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Versteeg thinks “cancers” Bettman, Daly should be gone once a new CBA is reached

Nov 19, 2012, 2:18 PM EDT

Kris Versteeg Getty Images

Once a new CBA is reached between the NHL and NHLPA, Panthers forward Kris Versteeg believes commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly should become former commissioner and deputy commissioner.

“You’ve got to cut out the cancers,” Versteeg told TSN 1050 (Toronto) on Monday, “and I think when you look at Bill Daly and Bettman, they’ve been polluting this game for far too long.”

Versteeg, 26, says Daly and Bettman need to go for the sake of the fans, who have “been left with too many bad tastes in their mouths for too many years, and I think when this is all said and done, it’ll be a good time to finally make that happen.”

Versteeg’s comments come just days after Red Wings defenseman Ian White called Bettman “an idiot” that’s “done nothing but damage the game.”

On Sunday, Bettman addressed White’s remarks in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press.

“You’ll find in the course of labor disputes, there’s always a lot of rhetoric,” said Bettman. “Most of it is just noise. Most of it is misinformed. There’s propaganda. It’s just a fact of life that you live with.

“By the way, I love the players. Nobody should think for a moment that I don’t. If I didn’t I wouldn’t do this job. I couldn’t do this job. I believe in the players. I don’t believe in what’s going on right now. It’s part of the business of the game. The least attractive part of the game.”

Unfortunately for the commissioner, his love of the players appears to be unrequited.

Related: Bettman defends NHL’s first offer

  1. bhawksrule - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    That a boy Kris. Can’t just keep it shut until it’s reached ?

    • lindsterl - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      Its about time players speak after all who agreed to the contracts

  2. stangz11 - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Players: This is why a deal won’t get done, and you will lose in the end. Keep your mouths shut for once, start fining each other for talking like the owners do. It doesn’t help anything when you make negative comments, especially one as strong as this!!

    • sabatimus - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      The comments should have absolutely nothing to do with whether a deal gets done or not. And as if it’s only the players making comments.

      • duster1982 - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        Who else is making comments besides the players? Maybe a grand total of TWO from the NHL side, both which received fines for what was said?

        You cant seriously think that the large amount of comments made by players can help anything at all. Their leadership would be smart in silencing them.

      • sabatimus - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        The comments by the players about how the league is totally screwing things up doesn’t help the labor talks (if we can even call them that now…), but it does show the fans that a good number of the players are genuinely pissed off, just like the fans are. And I don’t care how much money Versteeg or any other player makes: if you take away someone’s livelihood, money isn’t going to do a damn thing to make one happy.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:01 PM

      Actually this is NOT why the deal won’t get done…it isn’t even in the top 10 reasons. And please remember, when you open your OWN mouth to tell others to keep THEIRS shut, your credibility is already gone, my friend.

      The players are justified and correct to start this process now – Bettman will need to go when the deal is done. I can’t stand another Stanley Cup presentation that I can’t hear because the fans are booing can’t stand Bettman.

      The sport is the best in the world, and deserves better than Bettman. Period.

      • stangz11 - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM


        What I’m saying is calling somebody a “cancer” is childish and does nothing good for these negotiations as a whole. In the end, it’s going to take these two sides getting into a room and politely hashing this out. It’s hard enough, but then you have guys like Versteeg and White coming out and calling the other side “idiots” and “cancers”. It’s just plain dumb. I get that they’re frustrated, but this is no way to go about it. I don’t want to hear bickering from anyone, I want to hear results! I honestly believe that comments from these players will do nothing to aid these negotiations and, if anything, they will prevent common ground from being reached on some of these issues. That’s the main problem right now.

        As paying fans who keep their business running, we have every right to open our mouths. I have my opinion, and you have yours. We’re all sick and tired of sitting here and hearing the rhetoric and the posturing. It’s time for some actual results. Remember a few weeks ago when both sides decided to keep their mouths closed? That’s when we saw actual conversations and actual progress made. Lets keep it that way between these two sides.

    • mrscharmedones - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

      I guess frustration has set in and they are at a loss. I do believe that Bettman and the NHL should pay for the lockout since he was the one who declared it. Looks good on him he needs to be held accountable. The NHLPA said they would be willing to play while negotiating but Bettman wanted no part of that so let him pay the advertisers and anyone else who pissed overt the lockout.

  3. blomfeld - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Hopefully this fool knows how to make wooden shoes for a living, because he sure as hell won’t be playing hockey much longer now, that’s for sure !

    • valoisvipers - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Blomfeld if Versteeg were to rely on crafting wooden shoes for a living that would mean he would have to take his foot out of his mouth first. I don’t think he is smart enough to do that though.

    • mmcneels81 - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      That’s foolish to think. Criticizing Bettman will have no impact on Versteeg’s – or any player’s – career. Now might not be the best time for vitriol, but he’s absolutely correct and everyone knows it. He has every right, and maybe even a responsibility, to speak the truth. Bettman is the worst commissioner in the history of professional sports and absolutely deserves to be fired. The game deserves better.

      • blomfeld - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:16 PM

        Mmcneels – There was a player by the name of Todd Marchant who had some choice words for the Blue Jacket’s ownership back in the 2004 lockout. As soon as that lockout ended, he was removed from the team “post haste”. Yes, no doubt that Bettman is human excrement. But he’s still the commissioner and until he’s gone, then it’s very unwise for people like Versteeg to speak out in such a fashion.

      • mmcneels81 - Nov 19, 2012 at 10:14 PM

        Uh-huh. The difference, of course, being Marchant trashed his own team’s ownership. Trashing the commissioner is completely different. Bettman doesn’t write Versteeg’s checks.

      • tatdue - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:47 AM

        Sorry blom but Marchant was put on waivers because they (Columbus) needed cap space for Fedorov and he refused to waive his no-trade clause. You also forgot to mention the little other fact that he was immediately picked up by Anaheim and won the Stanley Cup. He then went on to finish (7 years later) a 17 year career….

      • blomfeld - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        McNeels – You say that … “Bettman doesn’t write Versteeg’s checks” ? Well I would counter by saying that among other things, Bettman writes “everyone’s” checks by virtue of his position.

        Tatdue – Friend, I knew that about Marchant. The point I was trying to make is that “actions” will always provoke “reactions” when dealing with powerful people like these NHL owners. Yes, in Marchant’s case it turned out well for him in the end. Nonetheless, his days as a Blue Jacket were over the “second” he opened his mouth the way he did.

  4. holtbeast - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    The owners have already killed this season even if they do start playing games. Bettman and Daly are the reason for it, so good on Versteeg to get the idea of their ouster in place now. They HAVE to go; cancer is the right word.

    • sunderlanding - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      The players killed the season as well. They could’ve agreed to the owners contract and, even though they would’ve made “concessions”, they would still be making millions. It takes two sides to have a lockout quit putting it all on the owners. Both sides are a cancer to the game.

      • holtbeast - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        I hear you, but the owners had their chance to get their comfy situation just how they wanted it when they blew up the 04-05 season. The owners came out the clear winners in that ridiculous battle and now they realized they didn’t get it QUITE the way they wanted; too few millions to pad their billions.

        Could the players end the lockout today? Yep. But why would they give in to the owners and the Bettman/Daly debacle again, just to have a half-season with the end result being a tainted Stanley Cup And knowing they have to deal with these contract breakers again in six years?

      • sabatimus - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        Are you talking about the original contract? That one was a complete utter joke designed to insult the players.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 19, 2012 at 7:16 PM

        The owners and players fought over more than money last time around. That’s why we have a whole new set of rules, shoot outs, salary cap. This lockout should be a lot easier to figure out than the last one. It isn’t fair to pin all of this on the owners. Fehr has just as much to do with the lockout not being settled yet.

  5. comeonnowguys - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    All the while overlooking that his own side hired a world-famous posterior-tumor of their own.

    Your jerk isn’t any better or worse than their jerk. They’re both still jerks.

  6. duster1982 - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    After the NFL lockout, I lost a LOT of respect for the players who kept running their mouths/trash talking owners/made themselves look foolish.

    When the NHL lockout started, I said to myself “At least I wont have to worry about that with the NHL. These players are down to earth, level headed guys.”

    They QUICKLY proved me wrong. SO much respect has been lost it’s completely damaged the game for me.

  7. bubblehead22 - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Obviously this doesn’t help the players position especially if other players get on the band wagon of negative comments regarding Fehr. I got to say this player is 100% correct, the process has been slowed and confused by the size of their two egos.

  8. duster1982 - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Since the last lockout, Kris Versteeg has signed three contracts for a grand total of $28.325 million. He’s also 26.

    Man, these players got SCREWED! *sigh*

    • puckish27 - Nov 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      And just who offered this Stanley Cup champion the money in a “guaranteed” contract? What was he supposed to do? Say “No, that’s too much money, please pay me less?” Bettman is the caretaker of the game, and two “Season Not Played” engraved on the Cup is his legacy.

      • duster1982 - Nov 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        No, he can be thankful that he is set for life, keep his mouth shut, and let the people who are hired to do work, do it.

        Instead, he comes off as just another whiny, spoiled brat.

      • hockeyflow33 - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        Right, because NHL players are just lucky, there’s no hard work and skill involved.

        You come off as not only a moron with no understanding of what it takes to play at that level, but a child because they have more money than you.

    • mpg44 - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      And you really don’t think the job of agents is to get the most money for their player . You really think these are just “offers” by the owners , and not in any way helped or encouraged by the players or the agent he chose to represent him. You don’t think certain agents are better then others cause they have a better track record to getting more money for their clients? You are a fool if you think that!!

      • mpg44 - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        You morons can thumbs down all you want …. You know I’m right . The sole purpose of an agent is to get the best deal possible based on the players wants/ needs, which certainly have money near the top of the list. Players who turn down money for the betterment of the team are extremely rare and do not represent theajorlty of the pa.

  9. acieu - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Another idiot whose mouth engages before his peanut sized brain

    • valoisvipers - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      acieu Do you have a mirror in your glass house? duster1982 stated the facts and he is right on the money. Can’t say the same for you and your 2 cents worth though.

  10. katra2logic - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    ‘Greed’ is the cancer. Bettman and Daly are just symptons of this disease which is particularly prevalent among pro sport team owners and the petroleum industry.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 19, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      And I disagree with Bettman calling the dispute “The least attractive part of the game.” I’d give that honor to mindless fights and concussions that are bringing down too many players.

      • blomfeld - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:23 PM

        Yesterday in Montreal witnessed a sickening and ugly UFC “bloodbath” which thousands of people apparently enjoyed to no end … go figure eh ?

  11. capesouth - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Favorite Versteeg moment:

    As much as I may agree with him, he should keep it shut while he is an NHL player.

  12. bjbeliever - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Coming from the guy who’s worn out his welcome in 3 different cities in 3 years it’s just tough to take him seriously. He sounds like a spoiled little brat, i’m sure if he was the commissioner he’d just explain to the owners why you need to pay the players what ever they ask for.

  13. dbarnes79 - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    They are right. Bettman and Daly have to go. Neither of them know the game, it’s just a paycheck for them. Why not hire a educated hockey mind like Ken Dryden. The man is a hall of gamer and a highly intelligent man with a law degree and some time in politics.

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      That’s a name I haven’t heard of for the position but is actually a really interesting choice that makes a lot of sense.

  14. stakex - Nov 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Fun Fact: Whos fault was the 04-05 lockout? The players. Back then the owners made it VERY clear that they would not play one more game without a cap because the league was simply losing far too much money. How did the players respond? Calling the owners bluff and dragging the fight out for an entire year before finally accepting the reality of the situation. The owners were in the right back then. Things needed to change, and the players needed to accept that… but it took them a year to do it, and the season was lost.

    This time around its a similar situation. The league is still losing money and the players are the biggest expense. Thus they need to take a small paycut, that will still allow them to make a sickening amount of money for doing little more then playing a game. Yet they are willing to risk the season to try and save what amounts to pennies for most of these guys.

    Thats not to say there is no blame on Bettmen in all this, but to act like he is the sole reason these lockouts keep happening is simply idiotic. The players greed and clear lack of business understanding is a huge contributing factor as well.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Nov 19, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Well said. +1

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      No, you don’t understand that this is a job for them.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 19, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      Here’s what I don’t understand from the players. The NFL and NBA all negotiated their CBAs last year. Both leagues revenues are far greater than the NHL’s in every aspect of revenue, the players should be fortunate the owners are willing to split 50/50. Until Fehr gets off his high horse and what’s in it for players we won’t get anywhere. What’s in it for the players is a nice pay check that they most likely wouldn’t see close to half of that if they had normal 8-5 jobs working 40 hours a week and not working less than they do for some players April until September. i understand they need to work out, but they don’t like a normal person would. Definitely wouldn’t be living in their luxurious homes and driving Cadillacs either.

    • mmcneels81 - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:29 PM

      Another inescapable fact: It is TOTALLY the NHL’s fault – under Bettman’s leadership – that it did not adequately address all its problems during the 04-05 lockout. Bettman had his chance seven years ago to negotiate a CBA that could have secured a healthy financial future for the sport of hockey. He failed to do so. The league was right in principle, but wrong in execution. It is fair to place all the responsibility on Bettman for that.

      The league is still right in principle in 2012. The NHL needs to be made financially viable. In the end, the players will have to accept some kind of salary roll back as well as the revised contractual guidelines. I agree it’s up to them how long this lockout goes on. But it’s not hard to understand the hateful attitude towards Bettman. It’s like, ‘dude needs a f-ing mulligan to get this right?! C’mon , man!’ It is inexcusable that we have to go through this again.

  15. mpg44 - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    All four ( Bettman, daly, and the fehrs ), should be replaced by former players now owners or gm’s . They are the ones who understand both sides and care about the game itself!!

  16. shotzongoal - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Gary Bettman owns nothing in the NHL. He was hired by the owners to manage NHL league affairs. He works under the owners direction. He can only be fired by his employer, the owners. He presents his view of issues for sure, but must have approval to move forward on most issues. Indeed there have been 4 lockouts but none were caused by his independent actions. He works under the consensuses of the owners. And like it or not, he is far from an idiot. For a player in the NHL to call him such just shows how little knowledge the player has of the NHL and league issues.

  17. jimw81 - Nov 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Bettman and Daly have to go after the lockout is done, it’s only pr move that can be done save the causal fan to come back to nhl.

    • chicagobtech - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      The casual fans have no idea who Bettman, Daly, or the Fehrs are. They’re going to come back to the game once they see the games are back on and if they have a passing interest in going to the game.

  18. charlutes - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Shut up weasel, make a weasel face and scurry off.

  19. id4joey - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Holy biting the hand that feeds you, Batman! If there is one lesson we all need to learn, it is just that. Never bite the hand that feeds you. Dang! That is career suicide from a guy who is making 3mill and scored a mere 23 goals and 31 assists last year. And people on here call me a moron. Hahahahaha!

  20. cspsrbums - Nov 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Lets take money from you , and make you earn less for doing the same job. It doesn’t matter whether you make millions or 50,000 dollars you are not going to stand for it. You will do what you can to resist it or it will happen at every contract negotiation kinda like has for the players So with that said stop using the same old excuse that they already make millions so give up on some more,how lame that excuse is.because I know all of you pro owners would be glad to give some if your checks back. The players will lose but it will cost the owners some money and headaches so maybe they won’t have another lockout because of the hit they are raking during a lockout.

    • Doesnotmatter - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      Well put and I couldn’t agree more. Its astonishing how the public opinion turned against the “greedy over-payed spoiled brats”, Nobody seems to care about all the hard work and all the sacrifices the players had to make to get to where they are now.

      • id4joey - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:58 AM

        Geve me a f en break. “All the hard work and and all the sacrifices the players had to make to where they are now” BS everything they have they owe to the trail blazers before them. Brush up on your NHL history. You want to talk about sacrifice and hard work, then talk to the single mom raising 2 kids on a Walmart salary because a dead beat father walked out on them. Lets but all this in perspective.

      • Doesnotmatter - Nov 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM


        I am trying to keep things in perspective. You compared a pro athlete to a single mother with children. You’re talking about keeping things in perspective and then you make a comparison that is way out of perspective. That’s a tough situation to be in but it has absolutely nothing to do with this lockout. And you misunderstood the hard work and sacrifice part of my comment too. It takes years and years of practice and commitment to play sports at this level. And the work doesn’t stop once you’re there because there are always younger guys behind you trying to take your spot on the roster. The whole point is that nobody would just take less money for the same job without any resistance.

    • mpg44 - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      But is this not what we all have done since the economy bubble burst . I’m sure there have been far less raises handed out over the past few years if any were given at all . Yet the cost of living has risen at a fast pace. Why should the players not have to do the very thing we have. Really when you compare their loss to ours , there is no comparison.

      I am just really sick of people sticking up for these whinny kids cause maybe they think they will be actuall friends on twitter after this !! Smarten up people …. The players still won’t know who you are not will they really care about it !!

  21. rainyday56 - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Way to go Kris, if they sack Bettman tomorrow, who is going to get that kinky off-shore financing (some of it, the owner’s own money) the smaller market teams require to pour into players bank accounts (like yours)?

    • rainyday56 - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:09 PM


      Dec 3.

  22. antkowiak666 - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    “hey Versteeg…..GO AND F!@# YOURSELF!!”

  23. pftbillsfan - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    This proves concussions are a big problem in the NHL. All the players are idiots, too bad. At least it will be a humorous Dateline someday.

  24. jason9696 - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    I’m a big hockey fan. But at this point I could care less if there’s a season or not. I actually haven’t missed the NHL at all.

  25. pens5829 - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    26 and dumb as a rock! He’ll have a future on the NBC broadcast team.

  26. bills4 - Nov 19, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    All you idiots who agree that Bettman is a cancer. The only reason he is a cancer to the game of hockey is because he has grown it to 30 teams when it should still be a 21 team league. It is funny you agree with players who open their mouths when, if it wasn’t for Gary Bettman, 30% of these players would be unemployed. The league is so waterdowned with talent, you have 3rd liner making 2.5 million a year. Ya, the players should really complain about what Gary Bettman has done for them!!!

    • tmoore4075 - Nov 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      I agree that 30 teams is too many but 21 is too little if you want to make big revenue. Sponsorship and TV is a big part of sports now and they wouldn’t have the deal they have with NBC if there was no foot print at all in the south. When they were at 21 teams LA was the furthest southern city and that was it. No Dallas, no TB, no FLA, no Carolina no Ducks, no Nashville and no PHX. When Dallas was good they sold that place out. TB was the highest drawing US based franchise from 04-07 I believe. The Ducks just by their name brought people in. You can say some places shouldn’t have a team but some have worked at times. Just tough to compete with so many teams now or I should say stay competitive. I think 26 teams would have been good. Also people forget that back in 1989 it was the league who wanted to expand to 28 teams by the end of the 90’s. 4 years before Bettman was there. Sure you can put NSH and ATL as bad expansion choices on him and for keeping the Yotes in PHX but SJ, ANH, TB and FL were all put in motion well before him.

      Also it’s not all about being watered down as to why 3rd liners make money. That’s part of it but these owners overspend just to make a headline and try to draw guys to their team. Also once the cap went up so did the floor which forced a lot of small teams to have to spend to get to the floor and the only way to do that was to give money to guys who shouldn’t have it.

      Bettman’s not going anywhere to the people who think he should. Unless the owners think he’s such a lightning rod that nothing will ever get done. He’s done exactly what he should for the owners…make them money.

  27. shotzongoal - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I think you missed Bills4 point. Bettman and the NHL added 250 player positions by increasing the league from 21 to 30 teams. His final sentence appears to be sarcasm meaning; 250 players should be thanking the NHL for expanding and giving them NHL jobs earning 2.5 Million a season each.

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