Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell Are Poor Leaders of the NHL

Steve StrausbaughContributor IMarch 8, 2011

I'm your guy!
I'm your guy!Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As NHL fans, most of us have been to the point of complete outrage with the NHL leadership.

It was evident in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, when Detroit ("Hockeytown") let Gary Bettman know exactly what they thought of him with overwhelming and resounding boos as he came onto the ice to present the Stanley Cup.

Bettman led the league into a lockout in 2004-05 that permanently damaged its image and severed ties with ESPN, which then adjusted its hockey coverage to nearly zero.

Rumor has it that another potential lockout may be on the horizon in 2012-13.

The rules were changed post-lockout to accommodate a "faster" game. The result of that faster game has been injuries and concussions galore.

On top of the disappointment with Bettman, we as hockey fans also get to deal with Colin Campbell's inability to do his job.

There are many examples of this, such as Matt Cooke only receiving a four-game suspension for his blindside hit on Fedor Tyutin. Cooke has more of a track record with his cheap shots than anyone in recent memory.

In his first game back from suspension, he tried to stick his knee out and injure Alex Ovechkin. 

Trevor Gillies initially got a nine-game suspension for his violent and ridiculous head-targeting and taunting of Eric Tangradi (who is still injured with a concussion), only to come back in his first game and do the same type of thing to Cal Clutterbuck (who is out with an upper-body injury as a result).

Gillies received only one more game for his repeat offense, as Campbell gave him a 10-game suspension this time around.

If a statement is going to be made, suspend him for 25 games or just ban him for the remainder of the season and part of next season. That would be a wake up call to all the cheap-shotting goons across the league.

When Campbell dismisses Marc Savard's injuries by calling him a "diver," that probably shows his true colors and proves he is the wrong man for his job.

The league screwed up with the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh this year. Having been at the game, it was easy to see the ice conditions were horrid. It's not something that was widely acknowledged across the league, because of the stage the situation occurred on.

From the outset, the conditions were bad and by the third period, it was pouring rain and water was forming ponds everywhere on the ice.

No professional hockey player should have to play in conditions like that.

The game could have been held the next day (Sunday), as the Pittsburgh Steelers made Heinz Field available by getting a bye in the first round of the NFL playoffs.

The issue of video review needs to be addressed as well. There has been discussion about adopting something like the NFL uses with it's challenge policy.

Back in the day, teams were able to challenge the curve of an opposing player's stick. If they lost the challenge, they would receive a penalty of their own.

A similar rule could be implemented to allow the review of these controversial calls that determine outcomes of games. Goals are often reviewed by the league, but what about the penalties in the last two minutes of a tie game, which all too often determine the outcome?

These are just a few of the issues the NHL needs to address very soon. There are many others that will most likely appear in the comment section under this article. 

The question is, are Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell the right people for the job?