Sam's Drunk Dog wrote:
Bettman destroyed Goodenow and the NHLPA, restored parity for small revenue teams, and repaired the damage to the on ice product inflicted by an old school Board of Governors. The guy is clearly at the pinnacle of his commissionership. What else could have have done?
Bettman has accomplished a great deal, but he did expand the league too fast and too far south.
While Tags was able to accomplish much with labor peace, Bettman had to shut the league down for over a year.
Do you remember the NFLPA strikes in 82 & 87? I remember the NFL shutting down for 9 weeks in 82. It wasn't an entire season, but the NFLPA was weakened. I remember the NFL having 3 weeks of games with replacement players in 87. By the 3rd week ~ 50% of the NFLPA crossed the picket line to play with the replacement players. The NFLPA was dead for all intents and purposes. I'm not trashing Tags, he's done a great job IMO, but Rozelle was the guy that united the owners, negotiated the original big $$$ TV deals, and crushed the NFLPA. By the time Tags took the top spot in 89/90 the NFL was very healthy and primed for growth.
Bettman has dragged the NHL into the 21st century against the will of many of its owners, players and traditional hockey markets.