Winner: Gary Bettman
Everybody hates Gary Bettman. He doesn’t care. Or at least he doesn’t show it, but boy oh boy is he happy right about now. The referee of the NHL, Bettman has always wanted the NHL and the Stanley Cup to take precedent over everything else.
Commissioner Bettman is roundly booed every time he appears anywhere near hockey related activities and while he can talk of wanting to grow the game, he knows where his heart lies.
If the NHL players left to go to the Olympics not only would it put the season hold for two weeks but it could have a severe impact on hockey when the players returned.
Injuries have always been the biggest risk for the NHL where the Olympics are concerned and the prospect of an NHL superstar getting injured in what Bettman would likely consider an extra-credit assignment, is nauseating for the 69 year old.
Losing a player to injury, or quite possibly in this case to a five-week COVID quarantine in China, massively dilutes the spectacle Bettman is trying to host in North America. Furthermore Bettman is having to deal with some NHL arenas dropping to 50% capacity, and some back to zero attendance.
No NHL involvement in the Olympics will be welcome news for Bettman, not matter what he says publicly. Finally, a ray of light shines into his mountain top lair.