SUN Hockey Pool

Here's to you, Gary Bettman (wince!)

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:47 PM ET

It's about time.

About time for me to do something I thought I'd never do. Not in a million years.

Give kudos to Gary Bettman (wince!).

Often referred to in these pages as a cross between Lord Voldemort, Darth Sidius and Viktor Tikhonov, the diminutive NHL commissioner finally did something that could well keep him out of the villains' hall of fame.

Little Man Gary came up big.

He promised a salary cap and he delivered. He promised a level playing field for Canadian and small market American teams and he delivered. He used time during the lockout wisely, spearheading rule changes which were destined to make the NHL game stronger.

After a year away from the world, the NHL has been reborn and is likely to be better than ever. The games are more entertaining, scoring is likely to increase and, best of all, an entire generation of clutchers and grabbers are about to find themselves a new style of play or else find themselves out of work.

This new NHL may even eventually include Winnipeg again, if some analysts are to be believed.

So while we can still blame Bossman Bettman for taking the league to the abyss, for putting it into such a grave financial predicament that it needed to take a year off to restructure, for allowing goaltending equipment and coaching techniques to ruin the game and for not enforcing rules on the ice, we have to give him credit for getting it right.

Good job Gary (wince!).

It's about time.

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