Players would love to see him keep walking...

I know that you know that the players hate Gary Bettman. The fact that we can sense it during interviews which are usually as sanitary as a hospital means when the cameras are off they’re shredding the guy.

And I don’t really need to explain why, though let’s take a quick second to acknowledge this is the hat-trick lockout for the uber-smart super-weasel that represents the owners in the battle to wring every dollar out of the NHL that’s physically possible, no matter what the cost to the game and its fans. (Ahem. Sorry, I may be a bit annoyed too.)

But still, as in most matters of opinion, it’s rare that any sizable group of people agree 100% on any topic.

ESPN the Magazine recently conducted an anonymous poll of 62 athletes in the four major sports leagues, gauging their interest on certain social issues heading into the upcoming election in the US (hint: baseball players may be slightly right of center). One of the questions they asked the players was “If your league commissioner were to run for office, would you vote for him or someone else?”

Drumroll please…

To quote Rick James:

You already knew this, but when it comes to the CBA negotiations, Bettman being involved can’t be helping speed the process along. It’s one thing to trade hockey cards with a buddy and say “Fine, I feel like I’m losing this deal, but you seem to really want this one, so I can live with that.” It’s another to be offered the same deal from a guy you despise, which can end up leading to blows.

The players are competitive people, so the thought of giving into Bettman must be as appealing as putting your finger in Alex Burrow’s mouth. It’s just another road block to a situation that needs all the help it can get.

But, the fantasy of Gary going away is just that: a fantasy. The best anyone can hope for is that some player can get his hands on a ring like the one above, and leave a mark on Gary like the one below. I’m guessing the fans would be united in that cause too.

 (Stick-tap to Pro Hockey Talk)