For years, the Stanley Cup final has featured an off-ice tradition that can get pretty icy: Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean interviewing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
There were times when the annual conversation was must-see TV, especially when MacLean would grill Bettman about the league's salary cap (which he considers “ridiculous” and “extremely unfair.”)
Two years ago, it was MacLean on the receiving end of fan criticism because of a topic he didn’t broach with the commissioner: a media report, fresh at the time, that two members of the Chicago Blackhawks had reported being sexually assaulted by a video coach during the 2010 playoffs.
During Game 1 of the Cup series on Saturday night, MacLean and Bettman sat down for this year’s installment, a five-minute chat that didn’t trigger quite as many fireworks as usual. They talked about the future of the Arizona Coyotes, the looming sale of the Ottawa Senators, and the possibility of NHL players returning to the Olympics.
During a recent appearance on Village Media’s Inside the Village podcast, MacLean talked about the work he puts in to prepare for his annual interview with Bettman — and why he still hates the salary cap, the issue the two men disagree on most.
"I know no one wants to hear that the players are underpaid, but nobody questions what Brad Pitt makes," MacLean said on the podcast. "Can you put the bums in the seats, and what is the next best offer for your services? That should determine what you get paid. If someone else is going to offer you double the money you should be allowed to take it, but you’re not in the NHL.”
Hosted by Scott Sexsmith and Michael Friscolanti, the Editor-in-Chief of Village Media, Inside the Village is a news and current affairs podcast that provides a weekly window into some of the best local journalism from across our chain of Ontario newsrooms. Produced by Derek Turner, the program also explores bigger-picture issues that impact people across the province.
Every episode is available on this news site /insidethevillage. If you prefer the audio version, it is available wherever you find your favourite podcasts.
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