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)

Comments (21)

  1. I don’t think that Bettmans popularity is very high amongst players, but this is from ESPN, what are the chances they didn’t ask any NHL players and then the guy going through the data saw 0 yes votes from NHL players and included them?

  2. If Gary Bettman is a weasel, shouldn’t he have to show up at NHL arenas, after this stupidity is over, in a weasel suit? (The pro rassler, Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan, had to on numerous occasions).

  3. As much as the players hate Bettman, I’m pretty sure the owners love him. The players need to realize that he is there to stay. Don’t like him? Go play in the KHL, or take up golf.

  4. I was at my morning hockey class, and mentioned that I respected Gary Bettman. Not because I think he’s good for the game, but because he’s exceptional at what he does. I always admire people who are in the perfect job for their personality and love their work. Gary Bettman fits that role.

    However, my explanation was not enough to keep the instructor from shooting pucks at me for most of the rest of the class (jokingly, of course).

    • If you’re postulating that what Bettman does is lock out NHL players, I’d have to agree. He’s very good at that.

      • That is what the owners pay him for…

      • Or grow league revenues to record levels, or land the largest TV contract in league history, or oversee the creation of things such as 24/7 and the Winter Classic.

        The stupidity that fills peoples heads when Bettman comes up never ceases to amaze me. I expect it from the majority of the NHLPA, particularly now in the midst of a labor stoppage, but the complete cluelessness displayed by the general hockey fan population regarding the business side of the NHL is stunning.

        • Who can honestly say any another league commish wouldn’t have done the same in that time.

          Over the last 20 years it’s only natural for inflation, population growth and incomes to increase. Whoever had been in charge of the NHL would have been there for record growth, revenues, tv deals, etc…. It just happened to be Gary.

          If Gary hadn’t been in charge, maybe it would be a 5 billion dollar industry which only had 1 lockout over the last 17 years, no one knows….

          • Ha, well if we’re playing that game if I had been in charge of NASA we’d have colonized the moon by now. How can I back that up? Oh, I can’t, but it would have happened.

            What a silly argument, further cementing my previous point.

          • “Over the last 20 years it’s only natural for inflation, population growth and incomes to increase. ”

            Take a look at real wage growth over the past twenty years sometimes. It’s basically been flat.

            NHL revenues have *far* outpaced inflation.

  5. On the flip side, is keeping Bettman around hurting the owners chances of making a deal when the guy is clearly disliked by the opposition? I mean, I can see the argument that he gets them what they want, but what if it doesn’t happen this time?

    Is Gary Bettman’s docuhey-ness getting in the way of a deal?

    • bettman isn’t the douche in this helvetica, the players are. why should they get the bigger slice of a pie that they invest zero dollars in?

      • No money only their life and limbs, which are not replaceable and are an equal part of the equation. What a moron.

  6. *sigh*

    Honestly, I find this whole hatred of all things Bettman to be tiring. Especially when NHL players vent about him, but NOT about the owners who are pulling his strings. If the players really wanted to make a statement, they’d starting pointing out their repsective owners as a part of the problem. Sure, Bettman is much more recognizable puppet, er, proxy, of the owners that fans can relate to as opposed to listing a a litany of owners who are to blame.

    Like Dave K, I think that Bettman is fantastic at what he does, and his exponentially increasing salary reflects that: he represents the owners’ collective interests. Are his negotiation demands draconian? Yeah, but the owners don’t care enough to fire him.

    I’ll become a permanent fan of the first player who stands up and says his owner is part of the problem.

    • the players will never say things about their owner. they are cowards who hide behind twitter accounts. those punks know that they have it pretty damn good, and it’s still not enough.

  7. Great to have you back JB – you speak the truth (and do so in such an entertaining way). I have never quite understood the vitriol directed at Bettman – because he is acting as the agent of the owners. Where’s the hate for those money grubbing fools (clearly I am annoyed too).

    I know it’s complicated, and there is a good amount of right and wrong on both sides (incl in what Bettman has done for the league), but it does seem counterproductive for the players to pound on Bettman exclusively. To me it makes the players seems a bit like simpletons. They need to start calling out the owners in this whole mess (and that’s prob me being naive).

    Cooler heads need to prevail in these negotiations and one thing I believe pretty strongly is that Bettman and the Fehr bros are at least being cerebral about it instead of hot headed.

    P Connors, your comment is hilarious.

    • It’s nice to be back and writing. Been months since that’s been the only thing to do during my work day!

  8. Dont worry there are thousands of Fehr haters too

  9. Why users still use to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is accessible on net?

  10. Vote against a guy whose management caused the cap to go up by 50% over the term of the CBA.

    I know the average player isn’t exactly as smart as Bourne, but… c’mon, now.

    (Who wants to bet that the players who did say they’d re-elect him are all members of the Coyotes’ “THANK GOD WE DIDN’T MOVE TO THE PEG!” club?)

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