"To the players who were very clear that they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labour contracts, to our partners who support the league financially and personally, and most importantly to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I'm sorry," Bettman said
. "I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months but I owe you an apology nevertheless."
For me it wasn't necessary and nor do I support demands that the NHL make up to the fans for the lockout. Fans should be happy with Bettman and the owners for locking the players out. The league was hurting, too many teams losing money, too many players making too much. Why? In part due to the 57 percent of revenue they were getting, in part because of the absurd lengths some owners went to win, circumventing rules with contracts like Shea Weber's that were absurd in the extreme.
NHL players: big contracts, no apologies to fans
Where's the apology from Donald Fehr and the players? There's been none I know of. None from Nashville Predator Weber, who signed an offer sheet
from the Philadelphia Flyers, matched by the Preds, worth $80 million in the first six years of the contract, much of it bonuses he was paid even during the lockout. No apologies from Sydney Crosby, the 25-year-old who's made $47 million already and who, after this season, will have 3 where he's paid $12 million per.
Crosby and Weber, and the rest of the NHLPA, sat back and complained about the offers coming from the league while businesses that depend on the NHL closed or reduced hours for their staff, staff who were truly hurting. Again, to my knowledge the players haven't offered up anything in the way of a sincere apology for their insistence on sitting on offers for weeks before responding with a counter-proposal.
Gary Bettman: strong legacy
Gary Bettman did everything he could to keep the league healthy, including insisting on a 10 year duration to the new CBA, with an opt out at 8. His legacy will be one of making a more competitive game, growing the NHL in markets it had never been before, and, despite the greed of players, staying the course in his quest to find a financial model for the NHL and NHLPA to work from that guarantees a healthy league going forward.
Forget the apology and tip your hat to Gary Bettman as you get back to watching the game.