Reports have surfaced that say the NHL has come to an agreement with Commissioner Gary Bettman to extend his contract through the 2022 season.
Let me be the first of many people to welcome the NHL owners to six more years of failure. Bettman’s tenure as commissioner of the National Hockey League can be summed up in one pointed statement – He is the worst commissioner currently serving (and possibly ever) in any of the major professional sports.
Bettman became the commissioner in 2003, and it has been a disaster ever since. The NHL endured lockouts in 1994-95, 2004-05 (the entire season), and 2012-13. The league marches on despite Bettman’s every attempt to sabotage it into obscurity.
And it doesn’t stop at the lockouts of the past! The All-star break, which was this past weekend and was a terrific success in Nashville (bravo Nashville!), has increasingly become a joke. Every year there are slight tweaks that aim to improve interest in the All-star game and Skills Challenge. They’ve tried everything from doing a fantasy draft – a la the NFL Pro Bowl of late – to a fan vote, to a 3 on 3 tournament this year.
It was that fan vote that put the ugliness of the NHL front office, and its degenerate leader, on full display. The fans of the Phoenix Coyotes, in an effort to “stick it to the man”, and to reward one of their hardest working players, decided to vote in John Scott. John Scott, notably one of the more tenacious fighters with 26 fighting majors to his name, and only 11 career points – Yes! Points! When both the Phoenix Coyotes and the NHL front offices asked him to bow out of the All-star game, he denied their requests.
So, in order to save face and not allow the game to become a mockery of the fans, the Coyotes traded Scott to the Montreal Canadiens who immediately moved him to the minor leagues, rendering Scott ineligible for the All-star game. Fast forward through weeks of the NHL changing its mind on whether or not to let him play, and Bettman’s office calls Scott and asks him this question, “If you go to the All-star game, what will your daughters think?” What a f***ing slap in the face, to bring his family into it.
Well thankfully that request only inspired Scott further, as he went into the weekend ready to bask in all the glory being an All-star offers, and he brought his family along for the ride. Remember how the NHL didn’t want him there? His All-star jerseys sold out FOUR days before the event even kicked off. The fans greeted him with the loudest cheers of the night (for players not on the Nashville Predators roster). And to cap the perfect night, Scott walked away with the MVP of the All-star Tournament, an award he arguably deserved since he scored 2 goals in the semifinal game.
My how ugly the NHL has been, and will likely continue to be under the guidance of Bettman. But hopefully, just as Scott endured the saga and came out victorious, so too will the NHL and its fans. As great as this All-star weekend was – again, hats off to Nashville – the best image from the weekend has to be John Scott holding his two daughters and celebrating, a silver stake to the heart of Bettman.