SBD/3/Leagues Governing Bodies

BETTMAN DEALS WELL WITH ROLE AS "LIGHTNING ROD"

     The two sides are far apart on a labor deal.  But, "there is
much agreement outside hockey, however, that Gary Bettman has a
bear of a job" (John Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/3).
Bettman:  "I have no choice but to be a lightning rod.  I'd
rather not be.  But I have to be" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/1).  Gary Miles
writes, "Like him or hate him, they couldn't ruffle him" (PHILA.
INQUIRER, 10/2).
     CRITICS:  Ian O'Connor compares Bettman to his old boss, NBA
Commissioner David Stern:  "If such a crisis materialized when
the NBA was hot, when his sports revolution was just beginning to
bloom, Stern would've worked the back rooms, would've employed
his charm, would've been smart enough to let it all happen" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 10/2).  In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz writes, "Is
there a bigger knucklehead than Bud Selig?  Yes.  Gary Bettman"
(ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/1).  In Philadelphia, Bill Lyon
writes, "The owners and their mouthpiece have come off looking
petty and shortsighted and recalcitrant and just plain mule-
stubborn" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/1).
     BACKERS:  In Toronto, Marge Ormsby writes, "Bettman has been
publicly savaged and ridiculed for representing the owners in
brilliant, sometimes ruthless, style.  Throw in the thinly veiled
anti-Semitism, then this horrid treatment of one man is a sorry
comment on those who purport to love hockey" (TORONTO STAR,
10/2).  Roy Cummings writes, "Popular opinion aside, Bettman had
to do what he did on Friday" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/2).  In Winnipeg,
Kelly Taylor notes that Bettman is hated in Toronto:  "Out here
on the prairie ... there is some reason to believe Bettman was
not only telling the truth, but also representing the interests
of the Western Canadian franchises" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/1).
Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs:  "He's even better than we thought
he'd be" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 10/1).
     A LITTLE OF BOTH:  In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes, "Hate
him for not appreciating that of which he is a custodian, hate
him for being an aloof hockey Philistine who is messing with your
world.  He'll take it as a compliment for a job well done"
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/1).  "Admirers" say Bettman "has the
marketing savvy" of Stern.  But others feel Bettman "has
deficiencies as a solo act" (John Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL,
10/3).
     HIRED GUN?  In New York, Mark Everson speculates that
Bettman will "be around just long enough to get a CBA done, and
then he'll be gone -- just another 'sacrifice' that was part of
the game plan all along" (N.Y. POST, 10/1).
     CHELIOS BACKLASH:  Chris Chelios made a more public apology
for his comments threatening Bettman and his family.  ESPN's Karl
Ravetch: "Once the mind realized what the mouth had said, Chris
Chelios realized he had made a mistake" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
9/30).  Bob Ryan: "He's a defenseman for God's sake."  Mike
Lupica: "He plays with one helmet, and I don't think that is
necessarily enough for him" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 10/2).  In
Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes, "Talk about sullying the game's
image."  Bruins President/GM Harry Sinden saw Chelios' comments
as union-driven and called it "well-orchestrated, heinous and
sinister behavior" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/2).
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