NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to the media prior to tonight’s All-Star’s Skills Competition and it didn’t take long for questions to arise about the controversial goaltender interference calls that have created an uproar. As reported earlier, the all-star coaches and league executives met with the league today to discuss the issues with goaltender interference. Bettman was quick to point out that he believes that everyone is overthinking the rule and plans to send a memo to officials suggesting they ease off when looking at video, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
“Overall, the system works,” Bettman said. “But I think we’ve gotten to the point where everyone is overlooking the review.”
The comments might suggest the league might be backing off on goaltender interference in the near future.
- Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston tweets that Bettman announced the 2019 NHL All-Star Game will be in San Jose on Jan. 26-27. It will be the first time its been there since 1997. St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Tom Timmermann tweeted the St. Louis Blues are bidding to host the 2020 all-star game.
- Johnston also tweets that Bettman said that the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers will start the 2018-19 regular season in Sweden. The Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers will play two regular season games against each other in Helsinki, Finland. The Devils tweeted they will also be playing in a preseason game in Switzerland.
- TSN’s Daren Dreger tweets that Bettman said that the plan is to send two teams to China in September and continues to be a “work in progress.” Johnston adds that it’s expected the Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins will be the two teams.
- TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets that Bettman was asked if the next expansion team (Seattle — if it happens, added Bettman) would get the same favorable expansion draft rules and player pool that the Vegas Golden Knights received. Bettman said, “Yes.” Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus tweets that Bettman added that any future expansion team would insist on the same expansion draft rules that Vegas took advantage of. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski tweets that Bettman said the ownership group working for a Seattle expansion bid is still working on their application. A timetable and ticket drive are up to them, but likely should be completed in one or two weeks, suggests LeBrun.
- LeBrun tweets that he talked to NHLPA’s Don Fehr, who said that a potential World Cup tournament could happen in September of 2020 or February of 2020. However, there still would have to be a lot of work to be done.
- LeBrun tweets that when asked whether adding a 32nd team through expansion would suggest the NHL should look into expanding the number of playoff teams, Bettman said ’No.’ He likes it at 16 teams.
- Wyshysnki tweets that Bettman wasn’t positive about a possible expansion team coming from Quebec: “We’re not currently considering an application. At the current time, we’re not focused on a team in Quebec City. That doesn’t mean we’ll never be focused [on it].”
- Wyshysnki tweets that on the topic of the Arizona Coyotes, the commissioner added that ownership is working through possibilities to build a new arena and the strength of the club comes down to the owners’ willingness to continue that pursuit. “I wouldn’t focus on Arizona moving right now. Or anytime soon. Or ever,” said Bettman.
- Lazerus tweets that Bettman also wasn’t as positive about NHL players joining the Olympics in 2020. “I don’t have an answer to that question.” He said the clubs and owners find Olympic participation “disruptive.”