Video Classic: Gary Bettman's TV debut as NHL commissioner

This is simply one of the most fascinating video artifacts we've ever viewed on YouTube: Gary Bettman making his television debut as NHL commissioner, interviewed by the great Marv Albert on NBC during the 1992-93 All-Star Game in Montreal. It plays like an eerie prequel to the 16 years that followed.

Let's get to the most important issue first: The celebrity Gary Bettman most resembled back in 1993:

The choices are, from the left, Kevin Spacey in "The Ref"; an older Dirk "Starbuck/Face from The A-Team" Benedict; and Stanley Tucci in "Big Night."

As for the interview, it was interesting to hear his initial thoughts on issues trying to make hockey a national, rather than a regional, sport; and his take on the fighting issue ("I think we need to put the issue to rest once and for all."). Marv's indignant question about changing the conference names warmed our traditionalist hearts as much as Bettman's answer -- "It's worth thinking about" -- and knowing grin chilled them.

Perhaps the most interesting answer, on what his most difficult task in taking the job was:

"We need a collective bargaining agreement real quick with our players. We have one more season -- this season -- left on it and my goal is to get a new one as quickly and as quietly and cooperatively as I can with the players."

Yeah, about that.

Kudos to VintageDetroit, which earlier posted some classic Norris Division playoff clips from "Hockey Night in Canada." We're quite jealous of your VHS collection.

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