Bettman: “Work stoppages aren’t good for any of us”

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With the NHL season in full swing and the NBA lockout creating a void for sports fans, there are plenty of people who think the NHL should see a bump in ratings and revenue. The common sentiment is that there’s an opportunity for NHL teams (and the league as a whole) to convert some basketball fans and show them what they’re missing with hockey.

Today, commissioner Gary Bettman talked to Helene Elliott of the LA Times about the NBA lockout and the “opportunity” it presents for the NHL. “Work stoppages aren’t good for any of us,” Bettman told Elliott. “And I get asked a lot about how we’re ‘taking advantage of an opportunity.’ The truth is, you can’t make an elaborate plan when you never know how long a work stoppage is going to last.”

For more, you should really read Elliott’s entire article that appeared on LATimes.com. There’s some great stuff about the Southern California teams marketing decisions while the Lakers and Clippers sit on the sidelines. If you read one thing tonight (well, aside Pro Hockey Talk), this is it.

It’s a question that deserves attention: what should the league do with this incredibly opportunity. For the next few months, the league has weekdays all to themselves on around the sports landscape. While the NFL and college football will continue to get the majority of eyeballs on the weekends, the void left by the NBA lockout leaves the NHL with an extraordinary opening. But how can they cash in?

It’s hard to formulate a long-term plan since the NBA lockout could end any day, right?

Let’s throw this out to the readers. What do you think the league (and teams) should do while the NBA owners lockout their players? Should teams do things differently in order to capture the average sports fan or should they continue with business as usual at let the sport sell itself? After all, it’s a pretty good one.

Let us know what you think in the comments. It seems like everyone has an opinion on this one—we want to hear what you have!