Gary Bettman has formally apologized for the lockout. He apologized to fans and sponsors that have suffered through months without hockey. Some believed his apology was sincere, others stand by the belief that words only go so far and Bettman's actions continuously go against his speeches.
Tired of seeing Gary Bettman? We have some bad news for you. He reportedly told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun that "he's not planning on going anywhere."
Bettman's apologies have all blended together. Most fans could have accurately predicted exactly what the league's commissioner was going to say well before he said it. In fact, we've all had a lesson in Bettman apologies as recently as 2005. No one's buying it. Not even the podium. It's disappointing that Bettman failed to apologize to the countless individuals and businesses that were several harmed by the lockout. This is the group that deserves an apology the most.
We've also come to expect the fact Bettman won't publicly tackle tough questions. Questions such as why it took so long to negotiate and how will the NHL deal with the KHL in the event of a dispute over players. Instead, we were offered fluff. The fans will be forced to come up with their own answers and best guesses.
Whether or not you believe Bettman and his apology is up to you. Personally, I'm not a believer. One can only go through so many lockouts under a single individual before they start doubting. I'm to the point where I can't help but laugh each time Bettman opens his mouth as I know I'm about to have my leg pulled.
As for Bettman's future, his comments aren't surprising. He'd never admit he had intentions of stepping down even if he actually did. Bettman has always been the type to exhibit strength even if he didn't have any. If it's up to Bettman, he won't be leaving. Not now, not in 10 years.
However, as we saw with Brian Burke, surprises can happen. Bettman may believe his future is safe but some owners might think differently. Until then, we'll let you sit and absorb Bettman's comments and debate whether or not he's sincere.
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We shall see. If, as I expect, the new CBA language didn't actually wind up fixing things for the small-to-medium market set, and we wind up doing this again at the eight year opt-out, which I also expect (provided, of course, that it doesn't all fall apart in the next three or four days), then we might finally see Bettman run out of the commissionership.
While plenty of good has happened on his watch, the simple fact of the matter is, for the league to exist as it does currently, eventually either the rising of the cap and floor are going to have to be delinked from league revenues, to prevent the top five-ish markets from raising the floor above a level which the small markets can at least break even going forward, or there will have to be a serious push amongst ownership for significantly improved revenue sharing. (Stop me if I'm wrong here, but what I believe they've done with the structure for the CBA currently being voted upon is to roughly double the amount of revenue sharing, and roughly double the number of teams receiving it. Which, of course, leaves those teams at the bottom who particularly needed an improvement in revenue sharing so long as the cap/floor structure remained linked to league revenues no better off, or possibly worse off, than they were under the old CBA.)
@miendiem I can't envision a scenario where Bettman would stick through a 4th lockout. Then again, I never thought we'd see a third.
As for Bettman's successes, it's tough for me to give him credit. I think most people in that position could have the same success plus much, much more by avoiding lockouts.
@David Rogers I think maybe my tongue-in-cheek-ness didn't translated properly through the internet. It was meant more as an "in spite of" comment, rather than a "because of" comment.