Gary Bettman exposed when it comes to gambling in the NHL
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Gary Bettman exposed when it comes to gambling in the NHL

Are we really surprised?



NHL insiders have been reporting from the league's Board of Governor's meetings this week in Seattle and among the topics discussed has been the league's participation, or lack thereof, in the Olympic games.

The NHL hasn't been involved in the Winter Olympics since 2014 and today NHL commissioner Gary Bettman all but confirmed that the league won't be at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. At least, that's the way I interpret Bettman's words. He's made it clear for nearly a decade now that he's not interested in the Olympics, despite the players' overwhelming support for it. It sounds like Bettman is latching onto the IOC's construction schedule as a potential way to weasel out of things.

From Bettman, courtesy of NHL insider Frank Seravalli:

"I don't think they've actually begun construction on it, which is a matter of some concern. We know it's important to the players to go and we want to make it happen. We're going to be as flexible as we can, but at some point, we've got to do a schedule for that season."

"You know, normally when you build a building for the Olympics for a hockey tournament, it's done a year in advance, it's done a year in advance and you have time to have events and test it and build the ice," Bettman said.

"They're projecting that it won’t be done until the fourth quarter of '25, which is like six or eight weeks before the Olympics - if they're on time. And I think they're already late. But that’s nothing we can control."

- Gary Bettman

Ya... they're not going. I'm calling it right now. Bettman and his NHL cronies will do whatever they have to do and use whatever excuses they can to avoid having to go to the Olympics.

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman sees things differently though. From Friedman's latest 32 Thoughts column for Sportsnet:

I’m not as concerned about the construction delay for the 2026 Olympic ice hockey venue — yet — because I’ve seen this movie before. Before the 2004 Athens Summer Games, there were rumours the facilities would not be completed. Same with Sochi in 2014 and Rio in 2016. The NHL/NHLPA complained on a site visit about lack of work being done on the player residences for Sochi, only to see busloads of workers arriving to finish the job.

We’ll see if there’s any reason to change my opinion, but, behind closed doors, Bettman reiterated the players’ position on the Olympics — it is very important to them — and indicated the fans feel just as strongly. A few of the governors who left the meeting were chuckling about the construction issue, but didn’t think it was catastrophic. As deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, “I can’t say I’m pessimistic at all.”

- Elliotte Friedman

I dunno...

I hope Elliotte's right, but like he says we've seen this movie before.

With Bettman and the NHL trending online, Sports Business Insider Darren Rovell took the opportunity to expose the commissioner for his hypocritical take on sports gambling. Less than a decade ago Bettman was at the forefront of protests AGAINST gambling in the NHL, now the NHL is a wasteland of gambling advertisements and partnerships. You can't even watch a game without being bombarded by companies like MGM Grand and FanDuel.

More from Rovell:

Surprise... surprise... Mr. Bettman and the NHL bowing down to the almighty dollar. 

In other news from Mr. Bettman and the NHL brass, the commissioner was asked earlier this week for his thoughts on how things have played out between Corey Perry and the Chicago Blackhawks.

It's been a week since veteran Perry released a statement following his contract termination from the Blackhawks and denied rumors that he had a relationship with Melanie Bedard, mother of former teammate Connor Bedard.

Read below for Perry's full statement:

"I would like to sincerely apologize to the entire Chicago Blackhawks organization, including ownership, management, coaches, trainers, employees, and my teammates. I would also like to apologize to my fans, and my family. I am embarrassed and I have let you all down."

"As a result of my actions, there has been speculation and rumors. I am sickened by the impact this has had on others, and I want to make it clear that in no way did this situation involve any of my teammates or their families. Most importantly, I want to directly apologize to those who have been negatively affected and I am sorry for the additional impact to others it has created. My behavior was inappropriate and wrong."

"I have started working with experts in the mental health and substance abuse fields to discuss my struggles with alcohol and I will take whatever steps necessary to ensure this never happens again. I hope to regain the trust and respect of everyone who has believed in my throughout my career."

"Once again, I am deeply sorry."

- Corey Perry

Since then, it's been reported and confirmed that Perry was dismissed from the team for inappropriate and unacceptable conduct, fueled by alcohol consumption. So, in other words, Perry got drunk and then did or said something stupid while in the presence of the team's employees and/or corporate partners. 

From NHL insider Frank Seravalli last week:

"According to sources, an alcohol-fueled incident involving Perry was alleged to have occurred during an event that included corporate partners and team employees in attendance."

- Frank Seravalli

It's one thing to get drunk and be an ass, it's quite another to do it at work and it looks like that's exactly what happened in this case.

So... what's next?

Perry didn't commit any crimes. No one was killed as a result of his actions and he has promised to improve himself through rehabilitation.

So... I ask again... what's next?

Does Corey Perry have a future in the NHL?

Today NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was asked after the entire situation and whether or not Perry would have to seek permission from Bettman before signing a new contract?

From NHL insiders Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston:

Personally, I'm not sure why Perry would ever need Bettman's permission, but Gary seems to have his hands in everything that the NHL does. Remember that former Blackhawks executives Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman still haven't been granted permission from Bettman to return to the league following the Brad Aldrich scandal in 2021.

Source: Darren Rovell