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FTB: Gary Bettman’s no good horrible very bad week

NHL PR has their work cut out for them after last week’s daily gaffes.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a rough week for the NHL’s head office.

At least it should have been. Who knows what alternate reality they live in. Perhaps they are unaware they humiliated themselves pretty much every single day.

In between the glowing reports churned out by the league, those actually watching the China Series games on TV saw empty seats, and a crowd literally instructed when they were supposed to waive their rally towels and smile for the cameras. Aside from the ex-pats attending the game, the rest looked less than interested in what was happening. Even league legend Phil Esposito was quoted saying the NHL “blew it”.

Then we have reports that NBC has told the league that it will decline its option to broadcast NHL games during the Olympic Games, something for which at least one team had made arrangements on assumption they would.

On top of that is the embarrassment of back-tracking on changes to slashing penalties and face-off violations, something which the players appeared to be unaware was coming or what to do about it.

Then we have the debacle that was the Calgary Flames’—Gary Bettman endorsed—media blitz of their arena proposal. It was universally mocked on social media, and calmly and eloquently ripped to shreds by the city’s mayor as factual nonsense. The Flames organization look like nothing but whiny sore losers.

After all that, there’s the Joffrey Lupul fiasco, which appears to have no possible exit which won’t produce mockery from at least one part of the fanbase. If the ‘independent doctor’s” second opinion concurs with the Leafs, there will be howls of outrage it is all a sham. If the doctor disagrees there will be howls of outrage this was allowed to continue for so long.

Follow all of that up with high profile players taking jabs at the league this week on Twitter.

So far, no one with “access” seems to have been able to dig down far enough to paint the real big picture for us to understand why everyone is posturing like this right now. It has to be someone with “access,” of course, because the league lives in the dark ages where the entire concept of transparency is heresy, despite the rest of the corporate world long ago seeing its benefits.

I mean, I know it’s all about money. We know that for sure. It’s always all about money. But, the build-up of toxicity between the league, players, and the Player’s Association as they barrel toward CBA negotiations is all too familiar to fans. There’s more going on.


You can expect some more players to be cut in the next 24 hours. We will have updates as soon as the news is out.

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