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Friday August 29 2014
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Congratulations, Gary Bettman. After all the years of criticism, work stoppages and mismanagement, you—and your league—finally get it.

NHL commissioner Bettman gets what groundbreaking NFL commish Pete Rozelle did and current leader Roger Goodell does not. “It” is about connecting. Not separating.


One example is the the wonderful HBO series “24/7,” which is slowly but surely accomplishing for the NHL what NFL Films did for the NFL. Bringing the game to the people.


Far outweighing that example, however, is the transparency with which the NHL is handling an issue that threatens the very core of both leagues: head injuries.

Sports fans in Pittsburgh are familiar with the issue, for which Steelers linebacker James Harrison has become the poster boy. While I'm not one to put any stock in the absurd “NFL Hates the Steelers” conspiracy, it's abundantly clear that the NFL is handing the issue horrendously. There is no consistency, there is no one explaining anything—to the players or the fans—and there seems to be a total lack of understanding throughout the league as to what the rules are, let alone how they are enforced.

The NFL Players Association deserves some of the blame for this after they loudly complained about the league's suspension-policy last season, yet signed off on the exact same policy during last year's collective bargaining negotiations. Basically, the players gave the thumbs-up to letting Roger Goodell do whatever he wants without any explanation. Some have said that Goodell runs his NFL the way Vladimir Lenin ran his Russia, but that guy at least had everyone on the same page. Seems to me Goodell runs it more like Vladimir Putin – not very well. And, of course, we all know what James Harrison thinks of Goodell.

But at the other end of the spectrum is the NHL and their vice president for player safety, former All-Star  Brendan Shanahan. Every time the league rules on a suspension, Shanahan explains the entire decision-making process in a well thought-out, clearly-illustrated, informative and publicly-distributed video.


While I've seen the videos in the past, the first time I truly examined one was during last month's incident involving Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was suspended for three games for his hit on Chicago forward Marcus Krüger. I disagreed with the length of the suspension. Still do. I think one game would have been a significant punishment and a sufficient deterrent. But the league's willingness to put Shanahan front and center—with a rational, logical, and transparent explanation—increased my willingness to accept it.


The NHL is reaching out to the players and to their fans, explaining why this heavy-handed enforcement is necessary and how it can be avoided. Will there be disagreements along the way? Of course. And at times, the league will likely be wrong and someone will get treated unfairly.

But players—and fans—will respect the process more. And that's the first step in changing things for the better.

Paul Chryst sat at a table in Greensboro, North Carolina, answering questions from the media. The third-year Pitt head coach was certainly anxious to wrap up the interview session and catch his plane back to Pittsburgh, but he was also at ease.
Editor's DeskFeature OnePitt Football
Greg Perry is quite familiar with Quaker Valley. He shared conferences and coached against them in his 20 years at Seton-La Salle. This time though, Perry will coach against Quaker Valley while roaming the sidelines for a different school in his opening game.
Feature TwoHigh SchoolTop Story
After a perfect regular season record, a trip to the WPIAL Quad-A Quarterfinals and an overall mark of 10-1, the McKeesport Tigers will be looking to open their 2014 season at home with a win against fellow Foothills Conference foe Connellsville.
Feature ThreeHigh SchoolTop Story
When Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis June 10, he made an immediate impact, going on a 14-game hitting streak and adding a consistent bat at the top of the lineup.
Feature FourNorth Shore Notes
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Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 USS HS GOTWHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Pirates TV Channel
Full size video and summary... COGOS Feature MatchupMisc YouTube Player 3High School TV Channel
With a brand new playoff system in place this season, it doesn't matter who finishes No. 1 at the end of the regular season -- the top four teams will meet in a two-round tournament to decide the national champion.
Custom 1NationalTop Story
A quick glimpse at the 2014 Pitt football teams reveals some major red flags. A veteran quarterback and the program's all-time leading wide receiver have departed for the NFL.
Custom 2Pitt FootballTop Story
After 45 years of one head coach and two more of another, a different figure will be pacing up and down the sidelines at Beaver Stadium this season.
Custom 3Penn StateTop Story
The last two years have not been what WVU football fans were expecting. Ever since the Mountaineers made the switch to the Big 12, their success has slowly dwindled.
Custom 4WVU