NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was a former Stern protege, so it makes sense that he’d offer some words of tribute. It also makes sense that the broadcast world of hockey would share that statement, which is what Fox Sports Sun host Paul Kennedy attempted during the postgame coverage of the Lightning’s 2-1 victory over the Canadiens last night.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go according to plan.
Paul Kennedy apparently thinks Gary Bettman has passed away. Opens with it, then doubles down at the end. ? pic.twitter.com/LtYr3KymqL
— Bolts Jolts (@BoltsJolts) January 3, 2020
So, a few things. Obviously Stern’s death itself is something completely separate from any laughs that clip generates. Kennedy pretty clearly had a teleprompter issue or some other kind of mishap; based on the rest of the reading, he clearly doesn’t think Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, has died. It’s just that both bookends feature Kennedy saying Bettman’s name instead of Stern’s.
That’s unfortunate, and kind of understandable, too.
It is, however, hard not to laugh when after the confusion throughout, the final in memoriam image of Stern fills the screen, accompanied by Kennedy’s voice saying: “Gary Bettman leaves us at 77.”