SportsProf

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

What was Gary Bettman thinking?

Sports commissioners never cease to amaze SportsProf. A few years ago, after the great ending to the Dbacks-Yankees World Series, actually, right after that great ending, Baseball commissioner Bud Selig started talking about the need for contraction in baseball. Instead of letting his beloved sport bask in the glory of a great World Series, he rained on his own parade.

Fast-forward to yesterday, where NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke publicly on the state of the NHL, and about the possible labor version of a Texas Death Match that the owners and players are about to commence. Bettman said that no one should doubt the owners' resolve here. That's all well and good, and perhaps it needed to be said -- again -- but did he need to say it on the first day of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Did he need to say it right on the eve of a matchup of two finalists for the MVP award in the NHL -- Jerome Iginla of Calgary and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay? Did he need to say it on the eve of a matchup between two solid goalies, Kiprusoff of Calgary and Khabibulin of Tampa Bay?

The NHL needs a major shot of something to straighten out its problems. Commissioner Bettman, though, did not help his league's cause by saying what he did when he did it. Instead of talking about labor woes, he should have been extolling the virtues of some very talented hockey players.

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