Skip to content

Don Cherry: Bettman saved the season

Jan 8, 2013, 8:32 AM EDT

Getty Images

Don Cherry — like many people — went back and forth over the course of the lockout about whether there would be a 2012-13 campaign.

In the end, the union and league came to an agreement that will allow for a 48 game season to kickoff next week.

Plenty of credit has gone to mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh for his role in helping the two sides bridge the gap, but Cherry offered up a different, more controversial candidate as the season’s savior.

“For all you people that are going to watch NHL hockey this year, make no mistake about it, you’re watching it because of Gary Bettman,” Cherry tweeted. “Bettman was the guy that had to pull the trigger whether this was done or not. He saved the season.”

A number of players directed their ire at Bettman during the lockout and back in November, Cherry also spoke out against the players for some of the things that the NHL commissioner had been called. He also previously argued that the NHLPA should have voted on an offer the owners made in early December.


Winners, losers of the NHL lockout

  1. adlent - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I haven’t been into hockey long enough to really hate Bettman, but this seems backwards. How can you lock them out, make outrageous demands, walk out of meetings, stall talks and then suddenly be a hero because you actually meaningfully negotiate and come off your demands to make some compromise?

    • ibieiniid - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      ya EVEN IF it was Bettman that saved the season, he did it several months late. Gary, I award you zero props.

    • sabatimus - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Exactly. How can Bettman (or Daly, or Fehr, or anyone else) be hailed “saviour” after 113 days of lockout? As usual, Cherry has his head up his own as…erm…wardrobe.

    • itripledogdareyou - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      I guess Cherry forgot it was Bettman and the owners who locked out the players to begin with. Thanks jacka$$ for fixing your own mistake 113 days later and completely screwing the fans in the process.

    • duckjeans - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      It’s crazy to think that one individual can make or break a season. That one person has too much power if that is the case. No company or organization would allow that to happen would they? Sounds like a tyranny to me.

    • bassman174 - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      come on Cherry time to go back to the “home”..

    • jaguar0413 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Because Gary Bettman did not lock out the players…the owners locked them out. Bettman is simply the person that communicates the owners’ position. He is paid to represent their views. The reason that Cherry is hailing Bettman is because he believes that Bettman told the owners that they had to pull the trigger on the deal if they wanted a season. For all of his faults, Bettman once again put his legacy and job on the line to make the right deal. Just like he did in 2005. He took all of the heat and ridicule from everybody, like being called an “idiot” and a “cancer.” As bad as people think he is, he did not once allow the personal attacks on himself to interfere with the lockout negotiations.

      If you are looking for people to blame the lockout on, don’t pick Bettman first. Blame the owners for beings shallow and greedy. Blame the players for being petty and turning the lockout into a pathetic attempt to ridicule Bettman. Blame Fehr for playing the waiting game and wasting half a season.

      • ibieiniid - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:32 AM

        “The reason that Cherry is hailing Bettman is because he believes that Bettman told the owners that they had to pull the trigger on the deal if they wanted a season.”

        first off, any single person on this board coulda done that. second, i don’t think the issue here is so much who to blame the lockout on…. but who fixed it. and it sure as hell wasn’t Bettman

      • trollingthisbridge - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        Bettman is the first person who deserves the blame; he is the cancer commissioner. Donal Fehr and the players were only trying to preserve what they were able to hold on to from the last CBA. If Bettman weren’t such a mouse, he would and should have been able to work with the owner’s to see the damage they were doing to the league. The NHL doesn’t belong to the owner’s, the NHL belongs to the fans and players who make it happen. I didn’t go to games to see the owner’s, I went to games to see the players. However, knowing now that the owner’s and their midget Commissioner could give a rat’s arse about me as a fan, then I will in turn show the owner’s that I don’t give a rat’s arse about any of the teams they own and will not attend another game as long as they employe the cancerous midget known as Commissioner Bettman.

    • csr2000 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      I think it’s funny that with all the risk and expenses the NHL takes on that their first offer which was to flip the coin from 57-43 percent split to 43-57 is considered outrageous! What I believe to be outrageous is that the players took in between 53% and 57% of HRR over the course of the last CBA! But a much more important fact is the owners (Bettman) offered a 50-50 split of HRR BEFORE the original regular season was to start. It was the players that wanted a GUARANTEED 1.9 BILLION dollars for this year and more the next all the way into NOVEMBER. In my opinion the players offer, which was on the table for over 2 months, was more outrageous than the owners first offer which was on the table for about 1 week. If the payers agreed to 50-50 right off the bat they could have worked out the other issues and we would have had an 82 game season.

      • trollingthisbridge - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        If it were that simple, the would be neat, but it’s not and it isn’t. The owner’s wanted more than just changing the revenue split; free agency, restricted free agency, contract length, etc…. What about the owner’s who negotiated the ten year contracts knowing full well they were going to lock the players out and those contracts would never be fulfilled? The players are right not to trust the owners, the owners are a collective bunch of greedy vermin.

  2. solador78 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    What really happened is that Scot Beckenbaugh sided with the NHLPA and called-out Jeremy Jacobs’ dirty negotiating tricks. If the owners weren’t going to start negotiating in good faith and move off the $60 million HRR mark, the US government wasn’t going to support the NHL in any anti-trust court proceedings. Jacobs realized that he had no choice but to settle, otherwise he would risk a mutiny and lose his Chairman of the Board seat.

    • rich859 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      You haven’t cited any sources for your story of what “really happened”. The federal mediator’s job is to be impartial to either side and work towards the best possible solution. To say that he “sided with the NHLPA” only shows a lack of understanding on how the process works. Jeremy Jacobs most likely did nothing to help end the lockout, his only concern is making money because that is his job and obviously he is very good at it. At the same time, the NHLPA in my opinion did just as much harm to the sport as the owners and Bettman have. We have NHL hockey this season because a mediator helped the two parties find a middle ground, not because he sided with the NHLPA, and certainly not because of Gary Bettman.

      • solador78 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        Your comments sound pretty naive..

        Before mediation:

        NHLPA – $65 million
        NHL – $60 million

        After mediation:

        “Middle” ground – $64.3 million

        It’s pretty obvious which side the mediator took.

      • rich859 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Your comments sound ignorant. You aren’t taking into account the other issues in which the NHL gained ground. Only looking at the HRR is short sighted. And acting to know something you don’t is something else entirely (for further reference, please see Joey, Blomfeld, etc..)

      • solador78 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        The NHL didn’t gain any ground in the past week. Not sure what your sources are other than “making it up as you go along and thinking you know everything but are only really good at not saying anything of substance.”

      • rich859 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        You obviously haven’t read over the details of the CBA that have been made public. The NHL got what they wanted out of the deal or they wouldn’t have agreed to it, and the same can be said for the NHLPA. I don’t pretend to know something I don’t. You making up a story about how a predominant business man got bullied into throwing away money by a federal mediator is ridiculous. The NHL made up the lost HRR in other areas. You pretend to know that Jeremy Jacobs was using “dirty negotiating tricks” when in reality, that could have been any owner, Bettman, or even the NHLPA or Fehr. You pretend to know what the US government was thinking (for christ’s sake, the US Government doesn’t even know what the US Government is thinking). And then you pretend to know what the Chairmen are thinking. And I have said plenty with substance, it’s not my fault if you can’t understand it.

      • solador78 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Obama called out the NHL before mediation.

        The NHLPA called for mediation.

        Source after source described Jeremy Jacobs’ goal as wanting to “destroy the union.”

        The union wasn’t destroyed.

        The NHLPA got their number.

        The $700k that the NHL won is called “saving face.”

      • rich859 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        A business man wants to destroy a union?!?!? Thanks for the breaking news. Obama called out both sides for not coming to a deal and “not doing right by the fans”. You continue to ramble on. Both sides got what they wanted, both sides showed what they were willing to do to get what they want. The only people that suffered were the fans and the workers who lost wages and lost their jobs.

    • csr2000 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      I could be wrong about this but wasn’t the NHLPA pushing for the salary cap for this season to be $70+ just a week or two ago.

  3. millertime30 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    • millertime30 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      damn it i always do that wrong.

    • millertime30 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      aaand thumbs down all around. not this guys morning.

      • valoisvipers - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        Maybe a few too many Millers last night but it’s all good.

  4. east96st - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    “For all you people that are going to watch NHL hockey this year, make no mistake about it, you’re watching it because of Gary Bettman,”

    Reason #5,768 NOT to watch. Of course, as a long suffering Jackets fan, it’s not like I’m giving up much by ignoring Columbus. So, I can’t act like I’m sacrificing anything. Not too hard to miss out on a 15-33 season.

  5. thailer35 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Sure he did Cherry. Sure he did. You just keep spit-shouting your ridiculous ideas.

    • crosberries - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      Ha it’s diarrhea of the mouth after today he was just diagnosed.

  6. ironmike778 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Not going to give Bettman credit for anything. Sorry. Ain’t happening.

  7. bricktop02 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    You are a tool bag cherry.

  8. calithirteen - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    This guy’s comments are as ridiculous as his outfits!

  9. cweez2 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    And to think, Grapes – Bettman wasn’t trained in the CHL!

  10. doubles22 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Sounds to me as if Fehr choosing not to play the “disclaimer of interest” card- which by all accounts he had full NHLPA authorization to do- played a crucial role in the settlement as well.

    I’m not a Fehr apologist by any means, but this lockout proved the man is a highly-skilled negotiator, and was clearly needed by the NHLPA to keep its membership from getting steamrolled. Lotsa people wanted to vilify Fehr as the interloper barging his way into “our game” and throwing a wrench into the whole program. Considering how the NHL chose to negotiate, if you want to call it that, I’m not sure Fehr had any recourse to do anything different than what he did.

  11. orangeandblack67 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Maybe Grapes should don lips all over one of those hideous suit coats oh his cause he is such an A$$ kisser.

  12. bennywuh - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    The best thing that may come from this lockout will be watching Bettman try to hand out the Cup at the end – guy wont be able to get a word in through all the boos

    • crosberries - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Was he ever able to before?

    • crambow - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Skip the earplugs and bring on overhead protection. He may very well need some. Probably a good year to break tradition and sit out this ceremony, perhaps.

      But you’re right, I’m sure the crowds will turn it up to ’11’ this year.

      • crosberries - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Ha he’ll come out like the pope encased in bullet proof glass…now how do I hand off the cup inside this thing??

  13. crambow - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Key Season Savers:

    1. Scot Beckenbaugh
    2. #dregerface
    4. “I got 99 lockout problems but a money phone isn’t one of them”
    5. PHT thumbers
    6. Piano Desk starring Don Cherry

    49. Gary Bettman
    50. Inside Sources

    • ibieiniid - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:14 PM


  14. banger60 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    ?????????????? WTF?

  15. jhuck92 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Skip Bayless of the NHL. Everyone knows he’s crazy, but he brings in good ratings.

  16. puckish27 - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    All Bettman saved was his job. A commissioner is supposed to act in the best interests of the game. 2 completely canceled seasons by definition would warrant his immediate dismissal.

  17. lsxphotog - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Man, Don Cherry continues to dig himself into a hole.

    He was once the voice of reason for hockey fans with a sense of humor. He has been on a downward spiral since the mid ’90s as more and more Russian and European players were making their way into the league. He was clearly agitated by or would discredit all non North American players. Now we have this opinionated, crabby guy who we essentially let talk and don’t listen.

    Bettman the hero of the lockout? We should thank him? Sorry, pal. I’ll continue to boo him as I was taught by my father. haha The tone of the negotiations was set by the initial offer that Bettman, had he been a better commisioner, should have never allowed to make the table. How do you negotiate against a clown contract? Where do you start? Of course you’re far apart, Gary…

    Sorry, Don. I loved you as a kid. Now I just see you as the crotchety grandpa sitting in a rocking chair yelling about the Ruskies.

    • lsxphotog - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM


      (Wish we could delete posts to make changes!)

  18. harpdog - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    if a season was saved it was half a season and thats gonna be like preseason for the first 1/4, so only a 1/4 of the season was saved. Oh wow I am so not gonna watch the first 1/4 of the season.

  19. mrhyperpants - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Don Cherry is a kn*b!

  20. themajorleagueuser - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Bettman did his job, and that is “I work for the owners”. I don’t fault him for the lockout, but I’m not giving him any credit because he works for the owners. He is the figurehead for the owners, so I think you have to thank the players, mediators and owners. They worked for it, not Bettman. Though I do like Gary Bettman to an extent.

  21. 13whitebread - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    I used to like don cherry but he is just not relevant to hockey anymore. For the good of the league and to give back to the fans make gary step down how embarrassing on the national stage him getting booed every time he gives the Stanley Cup at the end of the year. You cannot tell me he is the only man on the planet that can run the NHL. He needs to go back to obscurity just being well paid lawyer it’s ego for him that got us into this mess. For the good of the Mr. bettman leave the game.

  22. mclovinhockey - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Gary and cherry in the same article… I think I am going to puke.

  23. hawkeyplayer - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    once again, cherry is wrong.

    Bettman took away HALF THE SEASON!!!

    how the heck did he “save” it?

    SAVING IT would have been getting his butt in gear over the summer and get a new CBA signed IN TIME for the season to start, instead of wining and dining on his billions of fortunes!

    Don Cherry is thinking like a turd right now.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1833)
  2. P. Kane (1409)
  3. S. Matthias (1248)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1121)
  5. D. Carcillo (1104)