Sep 30, 2012, 10:00 AM EST
If you’re hoping that the latest lockout brings an end to Gary Bettman’s run as NHL commissioner, a detailed New York Times piece on his increasing influence won’t inspire confidence.
The piece points back to an interview with Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider, who illustrated how powerful Bettman has become.
“In the old days, basically the owners ran the league and almost ran it into the ground,” Snider said. “Now it’s Bettman’s league. He’s a great commissioner. Basically he’s the force behind everything we do.”
A common defense of Bettman is that he’s often a figurehead merely representing the owners’ collective interest, yet this portrait seems to muddy that perception.
Jeff Z. Klein provides an abbreviated timeline for his rise in power in the eyes of NHL owners.
- The 1994-95 lockout wasn’t considered a success, yet it taught him to adapt. Bettman altered owner voting rules so that he could only be overruled by a three-quarters majority and also gave himself power to fine an organization for divulging information.
- Ken Dryden described fiscal discussions with Bettman as visiting the “principal’s office.”
- The NHL counter-sued the New York Rangers for seeking a site independent of the NHL universe in 2008. The league won soundly enough that Rangers owner James Dolan has been noticeably quiet during proceedings, according to Klein.
- Finally, it appears that the owners are behind him completely – just like they were during the last lockout.
In other words, Bettman’s as empowered as ever among the league’s owners.
Author Jonathon Gatehouse even provides this account, which might be chilling for Bettman’s greatest detractors:
“If he wins this round, I think he’s emperor for life.”
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 3
- Wounded Wing: Howard (MCL sprain) out 2-4 weeks 2
- Wild coach accuses Sharks of embellishment 67
- Lundqvist hooked after three first-period goals as Rangers’ woes continue 28
- Burke wants the Flames to be — yep, you guessed it — more ‘truculent’ 46
- Flames fire GM Jay Feaster 36
- Video: Projected rise in salary cap could have some players ‘licking their lips’ 22
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 37
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 85
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (184)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)