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Bettman: “We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season”

Oct 16, 2012, 2:19 PM EDT

Gary Bettman

Shortly after making a new collective bargaining proposal to the NHLPA, league commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to the media and explained his desire to have a full 82-game season that begins on Nov. 2.

Here is Bettman’s statement, in full:

Good afternoon, everyone. Bill Daly and I just spent the last hour with Don and Steve Fehr, and I would like to briefly report to you on what was discussed.

As I think all of you know we have been extremely disappointed, and that’s an understatement, that we’ve been unable to get these negotiations on the essential elements moving forward.

So, today, we began by discussing with Don and Steve that if we were to drop the puck on November 2nd for the start of the regular season, we could preserve an 82-game schedule for the regular season and play full playoffs as we normally do and be done before the end of June.

We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season, and in that light, we made a proposal, an offer, really that is our best shot at preserving an 82-game regular season and playoffs, and this offer that we made obviously was contingent upon having an 82-game regular season.

A lot of you know we don’t negotiate publicly, and I’m not going to break that habit because I don’t think it’s constructive.

The fact of the matter is, we offered a 50-50 share of HRR, hockey related revenues, and we believe we addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50%.

Beyond that, I don’t want to get into the substance other than to say we believe that this was a fair offer for a long-term deal, and it’s one that we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on November 2nd — which backing up, entails at least a one-week training camp.

So we have about nine or ten days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward.

We hope that this effort that we’ve undertaken today would be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans.

Bettman then fielded a few questions about the particulars of the CBA proposal — to which he had no comment — though he did confirm there’s no proposed rollback on player contracts.

He also stressed the league’s focus on a Nov. 2 start date, and a full 82-game regular season.

As for what comes next?

“We’re going to be on-call to them [the NHLPA],” Bettman said. “They have some work to do internally.  Obviously, we didn’t put this proposal, this offer, together overnight, and they’re going to need a little time to review it.

“I’m hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place.”

  1. comeonnowguys - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    No. No. No. No. No.

    Learn the lesson from NBA last year. A compressed schedule is a bad idea, especially with hockey’s physicality.

    • islesjb - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Is it possible to have the season start Nov 2nd and not have a condensed schedule? I agree with you regarding your point on the NBA, as it definitely seemed like there was a spike in injuries last season. Since the season would only be starting about a month late, can’t we just have it run a month later and have a slightly shortened off-season going into 2013-14? I feel like that would be better for the players from a health standpoint.

      PS- I am f’in PUMPED that we finally have something to be optimistic about. Really hoping the players accept this

    • ryan02190 - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      There would be one extra game every five weeks.

      Puh-leeze

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      That’s what I thought too, but judging by Bettman’s comment about playing “full playoffs as we normally do and be done before the end of June,” it sounds to me like they may not compress anything and simply run a regular schedule that just happens to end later.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        I’m sure many will disagree, but IMHO one of the NHL’s problems in recent years has been the 82 game season followed by 2 months of playoffs, which is absurdly grueling and does not improve the caliber of play in the games and is probably a factor in some injuries. No repeat Cup champs in several years. Many reasons why, but this seems likely to be one of them.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        Yeah, I tend to agree. Even if they knocked off 6-10 games, they’d eliminate 2-3 weeks, which is much more than it sounds. I could watch hockey pretty much year round but I talk to enough people who’d watch more hockey if it didn’t run through the middle of June.

  2. jimw81 - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    @BroadStBull: In new schedule, #NHL teams would play one extra game every 5 weeks to make up for missed games.

  3. mnwildfan15 - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Still no word on realignment, wtf??? I understand the money is the biggest issue for owners/players but what about the fans that have stay awake until 12am just to watch the end of half the games on the schedule?? #GETMNOUTTATHENWDIVISION

    • davebabychreturns - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      I would imagine it’s not high on the list of priorities for either side, pretty much just a bargaining chip.

      As for getting the Wild out of the Northwest, this Canucks fan agrees.. anything that gives us fewer unwatchable games a year is a good thing. :D

      • therealjr - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        I’m no Wild fan, but I would think anyone that has legitimate interest in hockey would recall they they signed Parise and Suter and have a couple highly rated young players ready to contribute.

        I’d be more worried about the expiration date on that Canucks window, myself.

      • davebabychreturns - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        Well Parise and Suter will help the Wild be much more competitive this year, but I don’t think either player is going to force them to change their game all that much (as a matter of fact I think going out and acquiring a former Predator and Devil is a great move in the Wild want to keep their philosophy intact.. and why wouldn’t they, on balance it’s worked well for them).

        As for the Canucks, I’m not worried. The Sedins are extremely fit and other than them the only core player over 30 is in the process of being replaced by a younger player. I think the team’s organizational depth is underrated and while there’s no future superstars it should help the team remain competitive. If they can keep adding a core player here and there through UFA and pull off maybe two or three good trades over the next few years they should be able to prolong their ‘window’ indefinitely.

      • davebabychreturns - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        (God is it ever nice to be actually talking about hockey again)

      • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        “AHEM” …

        That’s all fine and dandy there Babych, but you are forgetting about one slight detail … a “46 million” dollar detail to be exact ! Now I “know the deal” myself, living here “not but a brisk walk” from Rogers Arena … and I do have tremendous respect for the Sedin brothers. Nonetheless, attempts by you Canuckle people to “gloss over” the massive elephant in the room that is Bobby Loo, makes about as much sense as a couple of cooks in the Titanic’s kitchen arguing about what’s going to be on the evening menu, an hour “after” hitting the iceberg ! Once this CBA get’s signed (which it will be shortly) then you people have got to seriously get cracking a find a way to get this clown back to Florida asap ! If not, then I suspect it’ll be the Wild having the last laugh at you guys ? :)

      • davebabychreturns - Oct 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

        blomfeld I don’t know what’s worse, your writing style or your reasoning. I guess at least you didn’t embed some awful youtube video this time..

        Luongo has a huge contract and is not going to return fair value in a trade but he is hardly the boat anchor some like to pretend he is. He’s still a top goaltender in this league and he’s done absolutely nothing to indicate that his continued presence in Vancouver will be a problem in the room.

        The team that eventually acquires Luongo is going to be very happy with their investment, and like I said the Canucks won’t get fair value but they should get a good player or a nice selection of picks and prospects back.

      • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

        Achtung Babych !

        Your pathetic attempts to insult me and my writing style, are akin to some fool throwing tennis balls at a King Tiger “Main” Battle tank ! … or in other words, an exercise in “complete and utter” futility ! Both Luongo’s 46 million dollar contract and his continued “annoying” presence in the locker room, are massive “AIG-sized” conundrums which need to be remedied “asap” ! … if you can’t understand that, then you’re obviously not a very insightful Canuck’s fan !

        Man, do we Kings ever have something in store for you clowns this year ! :)

      • davebabychreturns - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        Well I was asking for the youtube clip, anyway.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      Realignment won’t happen until the Phoenix situation gets settled. Don’t worry, the Jets will be kicking the Wild’s keester 6 times a year before you know it ;)

  4. blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    “Until then however (US Thanksgiving holiday weekend), I’m going to continue believing that this so-called “impasse” is nothing more than a “calculated and contrived” plan” … Blomfeld @ Oct 10th

    GO BETTMAN !!! :)

    GO FULL 82 GAME SCHEDULE !!! :)

    GO STANLEY CUP CHAMPION LOS ANGELES KINGS !!! :)

    @Jimw81 – that’s exactly correct friend … we’re not even a full week past the original Oct 11th start date to the season and yet so many are talking about “lost games” and such ? … it’s positively laughable, as in the context of playing through to the end of next June, making up this “paltry” handful of games will be a absolute breeze … here in Canuckle Land for example, so often last year people were complaining about extended “gaps” in the schedule, where there wasn’t a game for 6-7 days …

  5. bensawesomeness - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Nothing they’re asking for is completely unreasonable (or at least negotiable…contract term caps, ect))
    50 / 50 is a brilliant place to start, and i think it’s something everyone involved SHOULD feel like it’s fair. Not everyone’s going to love it, but thats the point of a compromise.

    You guys, i’m so excited right now

  6. aventador12 - Oct 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    There’s going to be a lot of back-to-back-to-back games. Definitely gonna be a test to all players.

    • mcbratz1187 - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Bet there won’t be any…

  7. jessejames182 - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I guess I’m excited that hockey could be coming back sooner rather than never. But a lot of damage has already been done from my perspective. The players that received the most awards took off when things got though to take some minor league player’s job just so they could stay in shape until they could come back and take their inflated salaries. It’ll take a while before I can believe either side cares much at all.

  8. dbarnes79 - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Both sides are so dumb. Why didn’t they just start at 50/50 two months ago? We all pretty much knew it would come down to that figure or somewhere close to that.

  9. lsxphotog - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    So far, it appears this is a very well-thought plan that blends the cancelled/postponed games into the schedule.

    • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      “a very well-thought plan” eh ? …

      “………………………………………………….” :)

  10. husky2score - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    It is great that a deal appears to be close and reasonably acceptable BUT… Most All Stars are playing in other countries. Will they want to comeback? If not, what will happen them?

    • davebabychreturns - Oct 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Of course they will. A lot of guys are being compensated not much more than enough to insure their NHL deals, no way do most of them stick around all year for peanuts when the best league in the world (where they have a vastly more lucrative contract) starts up.

      Maybe it’ll be different for the Russians in the KHL but I would bet most of them head back.

      • islesjb - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        I’m sure they’ll be heading to the airport to make the first plane back. Not to knock the KHL but there’s no comparison with the NHL. In addition to offering fatter paychecks, the all around experience is superior in terms of facilities, travel and overall living conditions.

        These guys lives for the most part are in USA/Canada. They’ll be back with bells on. I don’t buy Ovechkin’s BS for a second that he’s going to remain in Russia all year.

        Let’s make a deal and get the pucks dropping by Nov 2nd!

      • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        Ain’t gonna happen pal …

        You do know that Ovechkin has threatened to stay in the KHL, right ? … so given the fact that he’s a “man of his word” and a “pillar of integrity” among other things, we’ve therefore probably seen the last of him … sad but true.

    • husky2score - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      I agree with islesjb now. As for blomfeld, I feel that Ovie said what he said in an effort to get a jumpstart on the NHL talks. He is one of the prime and most popular players of the NHL, and I can’t think of any good reason why he would stay, other than that he is in his hometown. If Ovie is being serious, I have lost a little likeness in him and I am disappointed.

      • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:28 PM

        Praetorian Guards: You there, halt ! … are you an Ovechkin lover ?

        husky2score: hey man, like yeah ? … like, he’s pretty awesome right ?

        Praetorian Guards: cease with that idiotic dribble ! … KAPOW ! .. KABOOM ! .. KAZAM !

  11. pariseinminnesotabichez - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Hey dumb asses on the top, how about u be happy wer actually getting a season, jesus!

  12. dhillca - Oct 16, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Blomfeld
    Your not supposed to quote yourself.
    Its similar to saying “Bloomfield no like this strike” or “Bloomfield feels like this has gone on long enough” :-)

    • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      Person A: Who is this “dhillca” commenter and what’s he trying to say to Blomfeld ?

      Person B: I’m not sure friend, though I do suspect that his intentions are good ?

  13. ewoods6 - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I REALLY want to be optimistic here, but i don’t trust that POS troll doll and his greedy, fat-f*ckhead of a lawyer sidekick.

    Until one of the Fehrs gives me something to cheer about, I’ll hold back for now.

  14. ricepilof - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Blomfeld: The odds of Ovi staying in Russia are worse than the Blue Jackets winning the cup this year. Each league honors each others contracts. That’s a fact. Although, both you and I wish he’d just stay put there and come crying back to the states taking out a full page ad in the Washington Post with the title: Sorry Folks

    • blomfeld - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      @ricepilof – It sounds friend like you’ve got a really good handle on things … good show ! … jolly good show ! :) But no kidding about big man “Ovi” eh ? Like you, I also hope that he’s made to be feel utterly embarrassed by his own fans there in Washington when they drop the puck again. What that bastard did with his callous threats was the equivalent of “kicking your own” square in the teeth ! The goof gets 10 million per year “plus” and he’s the toast of the town there in DC, yet all that can just “piss off” as far as he’s concerned, when the first sign of adversity appears ? In many ways, his childish attitude is a direct facsimile of his play on the ice … a lot of “razamataz” no doubt, but completely lacking in any meaningful substance, especially when it counts. Anyway, with luck an “issue” will arise regarding his US work visa, compelling the clown to remain with his stupid Novosibirsk Reactor buddies ! We can only hope eh ? :)

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