Gary Bettman knew just what to say.
He should have, of course, this being his third time announcing the end of an NHL lockout. The question is whether his words will ring true for years to come or serve as fodder against him in another eight or 10 years.
At the same Times Square hotel where talks with the NHL broke down a month ago over barely perceptible differences from what became the final CBA, the commissioner of the NHL issued a wide-ranging apology for the length of the lockout, and pledged action.
"I'm sorry," Bettman said. "I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months, but I owe you an apology nevertheless.