NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman Meets with Media For Annual All-Star Weekend Press Conference

NHL commisioner Gary Bettman held his annual All-Star Weekend press conference Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Here are the highlights from the Commissioner’s 32-minute meeting with the NHL media.

International Games
The NHL continues to pursue development of international growth. Bettman opened his annual All-Star media session with an update on next season’s international games.

  • The NHL will return to China for preseason games.
  • The Panthers and Jets will play each other in Finland next season.
  • The Devils are going to Switzerland and the Oilers are going to Germany for preseason games next season. They will play each other in a regular season game in Sweden.

2019 All-Star Game
San Jose will host the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend, Jan. 26-27. First time since 1997 for San Jose.

Bettman said the Seattle group has indicated to the league they’re working on the expansion application process and should have it filed “in the not too distant future.” Bettman said he has no doubt that if there is another expansion team that team will insist on the same expansion draft rules that Vegas got.

Bettman was also asked about 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]”

Playoff Format
Bettman on possible postseason format changes if/when the NHL adds a 32nd franchise: “I don’t think we need more teams in the playoffs.”

Bettman on future Olympic participation: “We find that the Olympics are very disruptive on our season. … It didn’t make sense for us to attend. Could that circumstance change at some point in the future? I suppose so, but it’s not something we’re currently contemplating.”

Bettman on Coyotes: Ownership working through possibilities for a new arena. The strength of the club comes down to ownership’s willingness to continue that pursuit. … [But] I wouldn’t focus on Arizona moving any time soon.

Bettman said at his 1999 media availability at All-Star here in Tampa he said the Islanders, Nassau County and the NHL were working on a new arena deal. “Some things just take time,” he said, smiling.

Bettman regarding confusion of goalie interference video review, says memo will go out to on-ice officialss to essentially say don’t overthink it. Feels to me like a bit of a reset on goalie interference video review, going back to what it was meant to be.

Odds and Ends

  • Bettman plans to unveil an NHL EA Sports eSports league before end of the regular season.
  • NHLPA head Don Fehr was asked about the next World Cup. He said September 2020 or February 2020 are still potential windows for the next tournament. But lots of work to be done.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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