I know I would be, though the way he's panned out, I'd be looking for a silver watch.
If the NHL loses its battle with Jim Balsille and a franchise moves to Hamilton, Bettman's credibility dies and a new commissioner would be needed.
If the NHL moves in this direction, I humbly offer a few suggested candidates who should be approached. Preferably before the Entry Draft.
- Paul Beeston: Beeston led the Toronto Blue Jays from Day 1, led them well as CEO and worked for Major League Baseball in its front office at a senior level. No one can question his experience and he would be an excellent choice. The one hiccup? Would he want the job? The NHL may need him more than he needs the NHL.
- Tom Wright: He's certainly got experience trying to herd feral cats, as witnessed by his work as CFL commissioner. He can be credited with increasing the television contracts for the league and helped the league grow financially. The cons? He doesn't have the profile the NHL may need from its commissioner to gain respect among American corporate and television leaders.
- Ken Dryden: A Hall of Famer, author, scholar, lawyer and now politician, Dryden also has the added credibility of leading an Original Six franchise. Perhaps he's too cerebral for the owners' tastes, but he would be a solid choice and knows both sides of the equation.
- Frank McKenna: Sure he took a pass on the Liberal leadership, but after leading New Brunswick to fairly solid fiscal ground as premier, he's proven he could find a way out of the NHL's financial abyss. Since retiring from politics, he's also built a solid career in business.
- Bob Nicholson: Hockey Canada's head honcho has credibility, knows how to work a board room, has negotiated TV deals and has ably led a key national organization dedicated to building the sport.
Honourable mentions: former Canadian deputy prime minister John Manley and NHL GMs Brian Burke and Lou Lamoriello.
Feel free to add to this list with a comment. Other candidates could be out there.