Bettman's strategy

In this whole lockout situation the only thing we see is the owners totally ripping the NHLPA and setting up the public to view the players as overpaid whiners.

Now, isn’t hockey played by these players. Don’t you think that maybe instead of trying to illicit public opinion that they should work more on selling the game? Why not market the game?

Bettman has had the opportunity to try and pump up the excitment of hockey but instead has pitted the players against the public. To what point, because when hockey starts again people will still have the opinion of why should I spend my hard earned money to watch a bunch of whiney millionaire hockey players that don’t give their all every night.

Do you see coke telling people that it rots your teeth but it is still a great product?

This is definitely the worst marketing job I have ever seen and I pity the state of the game when and if it ever returns.

35 Responses to Bettman's strategy

  1. rojoke says:

    In this whole lockout situation the only thing we see is the owners totally ripping the NHLPA and setting up the public to view the players as overpaid whiners.

    The only thing you see? What have you been looking at? While it certainly has died down over the past month or so, in October and November it seemed as if specific players were taking personal shots at Bettman with regularity. It only makes me wonder what they say to each other on the ice.

    It’s not as if there isn’t some truth to what you say Bettman is trying to do. Brett Hull has said publicly that about three-quarters of the league is overpaid. And with the number of failed obstruction crackdowns, we all know there’s a fair numbers of whiners in the league. So it’s not much of a stretch to think some of the overpaid are also whining.

  2. UsedandAbused says:

    Bettman is a moron. I am just not impressed with the way this guy conducts business. In fact I never have been. A good leader would have found away to work a deal out. I mean how can both sides go weeks without even negotiating? This guy has no idea how to market the sport. You are right in the sense he did try and damage the players reputation to win this dispute and get more leverage, however he hurt the entire NHL because it turns fans away from the game permanently. This is why both sides are to blame. The Owners are going to win this battle though. I think Bettman will risk the entire future of the NHL to win this dispute, which is why so many NHL players expressed their dissatisfaction in this commissioner. The players will be the ones to concede to the salary cap. You can count on it! I just hope they concede early and to save the season. After all, as an Eagles fan I realize disappointment is just around the corner as playoffs have begun. Something tells me I am really going to miss hockey in about 4 weeks.

  3. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Ahhh but don’t forget the owners put their money on the line. They run the league. The players work AT ABSOLUTE MOST 110 nights a year, and they work for a few hours at most. Also, they’re playing a game.

  4. 19Yzerman says:

    I agree with you kewlleafs.

    Unfortunately most of those who post here on HTR will disagree with you because they are of the opinion that the players ARE the villain.

    A good reason to vilify the players is so the fans will view them just as you said ,” a bunch of whiny millionaire hockey players that don’t give their all every night.” Then the NHL can bring in a new wave of drone players who will do as they are told and take only what they are given without fans being outraged about it. Well that is not how the game works on the ice so why have players who are that submissive economically?

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again.

    There ain’t no GOOD guy, There ain’t no BAD guy there is only the NHL and the NHLPA and they just disagree.

  5. KEWLLEAFS says:

    The owners do put their money on the line but there will be nothing left to argue about.

    These players do play a game but they dedicate their entire lives to achieving a level of excellence. They may work a few hours at a time that you see but the hours and hours that go into training and becoming the best should be rewarded. The reason you and I don’t get a million for playing hockey is because we don’t have the talent and the dedication to playing this game.

    If you think it is just a game, take a look at the damaged knees, broken noses, jaws, legs. They don’t treat it just like a game and that is what the owners need to sell. The passion of these players to play and perform.

    It is a real shame that all anyone sees now is the money and no one looks forward to watching the game.

  6. KEWLLEAFS says:

    You’re missing the whole point. I don’t think they are overpaid whiners. I think that it is a business that has potential to make a lot of money if they stay positive about the game and promote it not rip the players and draw a public picture of the public and the owners against the NHLPA.

    The hockey players are the product. I want to see Mats Sundin and Joe Sakic. I don’t want to see Rocky Thompson fumble the puck up the ice and punch around other players with half the talent.

    They made a lot of money, some still do and some still can. It is there, why not make a deal to share the pot? The owners need to make a full disclosure of their business and make true partners of all the other clubs in the league and in turn make a partnership with the players.

    Take a look at horse racing – they pay millions for these horses and some pay out and some don’t – just like in the NHL but people still go and see the races because they want to see the fastest horse – not just the fastest horse on the field that day. Please no replacement players.

  7. Aetherial says:

    heh, good lyric subsitution there at the end 🙂

    There is another reason that people are willing to hate the players…

    It is because athletes in ALL sports HAVE become spoiled babies. There is no such thing as loyalty to the fans of a city…

    Therefore, the fans view the players as nothing more than a commodity to be traded or tossed away. There are very few *heroes* in sports anymore there is almost no love for the players from the fans…

    Most fans think that players of all pro sports ARE over-payed, spoiled,selfish, cry-babies. They are right.

    Players in sports brought this on themselves the first time a free agent signed with somewhere else for more money.

  8. 19Yzerman says:

    Spoils the whole bunch.

    Its so true and in this case I think your right.

    For ever Randy Moss ,Ronald Artest, Bobby Holik and John Rocker.

    There is a Payton Manning, John Stockton, Steve Yzerman and Derick Jeter.

  9. Freeze says:

    Owners ripping players and vice versa is just part of the negotiation game. It happens all the time. Once the lockout ends, everyone will be buddy-buddy. The fans know this.

    The fans also know that hockey players are the most down to earth athletes in any professional sport. They give interviews in between periods dripping with sweat. They’re accessible for the media and generally seem like good guys.

    Yeah, they charge for autographs, but who doesn’t these days? That’s a business in and of itself. Do it for free and watch your autographed card get sold on ebay.

    Each side is trying to protect their interest. It happens.

  10. stooli says:

    I gave up on the NHL a few years ago. I still love the game and support my local team but only by attending 2 games a year…otherwise that’s it. I honestly can’t stand to watch the game anymore, but for the playoffs, it is such a bore. The games are meaningless and the product in general is poor. There is no speed, there are too many teams and I can’t identify with the players who swap teams constantly. But what burns me most is the small market teams that put in an effort and do so for the fans are now nothing more then feeders to the monster market big 6. Not to mention that both the Union and League are full of lying money hungry business oriented fools.

    What would make me comeback?

    1. Dump some of the fat…Ducks, Predators, Panthers and Caines….

    2. Put people who care about the game in charge…Gretzky as the Commish and Dougie Gilmour as the head of the NHLPHA would be a start

    3. Cut the salaries and turn that into a slash on ticket prices, if the game is for the fans the fans should be able to afford to attend.

    4. Once that is done maybe to players would respect the game again and give up on this clutch grab, hook, hold and tackle style that has destroyed the game for this once loyal “fan” of the NHL.

    But it’s a pipe dream because in the end all that will happen is this.

    1. Hockey will come back in 12 months

    2. Owners will get their cap and reduce tickets by 10%, but raise them the following year

    3. Rule changes will be implemented, but not enforced

    4. The league will not contract, instead it will once again expand. Within next 5 years…hello Kansas. Las Vegas and Winnipeg…

    5. The NHLPA and Agents will find a way to cir*****vent the agreement and exploit the league and fans for huge some of money once again.

    6. I will still be board silly with the poor sad and sorry excuse for a league that once held so much promise.

    Who is to blame I ask…everyone involved for putting the dollar before the game…

    Gary, Bob, Players, Agents, Corporations, Parents and more then anyone the fans for allowing the whole lot to get away with it.

  11. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning….

    Cheer up buddy, you wouldn’t be posting on HTR if you didn’t feel strongly about NHL hockey.

  12. stooli says:

    Don’t get me wrong…I would want nothing more then for the mess to turn around and I am holding out hope…but the only reason the league and HTR has my attention again is becuase the owners have for once gone out and put down thier collective feet and with that could get things righted.

    However I am being honest when I say that I cannot even watch a game anymore and that it is a sad and sorry excuse for what was once a great game for the fans…I stand firm on blaming EVERYONE who has tainted it.

  13. guinsfan4life says:

    That might be all you see, but I got some news for ya buddy…the solid majority of the players ARE overpaid whiners, and it didn’t take the NHL to paint that picture for me.

    You’ve got your priorities outta whack. First you fix the economic disparity in the game through the next CBA, then and only then do you worry about marketing the game. You can’t sell a game that isn’t currently in play, it is counterproductive.

    Marketing hockey has more to do with what happens on the ice; not at the bargaining table.

  14. guinsfan4life says:

    Seems your post is rather one sided. Let me remind you it takes to “tango” so to speak. Bettman can do all he wants, but if the other side isn’t receptive it doesn’t matter.

    Bettman has been a great leader throughout this. He hasn’t caved and given in to moronic thoughts and insults of fans, public, and media. His focus right now isn’t on marketing. His focus now is on fixing the economic disparity of the game. When the new CBA comes into view, he’ll focusing on marketing the game. The way the game has been prior to marketing is alot more difficult than the one we hope to see coming out of the lockout.

    He, in of himself, did not turn players off to the game. You are very narrowminded if you believe that. See paragraph one.

    Why would you insult bettman so much at the beginning of your post and then say that both sides are to blame??

    Sounds like you are very confused. If I was you, I’d focus all your energy on the Eagles T.0, perhaps you can get your point across better when you discuss them.

  15. Kraut182 says:

    Aetherial, I have no idea what you do for a living, but just for an example lets say you make $40000 a year. Now someone comes to you and says, I want you to work for my company, same job, but I’ll give you $60000 a year. Are you telling me you say sorry, but I’m too loyal to my current employer to leave? I don’t think many people do, but you find it terribly wrong if a professional athlete does it … why?

  16. cgolding says:

    that’s not the point. he understands why they go from team to team. the point is pretty simple. why should fans have loyalty to the players, when the players have zero loyalty to the fans of the cities they play in?

    in your example, would you really ask the boss at the old company to be supportive of the employee that left him hanging to go to a company that could pay him more?

    hell… the entire purpose of this site “Hockey Trade Rumors” is discussing these players as commodities to be moved from team to team. every summer the UFA wire opens up and players become independent commodities on the market for teams to purchase.

    simply put, regardless of what they work out in the CBA, that isn’t going to change. Free Agency has changed how players are viewed in sports, maybe for the bad in terms of PR, but in return they recieve financial reward.

  17. 19Yzerman says:

    What you guys are talking about players moving from team to team is the nature of the business in sports.

    Understanding the reasoning when a team trades away a player like the B’s did with Bourque to a team with a better chance of him winning a Stanley Cup.

    It is different when a player like Federov leaving the Wings for more money to the Ducks. He was also looking for more Ice time and knew he wasn’t going to get everything his way. This is an example of a player who could have had plenty by remaining on a team where the fans loved him and the team was successful.

    Also when teams are dumping salary how this is not any fault of the player.

  18. KEWLLEAFS says:

    Your out to lunch – it didn’t have to come to this. People will buy what you sell them. Look at the terrific marketing that McDonalds and Coke do. This stuff will make you fat and slow and stupid but people buy it because they are branded.

    If Bettman had spent more time on selling the game and less on manufacturing numbers on losses from teams that he brought into the league then the NHL would not be LOCKED OUT.

    Players are not overpaid Whiners. I know a lot of players personally and these are guys who are terrific family members, community builders and dedicated to the sport of hockey. They are overpaid – to that I agree but only because of the greed of owners like Karmanos who is a big reason why players are paid millions more than they need to be.

    Karmanos is the one who sigend Federov to the big offer to spite another owner in a market that cares about hockey. Arbitration and player agents have killed hockey not whining players. Do some research on your own before you blanket an entire group of people with a stupid label because the owners tell you to.

  19. Freeze says:

    You’re full of crap. Fans LOVE the players. They pay rediculous prices for tickets to watch them perform and for autographs. They cheer them as heros, wear their jerseys, and throw 1 million person parties for them in the form of parades when they really do well. They ADORE the players and the owners make $$ from player souvineers. These are the most down to earth athletes in all of sports. How would you know if the fans are willing to hate the players? Is it because you see fans staying away from some rinks? Maybe that has something to do with the product on the ice and the local culture instead.

  20. UsedandAbused says:

    “He, in of himself, did not turn players off to the game. You are very narrowminded if you believe that.”

    I don’t know what the HELL you are reading. I said he “damage the players’ reputation” which in turn “turns fans away from the game”. He did this by painting the picture that the players are whinny millionaires. All that does is make people NOT want to watch the NHL. Bettman has not done a good job in getting both sides to come together in my opinion to get a deal done.

    Why did I call Bettman A moron? Let me just ask you one question…. Name one thing that Bettman has done to improve the NHL. As far as I see it the NHL has not generated the kind of success it did before Bettman. I am sure in Canada it is great, but here in America people have lost interest.

    I am not sticking up for the players either, both sides are at fault here. For both sides to sit around without any kind of negotiation going on is sad.

    “When the new CBA comes into view, he’ll focusing on marketing the game.”

    Yea I am sure he’ll do as good of a job marketing as he has done before.

    I think you’re the one confused…

  21. Aetherial says:

    I wish it was so…

    From a sheer greed standpoint (forget about bad behavior)… almost all atheletes today simply hold out for as much money as they can as soon as they can.

    I don’t blame them, but there IS a cost to this. There is a cost to everything in life!! The cost in this case is that the fans generally don’t like the athletes much anymore and certainly have no loyalty.

    That is why I strongly believe that fans cheer for the sweater, not the person wearing it.

    You are right, there are exceptions, in every sport. There are just very few exceptions to the greed.

  22. Aetherial says:

    Who said I disagreed.

    The first problem is behavior and disdain. Bad behavior is increasing in all sports… rapidly.

    The second factor is greed.

    Yes, I would go for more money (if it was enough more)… but there is a price to pay for leaving.

    In this case, it is the loyalty of the fans. I don’t *blame* the players but they are selling their soul here so to speak. Once they become “for sale” they cease to exist as a local hero in most people’s eyes.

    Thus, people find it very easy to blame them and dislike them… THEN, while making a ton of money, they rub people’s faces in it with their stupidity (the quotes from the NHLPA are disgusting). In this case, it is like Yzerman19 says above… it is a relatively few bad apples making ridiculous quotes, but it is severely damaging to the way the public perceives athletes as a whole.

  23. Aetherial says:

    Yes, but read what Golding said… sure we would all do it probably… but understand that there IS a cost to the players in their greed;

    the loyalty of the fans.

  24. Aetherial says:

    There are a couple fan favorites in every city. Other than that, nobody cares about a specific player… except maybe to intensely dislike them because of the stupid things they said or did or the BS they pull on the field.

  25. Aetherial says:

    Read my reasons WHY people are so willing to blame and dislike players…

    it is not about hockey, it is about athelets in general and the fact that just about every day a new one says or does something obnoxious and showing total disdain for the fans… WHO PAY THEIR SALARY.

    Their sense of entitlement is ridiculous as is their complete lack of understanding of the reality of people lives who don’t make millions.

    It is VERY easy to dislike pro athletes… and I don’t need the NHL owners to tell me to do it.

  26. guinsfan4life says:

    First of all, the players’ reputation was damaged long before the lockout even occurred. This has nothing to do with Gary Bettman. Fans do not need the picture that you somehow believe Bettman painted in order to figure out the players are whiny millionaires. We have all come to that conclusion alone.

    Like I said before, what makes you believe that blame should be placed on Bettman because both sides are talking? Why are you blaming Goodenow? Maybe public perception would change if the players initiated talks more often and then the “picture” you refer to that Bettman painted, wouldn’t even be an issue.

    One thing Bettman has done to improve the NHL, okay. Bettman has not given into the pressure from fans, the media, and the players association to agree to a CBA that is not in the best interests of the league. Instead he is standing pat on what he believes. This is the best thing he will have ever done for the league and the best thing he’ll have ever done, so as long as he stands pat.

    Give me substantiated proof that the league is not better with Bettman. Where is your evidence to back up that statement? That is your opinion, plain and simple. Comparing hockey in Canada with hockey in America is comparing apples to oranges. Hockey in America will never have the popularity it does in Canada.

    I agree that it is very frustrating for both sides to sit around and do nothing. However, I would rather have it this way, than having the way the league currently is under the old CBA. If we are going to go without hockey for this long–FINE–but when you come back it better be fixed.

    The game prior to this year and the lockout was very difficult to market because of the dispartity among economic issues among teams. How can you market when you have teams going bankrupt every year? When ticket prices are astronomical and people can’t afford to go to games…

  27. guinsfan4life says:

    It DID have to come to this. And thankfully so. If people will buy what you sell them, explain to me why hockey is the 4th major sport in America behind football, baseball, basketball. You can’t compare McDonalds and Coke to marketing the National hockey league for god’s sake. Food, is what most people call a necessity, to maintain life. Hockey is not and never will be.

    YOu can’t sell the game the way it is, he tried. If the game was so great, then why is the tv deal they signed a joke?

    You have your opinion and I have mine. I believe, most, not all I’ll give you that, of the players are overpaid whiners. The fact they are family members, and in the community makes no difference to me. If they are do dedicated to the sport of hockey, where are they now???? The owners too, they are at fault for part of this. So then why not recognize that both sides are at fault and work towards a new system. Why?? Because the players know they will make less money. How much money is enough, in your mind? How many cars are enough??

    Owners didn’t tell me to do anything. I form my own opinion based on facts I deem relevant to the situation, unlike yourself who believes that just because the players have families and live in a community they aren’t whiners.

  28. guinsfan4life says:

    I couldn’t agree more, and you are correct, it isn’t about hockey. Athletes in general have no idea what it is like.

  29. guinsfan4life says:

    Your rationale is messed up. You are talking about tens of thousands of dollars in your example, and the athletes are leaving town for 1-2 million more when they already make 10 million that season!

    You tell me, when is enough, enough?

  30. 19Yzerman says:

    I suppose your assessment of fan opinion about players may very from team to team but, for the most part 2 or 3 players per team could the league average in terms of truly very likeable players.

    It would be nice to for the league to have more guys like Hasek who returned money to the Red Wings once he knew he was not going to return to play that season, Hull and Shanny who agreed to take less money so the Red Wings could bring in Hasek, Yzerman who takes what he is given dispite others around him demanding more when he is the heart and soul of the team, Karia taking 1.5 to play with salanne for the AVES may have been admirable but, I think that was an over kill in terms of being compromising to the point where doing so was counter productive to others in his industry. He could have taken 3 to 3.5 million and his message would have been taken just as well.

    Try not to pay any attention to those who are like Holik. Over paid whiners should be ignored!

  31. 19Yzerman says:

    You ask,” How much money is enough, in your mind? How many cars are enough?? “

    Some where between Gordie Howe getting a team jacket for a signing bonus and Holik’s 10 million per year lies the answer.

    What is for sure is that once upon a time the players were a secret cash cow for the owners until the player figured out how they were deserving of a better share then what was being given at that time.

    1955 Ted Lindsey and some others got together even though they hated each other to form the NHLPA. A must see for anyone who has an opinion of the whole CBA- NHL vs NHLPA battle. The movie”NET WORTH”.

    The owners would like to go back to pay structuring of 1955 and the players know that is not anyplace for them to settle.

    The last CBA was tilted in favor of the players. It is time for them both to establish what is fair for both and GETTTER DUUUUUNN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. guinsfan4life says:

    I agree whole heartedly with your points. That is what irritates me the most is that neither side appears to want to find a common ground. Like, for example if the owners need a cap so bad, and I believe they do, they need to given in on other areas. Players should be able to be free agents sooner, they should be able to get guarantteed signing bonuses.

    WE can’t get back to 1955 salary strucutres and we can’t keep what we currently have now, so they need to g they need to like you said,

    gettttter dunnnn!!!

  33. rojoke says:

    I didn’t miss the point. I disagreed with you, and still do.

    You believe that the players aren’t overpaid whiners. While it may be painting all the players with a wide brush, all you have to do is look at the failed repeated attempts at cracking down on obstruction in the league to see that there are a fair share of whiners and complainers in the league. Look at a player’s reaction any time a penalty is called. Any amateur lip-reader can decipher what they say to referees who have the audacity to call them for an “infraction.” In October, it’s, “How can we produce offensively when I have two or three guys to drag up the ice with me.” Then by December it’s, “How can we produce offensively when there’s no flow to the game becuase of all the penalties being called?” Well as my mother would say, piss or get off the pot!!! Do you want the obstruction called or not? If not, then shut up about it in October. If so, then shut up about the sin bin parade when it happens.

    Another point is the goaltending issue. The league wanted to reduce the width of goalie pads from 12 inches to 10 inches. There was an immediate negative outcry from the goalie’s union, citing the safety of netminders everywhere. My question is, just how much muscular development do goaltenders do to their legs that make a reduction of two inches suddenly a open season on their knees, thighs and shins? Forget the fact that they pads many goalies today wear cover them from their toes to their waists. Forget the fact that a goalie who’s 5′ 10″ can wear the exact same pad as a goalie who is 6′ 4″, if he can get through the gate to the ice. Forget the fact that they catching gloves they wear today could hold a bucket of pucks. Forget the fact that in full padding, there are goalies in the league who have bigger chests that Pam Anderson, bigger arms than Arnold Schwarzenegger at his peak, and make an NFL defensive lineman look like Manute Bol. Forget the fact that shooters, who by the way outnumber goalies 11 to 1 in the league, constantly note that there’s less and less room to shoot at.

    It’s fine to say you want to stay positive about the game and the image you present. But you also have to be realistic about that image.

  34. rojoke says:

    You and your best friend could plan this big weekend. Trip to your favourite team’s city. Game against their fiercest rival. Seats by the glass, center ice. Hotel suites, dinner before the game, the works. But if you can agree to what airline you’re gonna fly, then there’s no use even talking about the rest of the trip. Right not the league wants to fly CCA – Cost Certainty Airlines and the PA wants to go Air Luxury Tax. If they ever picked the airline, the other stuff would get settled pretty damn quickly.

  35. guinsfan4life says:

    I see what you are saying, however, the league needs to offer incentives for the players union accepting the salary cap. And vice versa for the players association. That has to be a start of where negotiations need to begin. You can’t just sit down and say here is a cap, what do you think? You need to sit down say here is a cap, but here is what you can also do to maximize your paycheck as aplayer…

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