Gary Bettman and the NHL Enjoyed A Great NHL Season
The NHL just recently capped off what was an exciting season with a great Stanley Cup Finals. The Chicago Blackhawks prevailed over the Philadelphia Flyers in six games and captured their first Stanley Cup since 1961. It was revealed after the Blackhawks clinched the title with an overtime victory that the NHL saw its best ratings for a Stanley Cup Finals contest since 1974. The fact that the two teams in the Finals have an incredible history and that they are both from major media markets really helped the TV ratings. The NHL also enjoyed a successful season with other storylines woven throughout the season, in particular, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In Vancouver, the NHL’s talent was on full display around the world as Canada faced the U.S. in the Gold Medal round, which eventually the Canadians won after the NHL’s posterboy, Sidney Crosby, scored the winning goal in the overtime period.
The future is uncertain for NHL players playing in the next Winter Olympics that is slated to be played in Surin, Russia. The NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, has vowed that he would try his best to let NHL players play in the next Olympics but that other issues have to be resolved before they can focus on that. The future of the NHL is still unknown, but with the league full of so much young talent, at least the future of the game on ice looks rather promising. Gary Bettman joined WFAN in New York with Boomer and Carton to talk about there being very few things better than having Stanley Cup Finals games decided by one goal each time, him being excited about the up-and-coming youth of the NHL, and why two games ended up being played during the same time as the NBA Finals.
On there being very few things better than having Stanley Cup Finals games decided by one goal each time:
“You talk about Philly, they had an incredible season. Think about the fact that they got to the playoffs in a shootout in game eighty-two of the regular season. They come back in historic fashion in the second round in Boston, having been done three nothing in games and then three nothing in game seven on the road and they were very resilient. They were as responsible as the Blackhawks for a great, great Stanley Cup Finals.”
On him being excited about the up-and-coming youth of the NHL:
“I don’t think we have had another time in our game where we have had so many good, young players. It is a function of how the game is being played now. It is not the size and speed and skill as opposed to clutching, grabbing, hooking and holding. I haven’t checked on this exactly but something tells me that there were more goals scored in this Stanley Cup Finals series than anytime going back to 1981, so the game is really, at least on the ice, in a very good place.”
Why two games ended up being played during the same time as the NBA Finals:
“ABC gave them the game Sunday night and NBC gave us Sunday night and we were head to head. Interestingly enough, I think the NBA was up eight or nine percent over the same game a year ago and we were up fifty percent. So I am not so sure that it negatively impacted any of us. It is possible we each would have been up more than we were, but we both did pretty well under the circumstances. I don’t have the final numbers last night yet, although I did get some preliminary numbers at about this morning. I think we had a pretty strong number. I am not going to give you the number yet but it will be pretty good territory for us and our viewers reflective of the fat that we had a very strong season.”
On Patrick Kane’s game-winning goal and there being some confusion on whether he made the shot or not and announcing a second Winter Classic game:
“Well two things, one, thanks goodness for the way that we do video replay. The system works very well whether or not we have got good goals and so there was a moment or two of confusion on the ice we were able to put it to rest quickly and satisfy everybody that it was in fact a good goal. We did announce, it was a soft announcement that we were going to do a second outdoor game, this one in Canada, I believe on February 20 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames… One is a U.S. game and the other is a Canadian…The competition committee wants to look at it again. They had approved it a year ago but they have asked to take a look at it again. So we considered a soft announcement. It is a revival of the Heritage Classic. That is a game that I am going to invite you to. I should take you to Calgary with me, Craig, and you will see what the game is like in Canada and I think you would be very impressed and excited.”