Puck Daddy- After the NHL’s general managers meetings, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about recent comments from NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller, who noted that there is a link between football and CTE, the degenerative brain disease associated with concussions.
Bettman sidestepped the question to a degree, but tried to point out that hockey and football are different sports.
“I don’t think it’s even necessary or appropriate for me to comment on what the NFL either says or does,” Bettman said. “Secondly I think it’s fairly clear that playing hockey isn’t the same as playing football and as we’ve said all along we’re not going to get into a public debate on this.”
Whoa, that's deep. One of those answers that doesn't really feel like an answer at all, but in actuality is the only real answer. It might not be a walk in the park being the Commissioner of the NHL, but at least you can pretty much respond to every single difficult question the same exact way. Why isn't hockey more popular? It's not football. Why isn't hockey more profitable? It's not football. Why isn't hockey more high scoring? It's not football. Why aren't we discussing the blatantly obvious correlation between concussions and CTE in hockey? It's not football. There it is! I knew he would find an advantageous way to use it! I'm actually happy for the guy. It kind of reminds me of when I was in school and would know one concept really well and try to use to answer every open ended question. No better feeling than seeing the one question that it actually does relate to. If there's going to be one subject that Gary Bettman can easily deflect questions on then it might as well be the most damaging subject to his brand.
The NHL is basically a C-list celebrity. It's not going to get into ALL the high profile parties, but it also can go out to eat every now and again without getting badgered by fans and paparazzi alike. The NHL is sitting in the dark corner of the restaurant with it's player safety issues slowly sipping some wine while the NFL and it's player safety issues are battling 45 camera men just to get in through the front door. Hockey might be jeopardizing the long term health of it's athletes, but at least half of it's former athletes aren't brain dead before they get their AARP card. That's an important lesson to learn in life. Always have someone that's in a worse position than you are to compare yourself to. The NHL might not be anywhere close to pulling in the amount of money that the NFL is, but no one is casting Will Smith with an unspeakably bad accent in a movie about head injuries in hockey.