NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met with the media before Game 1 of the New Jersey Devils/Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Final at Prudential Center, giving a canned speech before facing question time on subjects ranging from the Phoenix Coyotes, the Dept. of Player Safety and the next CBA negotiation.
Here are parts one and two of that chat:
And Part Two:
Among the highlights:
• On the Phoenix Coyotes' ownership plight, Bettman said Greg Jamison continues to "conclude a set of documents" with Glendale on the management of the Jobing.com Arena and then hopes to get the rest of his group's equity together to complete the sale. The deal with Glendale — which Bettman said could arrive in "weeks" — is necessary to complete the equity.
Bettman said there's no "Plan B" for the Coyotes at this time, whether it's the NHL owning the team for another season or relocation. "It's not anything we're focused on right now."
• On the CBA negotiations, Bettman scoffed at the speculation that there will be a work stoppage next season because the two sides have yet to hold substantive talks. "If someone is suggesting this, it's either because there's something in the water or people still have the NBA or NFL on the brain or they're just looking for news on a slow day."
•On Brendan Shanahan and the Dept. of Player Safety, Bettman said their actions are helping to change player behavior, and that concussions had a "modest decline" for the first time in three years. He did say the Shanaban videos, while educational, have also created a culture where suspensions are "more of an event than we would like."
• On the Raffi Torres appeal, Bettman said the appeal has been heard and that Bettman is in the process of writing his opinion when his schedule clears. Bettman also said he has no issue with the appeals process, to the surprise of no one, considering he is the appeals process.
• On the New Jersey Devils ownership situation, Bettman said Jeff Vanderbeek is working on refinancing the debt on the club and "an equity raise," and appears confident he can "pull this off in the next few weeks."
• On the Los Angeles Kings, Bettman denied a NY Post report that they're for sale.
• On the NHL in the Winter Olympics, he said it's not a negotiating chip for the next CBA and it's "a joint issue" for the NHL and the NHLPA.
• On the Stanley Cup Final format, Bettman said the GMs like the current 2-2-1-1-1 format rather than 2-3-2 and that there's been no desire to switch it up.