Breaking Sports

Thursday, March 03, 2005

nhl- Bettman Backed into a Corner

from slam, After Tuesday's meeting of the National Hockey League board of governors, commissioner Gary Bettman was asked if there had been any significant expressions of unhappiness from the owners.
"I don't believe so," he said.
That was it. No elucidation. No explanation. Just a blank stare that indicated it was time for the next question.
It sounded like a reasonable answer at the time. But a day later, after some of those governors who sprinted out of the meeting with sealed lips had returned to their respective cities, it would appear that Bettman's answer was somewhat off the mark.
Or, perhaps Bettman has a different view than the rest of us as to what constitutes an expression of unhappiness.
Publicly, all the governors present a united front. After Tuesday's meeting, most of the unhappy owners waved at the media and dashed for their limos. When Bettman's pawns came out, they actively sought out the microphones to assure all within range that the commissioner was their own version of Lewis in the FedEx ads.
But in the executive meeting, Bettman was told that no matter what means he has to use, the owners, whether they be weak or strong, expect a full 2005-06 season.
That gives him two choices. He must either get a negotiated settlement or break the union.