I’ve been waiting for the league to weigh in on the Brian Buke story that has Anaheim’s GM apparently on his way to Toronto this summer or next, even though he has a binding contract with another club in the league. This is a very important point, because it speaks to the very credibility of the National Hockey League. This isn’t some split-second decision that allows Wayne Gretzky to do something illegal that isn’t called, this is the league’s business in the light of day and it smells bad.
Bettman did not quote the Toronto situation directly but did give his opinion about what might happen should one team tamper with another’s management team. Quoting Bettman: “People who sign contracts can be held to them by the other party to the contract, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If there’s tampering going on, ultimately there are no secrets in this world. We will get to the bottom of it. And I’m no fan of tampering. And when it happens, it gets punished severely. A team that meddles with an individual under contract could face heavy fines and the loss of draft picks. And an individual who talks to a team while he’s still under contract would face fines and a possible suspension.”
I’m surprised it needed to be said, but happy about it all the same.