Boston, MA, United States (4E Sports) – NHL commissioner Gary Bettman got some support recently from what might seem like an unlikely person, Hockey Hall of Famer and union pioneer Ted Lindsay.
In a story by ESPN, the 87-year-old Lindsay defended the work of commissioner Gary Bettman during the lockout and went on to say players should be more respectful in their comments despite their growing frustration.
“One thing that really has bothered me when I’m reading the paper on all of this is the way they’re talking about ‘that idiot Bettman’, or any of the other stupid adjectives they’ve used to describe him,” said Lindsay. “They and the fans and the media need to realize that Bettman is doing his job and fulfilling his responsibility to the owners, just like (NHLPA executive director) Don (Fehr) is to the players.
“The players need to respect and understand that. Don’t go bad-mouthing Bettman like that.”
Lindsay laid the groundwork for the players’ association and was blackballed in the mid-1950s because of it.
He also disagreed with the way Washington Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik has been treated after saying in an interview with a Czech media outlet that he questioned the leadership of Fehr and suggested it was time to make a deal and play.
Lindsay agreed with Hamrlik that there should be a vote taken by the players.
“He was absolutely right,” Lindsay said. “Every one of these players needs to realize the money they’ve lost, they will never get back in their lifetime. The front two lines of every team are the big money-earners and they’re going to be fine no matter what, but the third- and fourth-liners or the guys like (Hamrlik) at the end of their career, they’re going to feel it and I’m sure they are feeling it, so they should speak up.”
Lindsay called on both the owners and the players to reach an agreement and urged the players to reconnect with the fans and remember their roots.
“We love our game,” Lindsay said. “We’re all basically small-towners across Canada, across the United States and, now, across Europe as well. We want the best for our game, for the players and for the owners but most of all for the game.”