On Tuesday, facing a third consecutive quarter loss, an SEC probe and an 18-month drop in stock price from $50 to $8.72, Krispy Kreme fired CEO Scott Livengood and replaced him with Stephen Cooper, known in the trade as a turnaround specialist whose latest endeavor concerns a company that recently hit a small bump in the road. Some of you may be familiar with Enron.
“Isn’t that what the league should be doing; hiring a ‘turnaround specialist?’ ” one marquee NHL player rhetorically asked Slap Shots late in the week. “I’m not suggesting that we would take a hard cap, but if the league fired Gary [Bettman] and brought in someone with a background of success in business who could present us a plan on how the league intends to turn around and grow revenues, we’d certainly listen.
“People talk about the problem being Gary and Bob [Goodenow]. It’s not Bob. It’s Gary. He doesn’t have the respect of the players in this league. You should hear how players talk to each other about him. It isn’t right to have so little respect for your commissioner, but that’s the situation we’re in. Look at what’s happened to the game with him in charge. Look where we are. There’s no reason to have any faith that the league will succeed under his vision.
“What vision? All we hear about Gary’s vision can be summed up in two words: ‘hard cap.’ I know that personal attacks aren’t the answer, but I’m telling you, as a group we would be much more receptive to listening to the league if we had some faith in the commissioner and the direction he wanted to lead us.”
In other words, perhaps it’s time for the league to have another donut.