At least that’s how one NHL player described Gary Bettman who is enduring the third lockout during his reign as commissioner. Ian White of the Detroit Red Wings lashed out at Bettman last week and told reporters how he truly feels about the league’s commissioner and not mincing words while doing so.
“I personally think he’s an idiot. Since he’s come in, he’s done nothing but damaged the game.”
Those are some strong words from the defenceman who is clearly frustrated by not only the lockout but the lack of progress towards a new CBA between the NHL and NHLPA. White’s comments were after Bettman had suggested that the two sides take a break from negotiations, calling it a two week reprieve. Good thing for all of us is that Donald Fehr, who represents the player’s didn’t necessarily agree and not talks have been scheduled for Monday in New York.
But White wasn’t finished by simply running down Bettman. He elaborated on his thoughts by referencing the expansion decisions Bettman has made over the past twenty years at the helm.
“The moves he’s made, teams that are struggling seem to be ones he put in places where there’s not viable markets for hockey.”
It’s hard to argue with White’s point about the struggling markets, typically in the southern states but Bettman did re-establish thriving hockey markets in both Minnesota and recently Winnipeg. These moves had to have been difficult for the commissioner to make given he was in charge when the Jets and Stars left their respective cities the first time around. He no doubt had to swallow his pride and admit that expansion in Atlanta didn’t work and that hockey crazed markets in Winnipeg and Minnesota should have never been allowed to lose their team the first go round.
There has been no word yet from the Red Wings if White will be fined from the club he plays for and because of the lockout we may not hear any discipline until White and his colleagues are back at work.
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