A couple of weeks ago I was sent an email from the publisher of Jonathan Gatehouse's new book, "Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever", who offered me a couple of copies of the book. One to read and review, one to give away in a contest for the site.
The book is not a biographical piece, although it does go into some detail on Bettman's past. It is equal parts an examination of the business of the NHL over the last 30-40 years and a tale of hockey history.
The book is not numbers heavy, although it does have some hard numbers to support the text. It's a colloquially written book that is easy for the layman to understand, while giving you a wealth of information you've likely never seen before.
There are parts of the book that are understated as well, for example the long-lasting effect that Alan Eagleson has had on the NHLPA. Is it possible that his corruption has poisoned the well for the NHLPA and NHL to ever get along? Not to absolve the owners who colluded with Eagleson, but those misdeeds have served to create an ingrained hostility between the union and ownership that may not be necessary, even with ongoing labour battles.
Instigator is not a hit piece. There are clear reasons outlined throughout in why Bettman is not solely an evil figure. Under him the NHL has experienced unprecedented growth in spite of two long lockouts (and a third ongoing), and the game itself has improved under his tenure, especially over the course of the previously expired CBA.
I would go into more detail about how interesting the book is, but I don't want to give any more away. Just know that this book is essential if you want to know the thought process of the long time NHL commissioner. It's essential to understanding why there have been 3 lockouts in 17 years.
Gatehouse goes to great lengths to ask the reader, has Gary Bettman been a positive impact on the NHL? If you'd like to win a copy of this book, all you have to enter a draw is comment right here. You can leave a well reasoned argument, you can rant, or you can just say yes or no. Every commenter that votes will be entered to win.