Watching Gary Bettman's introduction as NHL commissioner 25 years later is like watching the first concerts for one of his favorite classic rock [url=http://www.officialpittsburghpenguins.com/Adidas-Larry-Murphy-Jersey]Larry Murphy Youth jersey[/url] bands, like The Doors or the Grateful Dead. e's strikingly young -- 40 years old at the time of his hiring away from the NBA, looking a bit like "The Office"-era Steve Carell -- but you can see the same moves he has perfected in subsequent years. The way he looks off to the side before delivering a "however" in answering questions. The way most answers pivot from "the needs of the owners" to some variation on "our fans are the best fans." He exhibits the same confidence he still maintains in speaking today, but without the sassy attitude.
He sat a table in a West Palm Beach, Florida, hotel draped in standard-issue linens, with an NHL banner hanging in back of him. It looked like a city council [url=http://www.raidersofficialfootball.com/Authentic-Shilique-Calhoun-Jersey]Womens Shilique Calhoun Jersey[/url] meeting in the same way that Bettman's news conferences -- during which he frequently stands at a podium with a teleprompter -- look presidential and polished.
On Feb. 1, 1993, the first commissioner in NHL history -- a necessary title change to differentiate from the ineffectual presidents of bygone years -- laid out his vision for the game. He wanted a salary cap. He wanted to increase the NHL's footprint. He wanted to be progressive in a way the league's conservative "old boys' club" wasn't. He thought TV was the key to the whole thing working. Most of all, he wanted to change public perception of the NHL.
"We're going to have to improve the way we are perceived, the way we are followed, the way we look. We can be worthy of attention," Bettman said.For 25 years, Gary Bettman has been the center of attention in the NHL. Here's the good and the bad of his tenure as commissioner. When Bettman was named the NHL's first commissioner, he took over a league office that was stunningly short on league officers. He expanded the staff, including a key hire in Brian Burke as vice president of hockey operations, and consolidated his people in Manhattan, leading the NHL into a more corporate and polished approach like the one he experienced while working in the NBA. That included transforming the league's board of governors meetings from cocktail hours on Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz's yacht into formal, agenda-driven discussion periods that Bettman organized and run, as they still are today.
"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Oh, hey, listen to that: It's the sound of Gary Bettman walking onto the ice to crown a new champion and invite its captain to hoist the Stanley Cup. The fact is that, away from the public, Bettman is actually a rather charismatic, insightful and humorous guy. But as the de facto face of the NHL for the past 25 years, his very presence inspires Pavlovian jeering -- which, frankly, is by design, as the hired lightning rod for the owners' unpopular whims. That said, he's probably the second most popular commissioner (behind the NBA's Adam Silver) of the four major pro sports leagues.
It doesn't matter what benefits it eventually yielded, or how Bettman and his supporters frame it as a necessity for the league's current health. The 2004-05 lockout was the first time a major pro sports league in North America lost an entire season to a labor dispute and the first time the Stanley Cup wasn't awarded since 1919 -- when a then-2-year-old NHL had to cancel the finals because of a flu outbreak. Of course the same owners who signed off on this embarrassment spent the next several years raising salaries and circumventing the cap they fought to establish -- such as with "back-diving" contracts that Bettman retroactively punished in the 2013 collective bargaining agreement.
While some might scoff at this -- hey, we miss the division names, too -- Bettman has steadfastly protected several facets of the NHL despite heavy external pressure to change them. The playoffs have stayed at 16 teams; and despite marathon overtime sessions, Bettman has rejected the idea of a postseason shootout. Fox Sports wanted the NHL to move from three periods to two halves, and Bettman never entertained it. (We'll categorize the glow puck as a noble failure, in hindsight.)
And then there were the clarion calls to end fighting. Bettman has always said fighting was part of the game, which it was -- and as the game changed, fighting organically started to disappear. "He never said you were not allowed to fight anymore. But what he did was he curtailed the rules, then eventually and slowly eliminated fighting from the sport of hockey," Wayne Gretzky told the Toronto Star.
Bettman's legacy on the NHL's concussion crisis will likely be cemented when the massive lawsuits [url=http://www.authenticwarriorstore.com/Javale_Mcgee_Jersey]http://www.authenticwarriorstore.com/Javale_Mcgee_Jersey[/url] facing the league are either tried or settled. What is settled is that Bettman continues to deny a link exists between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concussions, either scientifically or "causally." When the NFL is willing to admit a link between football and CTE but Gary Bettman refuses to do so in his sport, that's a terrible look for hockey. There might be legal reasons for him to do so, but this denial of accepted science is Neanderthalic.
While the NHL was initially lauded for gaining a series of concessions from the players, history shows the NHL Players' Association as the victor in this brutal, contentious lockout that ended on Jan. 11, 1995. (How contentious? Chris Chelios suggested that a crazed fan or player might seek to get Bettman [url=http://www.officialbaseballcardinalsstore.com/Keith_Hernandez_Jersey]http://www.officialbaseballcardinalsstore.com/Keith_Hernandez_Jersey[/url] "out of the way." Bettman responded by hiring a bodyguard for himself and his family.) Especially when one considers how then-NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow and the players managed to avoid the implementation of a salary cap, whose potential existence was a prime reason Bettman was hired from the NBA. [url=http://www.goodwholesalejerseysstore.com]cheap jerseys 90[/url] [url=http://www.chinajerseysforcheap.com]cheap jerseys paypal[/url] [url=http://www.jerseysfty.com]wholesale nhl jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.topnfljerseysonline.com]cheap jerseys 90[/url]
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