Gary Bettman is like the Monty Hall of inept pro sport commissioners
With the Sept. 15 date ominously looming and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insisting that if a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t reached by that date that he will have no choice but to lock out players, time is running perilously short for the league and the NHLPA to hammer out a deal and avoid the second lockout in eight seasons, representatives from the two sides reportedly met in Manhattan Friday for an informal meeting.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr with brother Steve Fehr at his side, met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly at the league offices to determine exactly where the sides stand and how far apart they might be.
When commenting afterward, Bettman, perhaps one of the most maligned and disrespected commissioners of the four major sports leagues in North America, inadvertently did his very best Monty Hall imitation when he made the following statement when asked why they met:
“Why did we meet? We want to make a deal,” Bettman said.
For those of you too young to catch the reference, Monty Hall was the host of the original format of the long-running game show, Let’s Make a Deal, where contestants dressed up in costumes and oftentimes, had to decide whether to exchange prizes in boxes for possibly better prizes hiding behind either Door #1, #2, or #3. It was a real hoot.
Anyhoo, now that I have that dated reference out of the way, Bettman added (via ESPN New York):
“I know it’s difficult when every breath we take is chronicled, but there is an ebb and a flow to collective bargaining negotiation and sometimes it makes sense to get together and sometimes it makes sense to take a breath.”
“It’s always good to have dialogue,” Bettman said of Friday’s informal discussions. “And the dialogue never stops, even when we’re not formally meeting. The lines of communication have been open and they’ll stay open.”
Said Fehr on the process:
“Trying to find a way to bridge the gap. That’s always the intent,” Donald Fehr said after Friday’s informal conversation.
“We expect discussions to resume, perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow. We don’t know yet” Fehr said. “There’s nothing else to say at this point.”
Yeah, between the rigidity and no-holds barred negotiating tactics employed by Fehr over the years as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and Bettman’s chronic ineptitude and bullheadedness, I don’t see the sides working this out before the 15th.
And of course, the biggest losers — as always — will be the fans.
With that in mind, instead of a full regular season for the NHL, I’ll just take what’s behind Door #3. And to be honest, I don’t really care what’s in there. It’s better than getting jacked once again by the NHL.