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Video: Bob Costas grills Gary Bettman

Mar 1, 2012, 9:16 PM EDT

“Costas Tonight” is in just its second week of existence, but it looks like the interview show should join “Real Sports” and “Pardon the Interruption” as must-see TV. (No word on whether or not Buzz Bissinger will yell at PHT’s intrepid team of bloggers on future episodes, though.)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was one of Bob Costas’ guests during Thursday’s episode, which is airing as we speak and also at 11 pm ET and 2 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. If you can’t pull yourself away from hockey action to check it out, enjoy some of the highlights of Bettman’s interview in the video below.

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  1. tru2joelu4eva - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    i’ve been watching hockey since i was a little kid (i’m 23) and i am all for the banning of fighting in the nhl. if you think about it, it’s kind of barbaric that it even exists. some people, players included, use the lame excuse that it will make the game “dirtier” and that there will be more cheapshots. i say, tough s***. all that the removal of fighting in the nhl means is that players will have to exercise self control!!! just like every other person in every other situation in the civilized world………

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      How is it barbaric? I don’t see how you can describe a fight between two willing combatants like that.

      • tru2joelu4eva - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        i consider it barbaric because in my opinion it serves no real purpose. players say that it’s used as a way to keep the game and other players in control, which again in my opinion, it does not do in the least. it’s cheap entertainment at the expense of the well being of the players and game.

    • tru2joelu4eva - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      also, isn’t it more than a little naive to think that fighting actually controls anything? look at what players like todd bertuzzi, aaron rome, and even eric nystrom (a very dirty hit, just in my opinion) are capable of. these kinds of occurrences are becoming commonplace in the nhl, and no one seems to be very afraid of having to fight someone after the fact….

      • velocirapist - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        You clearly haven’t been watching hockey very long if you’re lumping Rome and Nystrom in with Bertuzzi. Both of those guys made questionable hits that we’re only an issue because of split-second timing. Neither of those hits seemed malicious to me, and the Rome one in particular was unfortunate because he made an (incorrect) snap decision and Horton was looking the other way.

        I’m an idiot and even I can tell you’re misinformed.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:02 PM

        First of all, “I’m an idiot and even I can tell you’re misinformed,” best thing I’ve seen on here in a while.

        Second, if you say it serves no real purpose then you obviously haven’t absorbed much about the culture of the game in all those years you’ve been watching hockey. There is no shortage of players who say fighting needs to stay. Are you implying you know more about what does and doesn’t have a purpose in hockey than the vast majority of NHL players?

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    to me, a cheapshot is a cheapshot, regardless of whether or not it is planned or comes from a split-second decision (which imo is equally alarming becuase it is more instinctual). all i’m saying is that a lot of advocates for fighting seem to say that it helps “keep the game in line”, which i honestly don’t believe it does.

  3. scottybcboy - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Fantastic clip and interview. I have never been so impressed with Bettman, and it pains me to say so. The attack on fighting as linked to concussions is so misguided. Some players will be concussed due to fights but the majority of concussions are a result of headshots…..suspend the players who deliver hits to the head! Sestito on Horton, Nystrom on Letang, while not ‘intentional’ must be dealt with in a manner that deters other players from such reckless acts. These were not good hits gone wrong, they were attempts to exploit within the letter of the law. Come on Shanny, Campbell, and Bettman (not to mention Jacobs, Snider, and Aquilini) do something before we have to surrender the good old fashioned Iginla vs Lecavalier style fights for the sake of the US media.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      I’m not looking forward to a week of hearing how Nystrom should have been suspended.

      • scottybcboy - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:08 PM

        You did read my ‘not intentional’. I’m not saying he should have been, necessarily, in todays climate….lets change the climate so that his hit would be universally frowned upon rather than attacking fighting.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:14 PM

        That’s the part that troubles me the most. You want to see players like Nystrom “dealt with” regardless of the circumstances or intent. You want to see a guy suspended for throwing a legal hit to the chest of an opponent just because of some incidental contact to the head (which happens on a lot of legal hits) that resulted in a concussion. I don’t want to see that. Most hockey fans don’t want to see that.

      • scottybcboy - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:25 PM

        Dude, my argument was that I think those hits are a much larger danger than a couple good ol’ boys throwin’ down in the heat of battle. Before the US powers that be mess with the game I’d rather they deal with the real issue….headshots.
        Mojo: I’m a Bruins fan and oldschool, I want body checking, I want hard nosed hockey, I don’t want fighting banned.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:31 PM

        Headshots are an issue but I think suspending every player who concusses another or makes incidental contact to their head is the wrong thing to do. It’s a contact sport, injuries can and will occur on clean checks. The only way to totally eliminate head injuries is to totally eliminate checking, and obviously neither of us wants that.

      • scottybcboy - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        There is a difference between a clean, injury causing hit ( Neil on Boychuk) and a reckless hit (Nystrom on Letang) if you can’t see that then the hockey world has a much larger issue on it’s hands than I thought.

  4. tru2joelu4eva - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    i don’t think that just because something is part of a culture or tradition means that it should be tolerated without any other reason. as costas said in the interview, there is sufficient scientific evidence against fighting for minor league teams to ban it. i openly admit i don’t know any specifics of it, but clearly there must be something to it, considering how much tradition is in fighting in hockey. i know a lot of people will disagree with me, but i enjoy hockey plenty without the fighting. i think that it’s 2012 and the nhl needs to, well, “grow up”…

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:28 PM

      The evidence is hardly sufficient. While some enforcers have been posthumously diagnosed with CTE, there is no indication that it is a widespread issue. There’s also no way of knowing how much fighting contributed to their condition given they were playing a contact sport for so many years. Players who would not have been considered enforcers have also been diagnosed with CTE.

  5. itsallniceonice - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Damn. I hope that you’re ashamed to be apart of NBC PHT to have even shared with us this uninformed biased moron conducting a hockey interview.

  6. blomfeld - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:31 PM


    Like many of you, I’ve also been physically “repulsed” by Bettman and his antics since the very beginning … and yet today, a part of me almost empathizes with the fool ? We know what he’s trying to do and we do have to give the man credit, as he sure has some chutzpah. Nonetheless, his dream is completely misguided and doomed to utter failure in the end .. just like the child who earnestly builds sand castles on the beach, before a fast-approaching tide …

  7. Paul Busch - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    I’ve posted on my blog – – the many reasons why enforcers need to be replaced by skilled players and the negative impact that fights have on the game. So I get a lot of “fan mail” and comments from the pro-fighting crowd. The most popular argument they offer is the whole accountability thing, that enforcers keep cheap shots to a minimum and ensure that players play with respect.

    As long as fighting has been in the league there has been stick swinging, spearing, slashing, slew foots and finishing your check with an elbow. There has never been a period in the league’s history when those infractions were suddenly controlled by fighters, even today. And how exactly does this policing work when the majority of fights are between approx 30 players? It’s a myth and based on a culture built by officials in Canadian junior hockey and NHL executives. My blog has statistics from the past 12 NHL seasons that show when fighting is reduced, non-fighting penalties are also reduced.

    Real hockey fans, those that love the game but not the fights, need to be more vocal to counter the pro-fighting crowd. As long as the NHL believes that the goons help sell the game in the U.S. market, they won’t realize that they are turning off a whole new audience that thinks it’s something closer to wrestling.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 2, 2012 at 7:52 AM

      When you say “the pro-fighting crowd” you are talking about NHL players, right?

  8. patg1041 - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    I have only recently started watching hockey, and I understand that my view comes from someone who doesn’t truly understand the sport. But I want to see fighting remain. I think it’s exciting. It’s a completely selfish stance on my part, but the players seem to support it as well. I think people need to understand that when you play a contact sport like football or hockey, concussions are going to be an unfortunate consequence. Trying to legislate concussions out of football and hockey is like trying to legislate the need for Tommy John surgery out of baseball. It’s just not going to happen. I also want to comment that with all of the moral outrage over concussion in the major sports in America, until someone goes after boxing or MMA where the entire goal of the sport is to concuss your opponent, this is all just masturbation.

  9. michiganhockey11 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Headshots should be illegal but for God’s sake, for the last time, Nystrom did not make contact with Letang’s head. The contact was shoulder to chest and Nystrom’s arms were at his side. The follow through of the hit may have caused Nystrom’s arm to make contact with a bit of Letang’s chin but IT WAS NOT A HIT TO THE HEAD. Regardless of his head snapping back. I couldn’t stand Roenick as a player, but he was dead on telling Milbury that if you are hit hard enough in the chest, your head will snap back as well as the rest of your body.

    As a true hockey fan, I do acknowledge that cheap shots have always been in the game. But slew footing someone and only getting 2-4 minutes in the box is garbage. The argument about goons in the league to promote it has been dead since the 90’s. Sure, there are a handful of players that like to take a “brain crap” (as a local color commentator likes to call it), but that is about it. The hardest part to attract fans is the issue of watching the game on tv vs. wathcing it live. The speed of the game is completely lost when watching it on tv compared to seeing it live. I’ve taken tons of people to Wings games that prefer the other 3 major sports and couldn’t believe how fast it was compared to watching it live. That’s the issue about attraction to the league. Not goons.

    Goons and enforcers (or someone to answer to are 2 different things. Case in point, no one ever took a run at Gretzky in Edmonton. Why? He was protected. Take his protection out, God-like talent that he had, he wouldn’t have put up the same numbers he did. As it pains me to say it, similar behavior to Yzerman and Probie. Sure, guys went after Yzerman (like when they played the Blues and Maguire went after him). Of course Steve wasn’t a fighter, and while Maguire may have landed a few shots, Probie made him answer for it (not a clean fight, but a knockout shot while he was down), as the refs knew what would happen to Maguire if they woudl have let him stand up and attempt a round.

    Very few since Howe have had the ability to handle themselves in a donnybrook as well as they can put the puck in the net. Howe had no protection like Gretzky and he put up sick numbers. Fighting is part of the game. Hockey is a physical and emotional game, and there will be occasions that players lose theri cool and F-up. Better they get it done on the ice, sit in the sin bin and feel shame and at least have some respect for each other, than driving around with pistols in their vehicles, in the locker rooms, or doing God knows what in public like some of the brainless idiots in other sports do.

    There, I’ve said my peace.

    • michiganhockey11 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      It was Maguire and Buffalo, not the Blues. My bad.

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