to two line passes being offsides, you can thank him for that change too.
In Las Vegas, if Bill Foley is the ‘Creator’ we should look at Bettman as the ‘Architect’ as we enter phase 252 of the expansion process. Sure this has taken longer than expected. There have been many times where my frustration has boiled mostly because the information we had left to us was like trying to turn coal into diamonds but I have to catch myself and know this isn’t Gary’s doing.
His responses are a reflection 30 owners that love him because in addition to his previous achievements Gary’s about ready to line their pockets with their share of a $500 million dollar expansion fee but I’ve figured out his most redeeming quality yesterday while watching him working his way through an appearance on Fox 5 in New York.
We know the expansion process is coming to a conclusion so you would figure Bettman’s giddiness would be an all time high considering he’s a month away from bringing his league to the impressive new T-mobile Arena while justifying his new deal.
Bettman was directly asked about expansion and I was in position to uncover a facial expression that would indicate expansion would be a 253 phase process. I had such hope as I watched the corners of his mouth to indicate happiness. I wanted just one little curl of the lips to indicate that he was about join The Creator at Wet Republic during the NHL Awards Week. He finished his usual response to this question which I can recite at this point without as much as a eyebrow quiver. Wipe your nose Gary, give me something!
Then it hit hit me. This is not the face of a man who should be boo’d. This isn’t a man who deserves venom because markets lost their teams to American cities.
His lack of expression is exactly what I should want to see because that’s the look of loyalty. Loyal to his owners, loyal to his game, loyal to the history.
For that, Las Vegas should be thankful that he’s the commissioner of our league.
Remember that when he’s handing the Cup to the bearded men of Las Vegas one day soon.
They fixed most of the issues that caused Winnipeg and QC to lose their teams, now they’ve just got to get QC into the fold if there’s an owner that can actually get the league to QC.
It won’t fix the Canadian thing. Canadians are always going to look down on US teams, especially those in places without regular snow, but there is comfort in knowing that after everything settles down we can all get together and boo Gary Bettman, not as Americans and Canadians, but as hockey fans together.
I won’t be booing Bettman, especially since the biggest examples of Bettman booing happens when he presents the cup and that would likely mean Vegas is in the SCF, but he’s one bad move from me joining the boos of the crowd if the boos come showering down on him. After all…it’s tradition.