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SB Nation Reacts: People like Bettman now? WTF?

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Fans appreciate his handling of the NHL’s Return to Play

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Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NHL. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Blue Jackets fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

As if 2020 wasn’t weird enough, the one-impossible has now happened – hockey fans like Gary Bettman.

In the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, fans were asked if they were confident in NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Despite being booed for doing just about anything, fans actually gave Bettman a literal vote of confidence. More than 50 percent of fans trust the commissioner.

Taking things even further, fans responded that they would rather have Bettman than any other commissioner among the four major leagues.

Fans were asked if Bettman was a better commissioner than his three counter parts – NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. In each instance, NHL fans selected Bettman.

The questions come as all four commissioners deal with how their sport will return from COVID-19. The NHL, NBA and MLB are all expected to return in late July while the NFL is on roughly its same schedule.

Personally, I think NHL fans are being a bit too generous here. I do think Bettman has handled the shutdown better than expected - but only because his record has resulted in the bar being set so low. The advantage Bettman has over Manfred is that I think Bettman has some appreciation for his sport. Manfred has little understanding of what fans like about baseball. Silver and Goodell have had their missteps but each has overseen continued growth and revenue for their leagues.

What do you think? Has Bettman actually improved as commissioner?

To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here. This week’s question is about the best rivalries in the NHL.