"Once we don't have the unlucky charms like PM Harper and Bettman there to jinx us and take up valuable seats for real fans ... all will be good." said vbmanitoba in a comment published at the Winnipeg Free Press.
Now, I may not be his biggest fan, but lets get one thing straight here - PM Harper is a fan of hockey. He is no stranger to the game, and regularly attends them. I'll go one further and commend him for actually watching the game. He could have spent the game sequestered in a suite, nibbling at the nachos, and talking politics in the back. He didn't. He sat down with everyone else and watched the game. He wasn't a big part of the ceremonies, but, as would be expected, his presence was noted.
Yes, it probably helps that he's the PM and can ask about (and get) tickets much more easily than you or I could. However, if he hadn't shown up, what would people say? That he only cared about Alberta and Ontario? That it showed his indifference to Manitoba? You can spin his appearance (or not) either way. I'm looking at it from a (strangely) positive light - he came out to Winnipeg for something that we, as Winnipegers, considered a hugely important day. As a city, it enhances the level of importance given when our PM is there for the event.
As for Bettman, i'm willing to bet that even if there was a seat there for him, it was likely in a suite (quite likely the TNSE owners box), and that he probably had enough going on that he didn't get to take in too much of the game. Feel free to correct me, though - maybe he had a regular seat and I haven't heard about it. I suspect, though, with the season starting, multiple sales pending (Dallas and St. Louis, in particular) and the multiple media requests he would have had to deal with, I think Gary would have been a bit too busy to kick back with a beer and watch the game.