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Bettman meets the media

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in Buffalo as part of the Sabres' luncheon series, met with the media prior to tonight's game between the Sabres and Ottawa Senators.

The opening topic, as expected, was the new rule allowing for supplemental discipline in the case of head shots. Bettman sees it as an evolution of the rules in a game that's become faster and more physical. He believes the language targets the types of hits that cause the most injuries.

"This rule will reduce the instances of concussions, which is the most important thing," he said in HSBC Arena.

The rule doesn't call for in-game penalties, Bettman said, because he was not sure the league could get its officials comfortable in consistently distinguishing between minors and majors. He doesn't want the stretch run or playoff games to be wrongly influenced by inconsistent calls.

Other topics included:

*The Olympics. He said the NHL saw a bump in ratings and added "business is pretty good," but said the experience will have more of a long-term effect through kids becoming interested in the sport.

"It's not like throwing a light switch," he said.

*The salary cap, which will remain flat or change 1 percent or 2 percent in either direction for next season.

*The Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders. The league is temporarily running the Coyotes until it finds a suitable local buyer, though with the on-ice success of the team he joked "maybe we should be" in the business of running a squad. The Islanders are arguing with Long Island politicians about building a new arena to replace decrepit Nassau Coliseum, though they still have four or five years remaining on their lease.

"That team is not staying in that building a minute longer than they have to," Bettman said.

The complete audio of Bettman's chat is below.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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