Gary Bettman media conference


From the NHL:

Commissioner Gary Bettman Media Availability Transcript

Toronto, October 16, 2012

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


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


How confident are you that this is going to go forward?

Well, we certainly hope it will. We’ve given it our best shot.

What was the reaction?

The reaction was that they obviously need to study it, and so we told them that we’re

available to them. But they’re going to need some time to review it, and I respect that portion of

the process. Obviously, they’ve got to understand the offer and get comfortable with it.

Was it just the core economic issues in terms of the offer?

We had a number of significant elements that we believe can and should serve as the

basis of a deal to get us playing hockey.

Why do this today?

Because if we want to have an 82-game regular season, if we want to preserve an 82-

game regular season and you back up the timetable in terms of the schedule, we needed to do


By the way, in terms of the schedule, so everybody understands, the compression that

would be involved is one additional game every five weeks. Beyond that, we don’t think it would

be good for the players or for the game. But if you look at what our ability would be to schedule

82 games and you work back from November 2nd, if we didn’t do it now, if we didn’t put an effort

on the table that we thought was fair and could get us playing hockey, if we didn’t do it now,

then it probably wasn’t going to happen for a while. Because, again, it’s done in the spirit of

getting a full season in.

Is it 50-50 across the board?

It’s 50-50 across board.

How long of a contract will this be?

I’m not going to get into the specifics. We proposed a long-term contract. We think

that’s in everybody’s interest. We think that’s what our fans want.

Can you explain how you address the roll back or the escrow?

There is no roll back, and I’m not going to get into the specifics. It would not be

constructive at this point in time. The union has some work to do, and we respect the process.

I probably have gone further than I usually have in terms of discussing what we’ve proposed

than at any other time. But I’m not comfortable going any further. I’m more concerned about

the process right now and getting us back on the ice.

How worried are you they might say no and more of the season will be lost?

I don’t even want to go there.

Is the league amenable to playing an abbreviated schedule?

We’re focused on getting the puck dropped on November 2nd and playing a full 82-game

regular season and full playoffs. That’s what this offer is all about.

Have you made plans to meet later in the week?

We’re going to be on-call to them. 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.

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  1. Chris, i also dont like a full 82 games either. Thats likely gonna mean 3 days in 4 nights, and thats going to mean more fatigue and injuries. Hockey is the most physically demanding sport IMO, and the human body needs time to recover, and there wont be much opportunity for recovery.

  2. Hey Carp, as players begin to settle in Europe and various leagues around the US and Canada, at what point do the players throw their arms up and say, “Screw it, I’ve had enough with the NHL. I get paid, play, and have just as much notoriety in (Europe, AHL, etc.).” In other words, what’s to say all these guys just stay where they are now instead of worrying about the NHL coming back (if it ever does)? What is so great about the NHL, other than history?

  3. Read the blog every week but have never commented before. If the players do not accept this offer I will find it hard to side with them from now on pending there is NO fine print in the offer that screws them over. Owners totally surprised me by putting forth a reasonable offer but couldn’t be happier.

  4. Good evening all…Uh oh, here comes the fatigue!…though I am already fatigued by this carcillo and would like it done! I am, and I hate this phrase, cautiously optimistic.

    Whoever is handling the league’s and Bettman’s pr is brilliant. Hold a news conference…now…and say it’s all about preserving the 82-game season and pleasing the fans, and, oh yeah, 50-50, which was predicted for a while anyway (Carp?). So if the players say no, and we don’t even know the rest of the details, the players are the asshats.

    Has Fehr said anything yet? I think when this is settled I may have to avoid the post-deal rhetoric or I will boudreau.

  5. Nice try BANJ….:)

    Yergs, I predict every single one of them will be back.

    MD, that’s the key, what we don’t know about (see my post above). And I’m kind of not surprised, but also very happy! And post more often!!!

  6. Mama nailed it. Brilliant PR is right. I’d love to see more details before making a full judgement. For example, if there is no roll back , how exactly are they addressing immediate drop from 57% to 50%? But I agree, it’ tough not to get excited, and it’s hard to imagine players rejecting it. I also highly doubt they’ll play 82 games.

  7. All that’s needed for these extra games is a player on the roster to step in and play well once every five weeks. Erik Christensen.

  8. the truth of the matter is that this is still a bad deal for the players… they gave up so much the last time around and still lost a season. since then there have been record revenues and growth and to say thank you, the league wants to cut their share by 7% when it’s been their owners who can’t control themselves that have caused all of the financial havoc.

    however, as mama correctly points out, the way this deal was delivered was really PR perfection because now the league looks like they are making some great compromise when the reality is, they are still just putting their hands in the players’ pockets.

    of course, i hope the players take the deal and we have hockey in two weeks, however i really don’t know how much i could blame them if they say thanks but no thanks

  9. Let’s just eliminate games as the calendar ticks by and adopt the records of each teams Minor League team?

    Go Whale!

  10. Blogmama going to have to agree with you. Owners do look like the good guy by offering this but both sides knew that it was most likely going to end in a 50-50 deal. Owners just made the first move there fore getting the publicity. I think most people agree 50-50 is fair since that’s how the revenue is split in most other professional leagues but it would not surprise me if the owners put in some fine print to screw over the players. Kudos to the Nhlpa for taking their time to go over everything. Hope we can get this done

  11. Oh, agreed the union deserves time to look it over (gee, Bettman, glad you so kindly agree too)

    ilb, I’ve been reading contradictory things about whether there is a roll back or not, so who knows. That’s my point. We don’t know anything but the carefully crafted brilliant pr handed out today. I wish I had that person’s salary…

    And, gee, thanks all! I haven’t had so many people agree with me since the last time I offered to buy drinks or dinner :)

    Manny, ha! I thought you mistyped Carp Messaging…..but I agree with that too….i

  12. I stole it from a Katie Strang tweet over there —————>

    (cue song – over there….over there…spread the word…spread the word…over there….the Yanks are comin’…the Yanks are comin’….rum-tum-tummin’ everywhere 2x)

  13. @TSNBobMcKenzie@ If player comes out of entry level 1 yr earlier, is 1 yr further away from salary arb and UFA, less pressure on teams to give big contract.

    @TSNBobMcKenzie@ 1. Entry level would go from 3 to 2 yrs. 2. Salary arb eligibility would go from 4th to 5th yr. 3. UFA goes 7/27 (service/age) to 8/28.

  14. Manny, thanks for the waseka tips….but here’s the thing, all that makes me go zzzzzzzzz (no offense Greg)….Glad I’m not a hockey reporter because the depth of this contract and details would be an ideal sleeping aid…and goes out the Zamboni entrance when the league/teams want it to…..

    Manny, SHOCK! That wasn’t your cleverness? Now I am byfuglien’d

  15. But the union had weeks to make a PR move and they did nothing – so screw them too.

    Just get a decent deal done – there is enough money to go around that you shouldn’t be squabbling over the 6th 0.

  16. Is it possible to test Cabrera* for peds right now while he’s on second base? This way MLB will probably have to void the series helping Yankees* to advance and nobody have to die!

  17. LOL 3C!! Yanks offense is lifeless. Verlander has a strike zone the size of North America, and this team cant succeed with a fair strike zone. I think Verlander is going to throw 96* strikes tonight. Maybe we can get a miracle and come back tonight or from down 0-3 in series, but i doubt it. It would be nice if hockey started soon and gave me something to look forward to.

  18. Nothing a batter can do when pitches 6 inches outside are being called strikes all night. Like this guy, the reigning MVP/CY, needs any more help against this trashy lineup.

  19. Verlander and the entire Tigers* team bought Cabrera a wrist watch to congratulate Cabrera* for finding the right amount of peds that helped Cabrera win the triple crown* this season! What a bunch of great guys*!

  20. TSNBobMcKenzie Every NHL team would be eligible to receive revenue sharing but top 10 $ clubs responsible for contributing 50 per cent of $200M pool.

    TSNBobMcKenzie Because NHL players buried in minors (Redden etc) would count against cap, re-entry waivers would no longer exist.
    about 1 minute ago · reply · retweet · favorite

  21. I hear it CCCP. It’s the sound of amateur-hour…A-Roid’s cousin Yuri would have played a better 3B….

  22. Its worse than amateur hour. Theyre worse than little leaguers. A-roid is too busy collecting chicks’ phone numbers and being friends w Ben Affleck.

  23. Can’t blame the pitching…Not sure this NY Yankees* Major League Baseball* team* has the “jam, bite, or balls” to come back from 3-0….

    Tort would say that “They are fighting it” or “They are going through a tough stretch here”

  24. The problem is theyre not fighting it, or fighting at all. 2 innings in the entire series an effort was made. Inexcusable. 8 games, 7 stellar pitching performances, starter gets injured tonight, and bullpen gives stellar performance and offense does nothing to back it up.

    Texted with Tony the whole game and he never quit. He said Hi Carp, hi boneheads, he wishes Arod broke his ankle rather than Jeter.

  25. I havent taken a dump since Friday night. Maybe if i release one tonight, the team will stop playing like carcillo.

  26. I just realized its all my fault. I couldnt take the stress diarrhea anymore after 3 weeks of it, so ive been taking 6 immodium ad a day so i wouldnt have to go at all. I shouldve just manned up and ealt with the sickness.

  27. Alright, so im carcilloing and shaving my playoff beard tonight…and everything will turn around tomorrow!!

  28. If Steinbrenner would just loosen up a bit and spend 3 or 4 hundred million on some hitters, we might have had a better result.

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