DON’T GET ME STARTED doesn’t hide the fact that I don’t condone the practices of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. In fact, I haven’t been a fan of his since he took the job very early in the 90s. Everything he does seems to be based on what the NBA does.

Gary Bettman

Art Wander

There are two things that have my ice chips creasing the NHL. First, Bettman’s face appeared on TV announcing the possibility that there will be an expansion of the NHL, putting a team in Las Vegas. Boy that’s a shot to the crease. Let’s make no bones about it. One of the poorer things Bettman did when he took over the league was expanding into markets that haven’t really supported the teams. Arizona anyone? You see many empty seats in many arenas. He doesn’t have the television contract that the NFL, NBA, MLB have. How often have you heard or read about how many millions the NHL owners are losing.

I have always felt that the worst thing that happened to the NHL in the past quarter of a century (during Bettman’s watch) was expansion. I felt that it was proper to expand when the league had only 6 teams. But this guy opened the doors to markets that really don’t have any business being in the business of hockey. Now he wants to expand again? Spare me the thought.

Next – the schedule. Before Bettman came aboard, Buffalo had some tremendous rivalries with Toronto – Boston – and Montreal. I believe there were 8 games played against these teams – with four of them in Buffalo. Those rivalries are getting thinned out as Bettman’s expansion foray has reduced the number of games played between these rivals. NOW GET THIS.

Slightly less than 2 weeks after the season opens in October, Buffalo will host the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct 21. The next time Toronto will visit Buffalo will be March 31st 2016. That’s 5 months between games. By that late date, most everything will be determined in terms of standings.

Next – Montreal will visit Buffalo 2 days after the Toronto game – October 23rd. The next time the Canadiens come to town will be February 12 – 4 months after the first trip to our fair city.

It’s a joke – a big joke. This league will never get its act together as long as Bettman tinkers with the number of teams but, more importantly does nothing to keep good rivalries going. For Buffalo fans to wait 4 or 5 months between games against 2 heated (former) rivals is insulting to fans who pay huge dollars to watch them play.

So many times, when I was on the air, I pleaded for Gary Bettman to resign. I repeat that plea but I know the only satisfaction I’ll get is when he makes an appearance at the draft or anywhere else, when he will be roundly booed…..something that’s become a habit on Don’t Get Me Started.

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