Talks to resume Wednesday as Bettman marks 20th anniversary on job


The Canadian Press reports that the NHL and the players’ association will get back to negotiating table on Wednesday at an undisclosed location withΒ U.S. federal mediators Scot L. Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney set to rejoin the process.

On Monday, the league cancelled all games through Dec. 30. Tuesday is Day 87 of the lockout.

Read more by clicking here.

Tuesday also marks the 20th anniversary of Gary Bettman being named commissioner of the NHL. Tweeted Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press:Β “As Gary Bettman celebrates his 20th anniversary as NHL commissioner, it’s amazing to think only six men have run the league since 1917.”

The six are: Frank Calder (1917-43), Red Dutton (1943-46), Clarence Campbell (1946-77), John Ziegler (1977-92), Gil Stein (1992-93) and Bettman (1993-present).

Below is a column Michael Farber (now with Sports Illustrated) wrote for The Gazette after Bettman was hired:

NHL opens up to an outsider




After a lifetime of dueling-banjos inbreeding, of staying in the clan, of assuming the business of hockey belonged to hockey men and not businessmen, the National Hockey League opened a door to the outside world.

Gary Bettman walked through it yesterday.

He is 40 years old. He is an expert in labour and licensing. But the most significant thing on his resume is this: he is an outsider.

Bettman is the No. 3 man in the National Basketball Association, the godfather of the salary cap, and if he has no clue where he was when Paul Henderson scored The Goal, he probably knows where he was when Willis Reed hobbled onto the court to help beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Who cares? The first NHL commissioner will like hockey more than John Ziegler in any case, but being able to recount the particulars of Boston’s Too Many-Men penalty doesn’t matter much any more. Business does. The facts of business life are CEOs jump from corporation to corporation and if you have a track record – and Bettman does – you can produce and package almost any sort of widget.

The NHL search committee was clever enough to know it had to go outside the family. In ditching the Deliverance pose, the league might have found its deliverance.

Bettman came across well in his first press conference in Palm Beach. He spoke with a forthrightness and an accent direct from the blues at Madison Square Garden. He promised a full review of league matters and although he skated when asked his opinion about fighting and a Dream Team, the generalities and evasions were without Zieglerian pomposity. Bettman obviously knows the route. When asked if he thought television was his first priority, he said no, collective bargaining.

The collective bargaining agreement, forged after a 10-day strike last spring that sealed Ziegler’s demise, expires after this season, and Bettman’s first call after his appointment was to Players Association director Bob Goodenow. Bettman has to conclude a partnership with, by nature, the least militant group of athletes you can find, and a salary cap and a revised revenue sharing program should be an easy sell. As Quebec governor Marcel Aubut said from Florida, “We have everything under control but our labour costs.” There is no one better equipped for the job than Bettman.

But Bettman should wade into other areas Feb. 1 when he takes over as the game’s – not merely the owner’s – commissioner. In no particular order, we suggest:

* The pension case. In October the NHL and NHL Pension Society lost a $25-million-plus Ontario court judgment in a case brought by Gordie Howe et. al. Now it should drop the appeal. There is no reason the league should be at war with pillars of the game such as Howe and Bobby Hull, especially now that there is $100 million in fresh expansion money.

* Drug policy. The NHL’s level of sophistication has been, “Oooooooh, drugs are bad.” This likely is true enough, but it doesn’t address the problem. Top cop Ziegler would pass out discretionary suspensions for anyone dumb enough to get caught or let the word leak out, which discouraged players from seeking rehabilitation. The NBA has a humane program, one that encourages dependent players to get help but also has lifetime bans for chronic offenders. There are ways back into the NBA, but at least there are no Steve Howes. The NHL, reeling from John Kordic’s death, can borrow this one whole.

* The Dream Team. Don’t. The NHL has its Olympics, which goes by the name of Canada Cup. The NHL season would have to start in September and end near July in 1993-94, but the real drawback is the Dream Team has been done, and no one ever will do it better than Bettman’s NBA in Barcelona. Let it go. You try to recreate Woodstock, you get Altamont.

* Singular collective team names. Ban them. A sure sign of a league’s decline is when it permits verbal assaults like Tampa Bay Lightning or, back on Bettman’s old turf, Miami Heat. You get nothing but “s” in major league baseball and the National Football League. Make the Miami expansion team plural while the Disney team in Anaheim should, of course, be called The Mighty Ducks a la Orange County.

* Expansion. The NHL has improved the gene pool by admitting Disney and H. Wayne Huizenga of Blockbuster Video. Now give the new owners a legitimate shot at the talent pool for their $50 million. Instead of being able to protect 14 players, the 24 clubs should be allowed to only stow 12. (Some tough calls there in Ottawa and San Jose.)

* Playoffs. In his mad five-month campaign to be commissioner before he turtled yesterday morning in what is being portrayed as a magnanimous gesture, NHL president Gil Stein flitted about many issues but the most important one – the playoffs. This is where the league makes its money and its name, and the system is in need of repair. Enough with Montreal-Boston every year. Change the format so No. 1 plays No. 8 in each conference. But Bettman’s real test is restoring lustre to the Stanley Cup. Unlike baseball or football, where general interest peaks at the World Series or Super Bowl, many NHL cities lose interest in the playoffs after the home team is out. The Stanley Cup has to become an event again.

* Black uniforms. Enough. Halt the black plague. Psychologists and market researchers love them, but the fashion fad has gone too far. Be a primary-color commissioner.

* Fighting. As they say in New York, fuggedaboudit. This is the freak show, the uncivility that has a basic emotional appeal and thus a place on the fringes of the NHL. The NHL already has it under control, and the commissioner should skip the debate and proceed directly to the treasure hunt for the missing rules concerning stick fouls and interference everyone swears they saw two months ago.

Any more questions, ask. Unlike Ziegler, we’re always available.


  1. frontenac1 says:

    Hey this kid Dumont can handle himself. Took down Sullivan pretty good.

  2. frontenac1 says:

    This Hour has 22min today. “The Lockout Sweater” Hilarious.Check it out Amigos!

  3. B says:

    Sportsnet adds 6 AHL games this month (4 of them are the Bulldogs):

    –Go Habs Go!–

  4. Hobie Hansen says:

    Here’s hoping Louis Leblanc gets going shortly. He’s been back a few games and it would be nice to see him start putting up his numbers.

    He’s not 18, 19 or 20-years-old anymore, he’ll be 22 in a month. Every player develops differently and Leblanc still has plenty of time but at 22-years-old you’d hope that your first round draft pick from a few years back would be noticeable on almost every shift in the AHL.

    I’m not dumping on him but like I said, I’d like to see him get going!

    Looking forward to watching the Dogs on TVA tonight!

  5. Habfan10912 says:

    Danny Kristo’s North Dakota team leads the NCAA in attendance.


  6. Habs_4_ever says:

    In other news, RUSH has finally been admitted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It’s about time.

    Now lets get the season started already.

    “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

    • Blondie says:

      Deep Purple snubbed again…yet Donna Summer is inducted posthumously? Glad for Rush but some of the decisions leave you shaking your head.

      • Timo says:

        Seriously? Deep Purple is not even in the same league as Rush. (can’t stand Rush)

        • Habs_4_ever says:

          Can’t stand??? That’s pretty harsh.

          “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

        • Blondie says:

          I’d say they’re at least in the same league. They’d take ’em in a seven game series; they’ve got two more guys in the band. πŸ™‚

          But seriously, they had some great albums in the seventies and Perfect Strangers was a pretty good album for a bunch of old hard rockers more recently. I think they should have been in years ago.

          Besides it’s not as though they had to beat out Rush to get in, and they are certainly more deserving than Donna Freakin’ Summer.

          Disclaimer: I’m a Deep Purple fan, I don’t care much for Rush, and I absolutely hate disco.

        • habsfan0 says:

          Deep Purple would only have one word for you: Hush.

      • Habs_4_ever says:

        It makes you wonder about who runs the R&RHOF and who decides who gets in. I think they should let fans nominate the inductees. As for Deep Purple, I was not aware that they were not in yet. Another travesty! Let’s hope someone wakes up soon.

        “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

        • Mr. Biter says:

          Sat with 2 members of Journey on an ill fated flight a couple of weeks ago. Nice guys, posed for a picture. Then the flight was cancelled and the vacation from hell started. Boycott United Airlines. Make Air Canada look like KAL. Worst customer service (English is their customer service reps 3rd language. French would rank worse. Positive they have blank screens with white out in their native language that translates to ” Sorry cannot help you”.

          Mr. Biter
          No Guts No Glory

  7. Bripro says:

    Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel , “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.”

    Nearly 75 years ago, (when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land.”

    20 years ago, the NHL hired Bettman who chose to break ground in the southern belt with his mini shovel, went to New York to sit on his ass, hired a bunch of trolls (a.k.a. North American Camels) and said to them “Welcome to the New Promised Land!”

    Today the government has stolen our shovel, taxed our asses, raised the price of Camels, and mortgaged the Promised Land to China!
    The NHL has stolen our game, raised salaries and ticket prices, and sold Hockey land to the unconscionable.

    I was so depressed last night thinking about my retirement, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, and most importantly, NO HOCKEY!
    I called a Suicide Hotline. I had to press 1 for English.

    I was then connected to a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal. They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck……

  8. otter649 says:

    Twenty years ago today – Gary Bettman ain’t no Sgt Pepper…..

  9. shiram says:

    I’m surprised the HIO size queens have not complained about the loss of big guy Alain Berger.

  10. shiram says:

    CBA meetings between NHL and NHLPA that are to take place at undisclosed location WILL involve a mediator. #TSN

  11. commandant says:

    Oh look, the giant shaved ape is up to his old tricks, and Miro Satan is not happy about it, saying Chara ruined their friendship.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  12. frontenac1 says:

    Happy Anniversary! Heck of a Job Brownie….er, Gary!

  13. Habs_4_ever says:

    If this whole lockout thing is miraculously resolved, what happens to P.K.. Do you think that they(P.K. and Habs) could come up with a contract overnight?

    “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

  14. Chris says:

    I admit it. I laughed.

    Furious Bleacher Report Editor Will Make Staff Rank Things All ______ Night If He Has To (note – some objectionable language, so you’ve been warned.)

    Sometimes, satire sites deliver some gold.

    My other favourite, courtesy of

    BloggingNever before have so many with so little to say said so much to so few.

  15. Kooch7800 says:

    Look at some of the players who jumped in the previous lockout overseas….was shocked to see pro union brother Eric Cole on there:

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  16. B says:

    Where team Canada’s selection camp players play:
    Overall——18 OHL, 10 WHL, 7 QMJHL, 1 AHL
    OHLers are predominate in every position.
    20 Forwards—9 OHL, 4 WHL, 6 QMJHL, 1 AHL
    12 Dmen——-6 OHL, 5 WHL, 1 QMJHL
    4 Goalies——-3 OHL, 1 WHL

    –Go Habs Go!–

  17. ZepFan2 says:

    I’ll just quote the great philosphers Perry and Tyler.

    “It’s the same old story. Same old song and dance, my friend.”

    Ka is a wheel.

    Fans Theme: “You’re Breaking my heart, You’re tearin’ it apart” – Harry Nilsson

    You’re breaking my heart

  18. HabinBurlington says:

    Good question Prop, but It sounds like only players are saying that. I think players would love arbitration, methinks owners are against that.

  19. Propwash says:

    If they are as close to a deal as they claim, why not go to arbitration?

    “Access Forbidden” gettin’ ya down?
    Hold down Shift while clicking refresh.

  20. Outeast says:

    I read some but post rarely. Here is my take on the lock out. We (fans, media, etc…) look at the facts or at least the “facts” as they are given to us. Much of which can’t possibly be true because it is contradictory. For example: Prior to the last CBA the players were getting 73% of revenue. This means the NHL and teams survived on 27% and now they can’t survive on 43% of a much larger pie? And won’t be able to survive on 50% unless they also get x,y and z in addition to the extra cash. Expenses beyond salaries have increased that much since 2004?!!! Tell someone who will believe you.
    This is the point at which it gets dicey. The players feel (rightly or wrongly) that they got shafted in the last CBA and do not trust Bettman at all. When Bettman was asked about trust he was taken aback in that 30 minute media scrum after talks fell apart. He was asked about trust again later and basically said “I don’t see what trust has to do with it”. Therein lies the problem. Bettman is a liar. During the last CBA he said we needed this so ticket prices would be more affordable. They have doubled since then on average… I could go on and on but he is a documented liar. He may think the players are stupid but most people can recognize a lie. During the current lockout Bettman has stated several times that the NHL is losing about 20 million/day and the players 8-10 million? Say what Gary? Interesting percentages you have there… Gary also says the players need to give because so far only the league has moved… Really Gary? Going from 57% to 50% for the players is a move by the owners? Term limits on contracts is a move toward the players? Tell the truth Gary, the only place the owners have moved from is their ridiculous original offer of 43% for the players etc… Essentially a 14% pay cut in a business that is growing? People can hate the players for being greedy but this isn’t even about money anymore. The players are tired of Bettman bullying them and they hired Fehr to stand up to him and that is what he is doing. Now we have two opposing forces, both of which taking lying and manipulating to places most can’t imagine. I’ll be surprised if there is hockey next season. All I can say is “Gary, you live by the sword, you die by the sword…”

    What has been will be again, there is nothing new under the sun.

  21. commandant says:


    Wednesday: We are getting closer, there is a chance to save the season.
    Thursday; We are still moving closer, but tensions are rising, this thing can blow up at any second.
    Friday: Despite being closer then ever, we hate each other and talks have broken off. Fehr says Bettman is a poopyhead and Bettman says Fehr is stupidbrain. Talks break off til next week.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  22. Cal says:

    Another meeting. Another press conference filled with acrimony. Can’t wait. Yawn.

  23. HabFanSince72 says:

    When does the Tank Train pull into the old station?

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  24. Fake says:

    OMG! There is hope that there will be an NHL Season! So they can make money from the dummies who will always come back. -_-

  25. B says:

    This shouldn’t take long. Donald Fehr says they are very close and have agreements on almost every issue.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  26. The Dude says:

    There’s a hole in the bucket dear liza……….

  27. Brain of J says:

    Who Cares

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.