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Bettman dismisses Caps’ complaints about Backstrom suspension

Apr 20, 2012, 4:03 PM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

The Washington Capitals were just engaging in “gamesmanship” when they publicly complained about Nicklas Backstrom’s suspension, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said today at an Associated Press Sports Editors meeting.

From the AP:

Bettman said Friday that criticism of the league’s disciplinary decisions as inconsistent simply reflected clubs disliking rulings that hurt them. He used the one-game suspension of Washington center Nicklas Backstrom for an illegal cross-check as an example. Bettman says of the Capitals’ disagreement: “That doesn’t mean anything; they didn’t like it.”

Soon after Backstrom was suspended a game for cross-checking Boston’s Rich Peverley in the face, the Caps issued the following statement on their website:

We disagree with the NHL’s decision to suspend Nicklas Backstrom.

This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed.

And frankly, there was some gamesmanship behind the Caps’ complaint, which was essentially a wordier way of telling the league to call it both ways. Then, should a questionable offense be committed against one of their players, they’d have something to stand on.

The risk for Bettman is that he appears dismissive of all complaints relating to supplementary discipline and on-ice violence, including ones from media and fans.

We’d be curious to hear what else he said today, because we assume he didn’t just accuse teams of gamesmanship and peace out.

  1. habsman - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Come on now guys, do you think Bettman is going to say anything different than the decision that was handed down? It is the Bruins and Colie Campbell’s young feller Greg after-all.

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      I’m sorry, what? You caught me nodding off :)

      • habsman - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        Go back to sleep.

    • bigkniht37 - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      sorry guys, i forgot to turn this broken record off when i went on vacation last week

      • govtminion - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        You’re responsible for this drivel? I really don’t think we can forgive you this time. Keel-hauling begins at dawn!

  2. tommybrady - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Enough with the Colin Campbell crap. Give me one incident why a bruins player should have been suspended this series? You can’t.

    The caps on the other hand had a questionable suspension call but by the letter of the law it was correct. Both teams are playing hard and it’s a very tough series. It’s been very even and the better team will win.

    No more crap abou the bruins getting favored because its not true. They had 1 PP last night and over 40 shots. This series isn’t about the refs or who’s getting screwed. The team whoplays better will win. And if any bruin lays a cross check to the face they will be suspended. Some real idiots on the comment boards which is expected but watch the actual games and it’s pretty fair.

    • bcjim - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:23 PM

      Well you could start with TT bashing Backstrom in the face with his blocker?

      see video by scrolling down.

      Otherwise you aren’t too far off, its not as if its been like Phi/Pit. Its more that the Backstrom/Weber/Neal stuff just did not compute.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        Don’t slash the goalie and you won’t get hit. Get off your couch and try and play hockey once, you’ll learn a few things

      • bcjim - Apr 22, 2012 at 9:23 PM

        lol, ok.

      • crmgoodness - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:08 PM

        Blocker, stick and glove to face. Much like the headline suggests it’s a goaltender protecting his crease. Backstrom whacks Thomas a couple of times when the puck is frozen should expect to get his clock cleaned and guess what…he did expect it. He didn’t have any complaints about it…and for that matter his suspension. He did something stupid and owned up to it…why can’t the rest of you.

    • bmoreredfury311 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      when did tommy brady start playing hockey? enough with you boston fans acting so innocent. The real question is what series are you watching, up there in chowder land.

    • fullbagg - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:20 AM

      Oh no The stick to the face no call on Mike Greens face? Yeah! You’re not biased. Check your name Uggs-ly..

  3. watermelon1 - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    One example of why a bruin would be suspended!?!? REALLY??? You only want one????

    Since you’re
    Obviously a biased bruin fan if you really can’t come up with anything on your own, you probably won’t agree with anything anyone says.

    But mike green caught a cross
    Check to the face just last night. No penalty. No fine. No suspension. No mention that it would even be looked into.

    The NHL is biased, media biased, and all because they’re still mad that Ovechkin took the league by storm in such dominating fashion a few years ago.

    Get over it people… He’s a great player who can score and dish out the hits. Stop trying to hold the man down just because he’s one of a kind.

    • themohel - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      I can see the argument about pro-Boston bias (not that I’m sold), but what reason would the league have to be mad about a dynamic star coming in to dominate the league? Don’t say it is because he is Russian – everybody loves Pavel Datsyuk just fine. Bringing out the tin foil doesn’t help the rest of your points much.

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      So it wasn’t a penalty on the ice, no one in the media caught it and the league missed it as well? Somehow, with all of the scrutiny on the playoffs and headshots you were the only one to catch this because of some large-scale Bruins conspiracy?

      Yea that does sound likely once you flesh it out huh?

    • crmgoodness - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      I’m tired of being nice on this stuff. Get your no comment downthumbs ready. You are an ignorant fool if you think Mike Green got a cross check. Mike Green caught a careless unintentional stick to the face last night the same way Chara caught a careless hatchet to the head in game 3. Both probably should have been minor penalties and neither was intentional. You are stupid if you think the league doesn’t want Ovue to succeed. They are desperate for superstars and would like nothing more than to have him be the player he was 3 years ago. It’s not the NHL’s fault that Ovie decided he liked Vodka and women more than hockey. Hell, the NHL didn’t bench him in game 4, Dale did. Habsman, did you donate sperm in the DC area?

      • crmgoodness - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:46 PM


    • fullbagg - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      Don Cherry! Canada!Don Cherry! Canada!Don Cherry! Canada!Don Cherry! Canada!

  4. thehighcountrybear - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    It’s all public posturing by Bettman…any organization marketing a product for sale employs market research people who scour blogs, newspapers, editorial pages and any media sources where public opinion is bandied about, and this for the sole purpose of directing marketing! The NHL is a vast marketing empire that draws revenue from a wide and varied product table, so market research is an integral part of the big sell, and they’d fall off the charts against other sport marketing engines if they failed to compete accordingly!

  5. ray2013 - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    I’m not sure how this is actual news, as it falls into the “what did you expect him to say?” kind of comment. Did anyone really think that he’d say, “OMG! The Caps figured out we favor the Bruins” or “That Shanny sure is an idiot. He better start being fair to the Capitals.” Of course not.

    He’s going to say the NHL is fair and unbiased. Any team that has a player on the giving end is going to say it was just hockey, or they’re doing it too! while any team that has a player on the receiving end is going to say that we need to outlaw that kind of play and really send a message, etc.

  6. kotteintheslot - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    1. Bettman there is a reason you get booed every time you’re in a hockey arena 2. Whether you agree with the Backstrom suspension or not, the suspensions being handed out this post season are suspect at best. There is a clear bias in the name of the player being suspended/player who is the reason for the suspension. Please give me a good reason why Weber wasn’t suspended. Please convince me that any play after that was worse than that (aside from the Torres hit). Clubs disliking ruling happens but what has gone on so far is a joke.

  7. pens5829 - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Bettman and Shanahan are idiots.

  8. arbruins - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    Habsman has never skated a day in his life…knows nothing about hockey…just a disturbed little pot stirrer. Go back to the LPGA where the Canadiens may actually win something!

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