Detroit Red Wings executive Jim Devellano believes that commissioner Gary Bettman gets a bad rap from hockey fans.
"I don't hear people saying bad things about (owners) Ed Snider in Philadelphia, or Mike Ilitch in Detroit," Devellano told Island Sport News in Victoria, B.C.
"It is always people jumping on Bettman."
Devellano, the Wings senior vice-president and alternate governor, stressed that Bettman is merely carrying out the owners' demands, noting that they voted 30-0 in favour of a lockout.
"A lot of folks truly believe (Bettman) is the driving force behind all the decisions on how owners proceed," Devellano said. "Some of this is true, but I can tell you he is directed by 30 separate business owners who all give him advice and he has to take all of this and come back to all of them with what makes the most sense as a group. Not an easy thing to do, but he does it and does it well."
Publicly, Bettman seems to take the criticism in stride, but Devellano said the commissioner is hurt by it.
"It does bother him, he has said as much to me many times," Devellano said. "He has said he wished he wasn't booed wherever he goes, or that every time he reads the papers he is slammed. It does bother him greatly. However he knows what his job is and he does it well."
EUROPE ATTRACTS SEVEN MORE
Seven more NHLers opted Friday to become, ahem, replacement players in Europe.
That brought to 61 the total number of NHLers who have scattered to find new jobs during the six days since the league locked out the players in a labour dispute.
Adler Mannheim of the German Hockey League signed centre Marcel Goc of the Florida Panthers and defenceman Dennis Seidenberg of the Boston Bruins, the website thefourthperiod.com reported.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets joined SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, while Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis and Minnesota Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon jumped to the SCL Tigers in Switzerland.
Czech Republic natives Rotislav Klesla of the Phoenix Coyotes and Tomas Kaberle of the Montreal Canadiens headed home to play for HC Ocelari Trinec and HC Kladno respectively. Both are defencemen.
CITY TAKES DOUBLE WHAMMY
Traverse City, Mich., has been hit hard by the NHL lockout.
The city's Centre Ice Arena was scheduled to be host of an NHL prospects tournament Sept. 15-19, followed closely by the Detroit Red Wings training camp.
The first event cancelled and training camp is in limbo because of the NHL labour dispute.
"We'll get through it," Centre Ice executive director Terry Marchand told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. "