Bettman: The Worst Thing To Ever Happen To Hockey

John VukovicContributor IIJuly 6, 2009

Gary Bettman thought that the NHL needed to flourish in the southern states and non-traditional hockey markets to become a player in the big leagues. He added expansion teams to these markets and moved existing teams there as well.

In order for them to be more marketable right away, it would be better for them to be more competitive and not get blown out on most nights. If only there was a way to restrict talent and manufacture less scoring, the games would be more competitive, closer in scoring, and more exciting to watch, especially for fans in the new markets.

Bettman battled the fans and media for almost his entire tenure, about obstruction, lack of scoring, and rules always insisting that there is nothing wrong and that the state of the game has never been better.

While the fans were complaining about lack of scoring and officiating, goalie equipment gradually and surreptitiously got bigger and bigger.

Players, coaches, and fans didn't know which penalties would be called from game to game or period to period. It would have made more sense if they specified when a penalty would be called—for example, hooking is only to be called for the first 10 minutes of the first two periods—instead of arbitrarily, or worse yet, because the other team had the last penalty.

Over-sized goalie equipment is a more obvious example of cheating than steroids are. I remember watching a game on TV and during one of the intermissions they were showing the webbing Patrick Roy was using between his legs.

Outrageous! The fans and media are screaming, "What happened to the goals? We hate the trap. No more obstruction," and this guy has webbing between his legs. He should have received a lengthy suspension, if not banished from the NHL all together.

I always chuckle when I hear an announcer exclaim "Great glove save," and every time the goalie hardly moved his glove, if he moved it at all.

Only after the puck is in it do they embellish with some theatrics. Want to see some great glove saves that were exciting to watch? Watch some games before Bettman was the Commissioner. I am sure most players would give up composite sticks if goalie equipment was only as big as it was in the 80s, before Bettman came along.

Most of the goals these days are what was known as "garbage goals." There's nothing wrong with some garbage goals, but a great passing play, a beautiful sniper shot, or a sweet deke are more entertaining to watch. Statistics should have an asterisk denoting when and for how many years a player played in the NHL while Bettman was Commissioner.   

Yet again, during the Stanley Cup Finals—what the whole season is played for—it seems the officials were instructed to put the whistles away. Did Bettman deem it a bad thing for one market to be so dominant? Did he want his poster boy, who is a great player but a poor loser (he should grow up and set a better example for all his young fans), to win the Cup?

Fans boo him any chance they get. I know this is an embarrassment for the NHL, but the NHL IS an embarrassment as long as he is the commissioner.