Bettman learns the true spirit of hockey: Ghosts of lockouts past

Feb 20, 2011; Calgary, AB, Canada; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before the Montreal Canadiens game against the Calgary Flames at McMahon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

“The current relationship between League-wide player costs and League-wide revenues is inconsistent with reasonable and sound business practices. Player costs of $1.494 billion or 75% of revenues substantially exceed such relationships in both the NBA and the NFL as those relationships are set forth in their collective bargaining agreements.”

This little snippet from the Levitt report shut down one hockey season.  The echoes of the Levitt report could very likely curtail another one. The ghost of lockouts past have been seen in the negotiation rooms whispering  into NHL commissioner Gary Bettman‘s ear. Best guess, the ghost of the past is teaching Bettman how to feed and raise the ghost of lockout present. At the pace we’re going, Bettman is going to be the Dr. Spock of the lockouts. ‘How to best nurture your lockout : A commissioner’s guide on how to stick it to everyone.’

Will the players take this one lying down? No, of course not. The players proposal had a delightful streak of egalitarianism to it. Have the big money teams pair up with the players to bring the entire league closer to sustainability. It makes so much bloody sense. The players could be surrendering three-quarters of a billion  dollars to guarantee that the odds of another lockout (call in the ghost of lockouts future) would not likely happen again.

It makes me wonder why the owners haven’t fired off the next counter-proposal.  Perhaps Bettman is pushing hard on the owners to get the lockout.  If this is the case, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.  Bettman might be wanting to take a little heat off himself. Bettman’s own salary continues to climb despite the league’s losses. The Commissioner’s salary jumped $2 million this past season, and has more than doubled his approximate $3 million salary from the 2004-2005 season.

So, if we can get Dickensian for a few moments, would it be so bad to have the ghosts of lockouts past, present, and future visit Bettman‘s house in the middle of the night? Teach Bettman the true meaning of the spirit of hockey and focus on what’s good for the league and not what is good for thirty (in truth, more like twelve) governors? It might actually bring this whole mess to a happy ending.


Editors Note: Today is my friend Kevin’s birthday. For those who have read my blogs, this is the guy that taught me hockey.  So, Happy Birthday co-worker/drinking buddy/friend/teacher/brother.  You’ve made an old man a little happier, and given me one of the best gifts I’ve even gotten.


Topics: Gary Bettman, Lockout

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