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    There is usually another guest at the table when Gary Bettman and his wife http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.c...maxwell-jersey , Shelli, go out to dinner with other couples during the NHL playoffs.
    Friends come to accept the glow of the TV screen set up so Bettman can keep an eye on games, ready to go from enjoying a nice meal to running a multibillion-dollar business and back again. The commissioner of a storied league with 24 teams in the United States and seven in Canada doesn’t put work on hold for life or vice versa. When his 11-year-old grandson, Matthew, wanted to hang out with him in Tampa during All-Star weekend, he brought him along for meetings.
    ”They all blend together because I’m never off,” Bettman said. ”It’s all part of what I do and who I am.”
    For 25 years, Bettman has overseen the growth of the NHL from $437 million in annual revenue to nearly $5 billion, guiding the league into and out of work stoppages and expanding hockey’s reach to places that never seemed a fit for the fastest game on ice.
    The Stanley Cup Final opens Monday in Las Vegas, where Bettman had a guiding hand in the expansion process that yielded the Golden Knights and led to the most successful inaugural season in league history. When he was there in November 2016 for the unveiling of the team name, Bettman was booed by the crowd and could not have cared less.
    ”No, no, keep the booing,” he told the crowd. ”That proves you’re now an NHL city.”
    Once perhaps an unlikely leader for a game with its roots north of the border, the 65-year-old lawyer from Queens who got his start in the NBA has become one of the most powerful and long-lasting influences in professional sports. More than two decades into the job, Bettman still feels energized by the thrill of work – and the sugar supplied by dark chocolate Milky Way candy bars doesn’t hurt.
    He isn’t going anywhere Edwin Diaz Seattle Mariners Jersey , either.
    ”I think he’s the best that we could do,” said Jeremy Jacobs, the Boston Bruins owner and board of governors chairman. ”I mean, there are things that might irritate you from time to time about him. But you know where his heart and soul is, he’s always interested in the game, the improvement of the game.”
    It hasn’t always been pretty. Bettman has had a role in three lockouts, the relocation of five franchises, has repeatedly denied any link between head injuries and the degenerative brain disease CTE, and recently refused to allow NHL players to go to the Olympics after doing so five times. Confident in his decisions and willing to accept the ramifications to his reputation and legacy, Bettman has earned respect – sometimes begrudged – and made some enemies while serving longer than the other three major sports commissioners combined.
    ”He’s a force, so he’s not going to roll over because somebody thinks it’s a good idea,” said John Collins, a former NHL chief operating officer. ”He’s very principled and he sticks up for his principles. And those principles could be business principles or they could be just kind of moral principles and he’ll fight for that. That’s the way he lives his life, and that’s the way he runs the league.”
    Part of Bettman’s work involves keeping 31 ownership groups and markets on the same page. Former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Richard Peddie said Bettman bringing almost every owner into the league has its benefits.
    ”They’re all there because Gary ultimately blessed them, so I think they always have some kind of IOUs,” Peddie said. ”I don’t mean that in a disingenuous or unfair way. But he was the gatekeeper Ben Gamel Seattle Mariners Jersey , so he has that going for him.”
    Bettman, who was NBA general counsel under then-Commissioner David Stern and a senior vice president before starting at the NHL on Feb. 1, 1993, orchestrates things in such a way that there’s rarely public dissent. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has watched how Bettman builds a united front among owners.
    ”He’ll pre-brief and sell some of the key owners, if you will, and he backchannels and he’ll literally call and brief every owner personally on a subject so that when you come to the meeting, you’re briefed, you’ve asked your questions,” Leonsis said. ”Because he puts in the work and he has the data and his competence is not questioned in any way and he does have the data, he’s able to land the planes, if you will, with efficiency.”
    Bettman acknowledges some events during his tenure were not of his making. To this day, he insists moving the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado and the original Winnipeg Jets to Arizona had to be done, and that the 2004-05 lockout that wiped out an entire season was necessary to ensure the long-term health of the league.
    ”There are things I wish might not have happened,” Bettman said. ”Work stoppages are a good example. The fact is I knew what we needed, and we had to get it. And if it took a long time to ultimately convince the Players’ Association that this was in everybody’s best interest Geron Christian Color Rush Jersey , I wish it could’ve happened sooner, but it didn’t.”
    There are some in hockey who can’t forgive Bettman for the lockouts, most recently one in 2012-13. There are others like Peddie who’d rather consider them part of an entire body of work that includes overseeing expansion into the Sun Belt.
    ”It’s putting hockey where it hasn’t traditionally been,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. ”That’s proven successful. … I think his legacy of having franchises there and putting hockey in nontr Javier Baez put on a show for the Chicago Cubs and appeared to nail his audition for a high-profile role later this summer.
    Baez hit two home runs, including a grand slam, Jon Lester won his sixth consecutive start and the Cubs ended a five-game losing streak with a 9-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Baez homered in consecutive innings, giving him 16 on the season, and finished with four hits. He hit a solo shot off Dodgers starter Ross Stripling in the fifth inning and his bases-loaded shot in the sixth into the Dodgers’ bullpen came against reliever Edward Paredes.
    And he did all of his damage in front of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who just happens to be the National League’s manager in the All-Star Game next month.
    ”I have been saying for a couple of years, the moment he stops swinging at sliders in the dirt, he becomes Manny Ramirez . and he’s getting closer,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Baez. ”And I think he is a better defender than Manny was . and baserunner. And Manny, I still love you.”
    Baez said he was inspired to play at Dodger Stadium, but not necessarily because Roberts was watching him from the top step.
    ”I love it here,” Baez said. ”The (Dodgers) fans are pretty close to ours. I like playing here and I like the energy they have for their team. This is a team we will see for a long time, hopefully in the playoffs http://www.bearsauthorizedshops.com/...n-smith-jersey , and it is always going to be a good competition.”
    Stripling gave up just one run over five innings before the Cubs broke open the game with six runs off the bullpen. Yimi Garcia (1-2) gave up three of them. The Dodgers lost for just the sixth time in 22 games in June.
    ”I think they’re a really good lineup,” Stripling said. ”Obviously Lester on the mound makes them good, too. I think they’re a good benchmark for us to see how we’re playing.”
    It was Baez’s fourth multi-homer game and his second this season. His grand slam was the fourth of his career.
    Lester (10-2) gave up two runs on four hits over five innings. It was his shortest outing by innings since April 11, when he also went five against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and his 82 pitches were his fewest since throwing 71 on opening day in Miami.
    ”Obviously any time you’re taken out of a game you’re not happy, (but) I respect the decision,” Lester said. ”(Maddon’s) my manager and I always stand behind him. But I’m a competitor and I want to pitch innings.”
    Lester has a 1.73 ERA over his last 11 starts, going back to April 30, and hasn’t lost since May 23. He is tied with Washington’s Max Scherzer for the NL lead in wins.
    Cody Bellinger had two of the Dodgers’ four hits off Lester and now has 19 hits in his past 18 games, including seven of his 15 home runs.
    The Dodgers have a major league-leading 48 home runs in June but did not hit one Tuesday.
    The Cubs sent nine batters to the plate in their big sixth inning. Adison Russell and Ben Zobrist hit RBI singles in the frame to go along with Baez’s grand slam. Willson Contreras added an RBI single in the eighth inning and Albert Almora had an RBI single in the ninth.
    The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez and Justin Turner each stole third base uncontested in the eighth inning with the Cubs’ infield overloaded on the right side in an extreme defensive shift. Hernandez and Turner both ended up scoring in the inning.
    CHILI SAUCE
    Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis held a short meeting Tuesday for the hitters and it turned into a nine-run, 15-hit night for a club starved for offense.
    ”I want to believe (the meeting) had something to do with it,” Maddon said. ”(Opposite-field) hits by Almora and Contreras I loved. And of course, Javy had a nice day. I’m still looking forward to, as we get more mature in the batter’s box, that we chase less. I love homers like everybody else does, but there are so many other ways to score.”
    ROUGH DAY FOR PUIG

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