September 13, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a press conference at the Crowne Plaza Times Square. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Why Does Everyone Blame Gary Bettman? Does He Deserve It?: Part III

I was searching the Web the other day and visited The Hockey News’ website. There I found an interesting article by THN writer Ken Campbell. Also, I found an article posing the same question written by Terry Frei of the Denver Post. Frei pretty much has the same opinion on the lockout as Ken Campbell. However, I also found a third article, this time from Bleacher Report, by columnist Steve Silverman. He feels a bit differently about who is to blame for this lockout. Honestly, I don’t have too high of an opinion of Bleacher Report. I’ve read some of their stuff from around their website and sometimes I finish by just shaking my head. Now, onto the debate: Is Gary Bettman to blame for this NHL lockout? Here’s Part I and Part II.

This is the final part of my series on blaming Gary Bettman. I’ve looked at two different articles so far and now it’s time to look at the third and final one. It was written by Steve Silverman of I saved this article for last because I’m pretty sure this is how the majority of NHL fans feel about this lockout.

Silverman’s first point is that Bettman was pretty much made commissioner by the NHL owners and so, his chief role as commissioner is to make the owner’s money. How? By increasing television revenues and getting other outside income. He does all that by limiting how much the league has to pay its players. So, Silverman say’s Bettman’s real job is as an advocate for the NHL owners.

In one of the first two parts I made a comment saying, “If a large group of people did not want some certain thing to happen, it doesn’t happen.” Or something very similar to that. Silverman has the same kind of opinion, except he points the finger towards Bettman again, saying:

“If Bettman were looking out for the sport’s best interests, he would not be presiding over the third lockout since he became commissioner.”

Silverman goes back to his hiring to point out that the main reason he was hired was to keep labor peace……and now he’s working with a THIRD lockout. Looks like he’s done a miserably job, huh?

His final point against Bettman is that while everyone hopes to have the lockout ended before the Winter Classic, Bettman has said that he is willing to cancel that entire event in order to prevent the players from using that as a bargaining chip. Now, let’s analyze Bettman’s move here. If he were to allow the players to use that as a bargaining chip, then the players might get an upper hand in the negotiations and could ultimately come out of the lockout with more positives than expected. That would most definitely lead to the owner’s being upset and who knows, more unrest may come. However, we would have hockey and the NHL wouldn’t miss out on the huge profit of the Winter Classic. By blocking the players from using the WC as a bargaining chip, I guess you could say it’s an even playing-field. However, who knows how long that even “even playing field” would lead to a new CBA.

Silverman doesn’t finish his article by making sure that he knows that Gary Bettman has done some great things for the league. Including it’s 10-year, $2 billion television deal with NBC Sports, which is by far the largest deal the NHL has ever been a part of. Also, how the league has made the jump across the pond to Europe to expand interest into the league.

I can understand this viewpoint. Pretty much everyone does. However, it is important to view it from every kind of angle there is and that is what I hope to have done with this series. Now, to answer the exact question I’ve been asking. Is Gary Bettman to blame for the NHL lockout? Yes………..and no. I stand by my opinion that the blame does not just go to one person, it goes out to everyone involved in these labor negotiations. “If a large group of people did not want some certain thing to happen, it doesn’t happen.”

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