User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Bettman takes shot at fighting debate

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

TORONTO (AP) - When Gary Bettman approached Ray Emery during the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup celebration at the White House, many wondered what would happen.

Advertisement
The Philadelphia Flyers goaltender had drawn leaguewide attention a few days earlier for skating the length of the ice to fight an unwilling combatant in Braden Holtby.

''I said: `Oh, Ray. It's good to see you. I've been thinking about you.' We had a nice chat,'' the commissioner said. ''And I said, `So just hypothetically, if there was a rule that said if you cross the red line to get into a fight with the other goaltender and you get a 10-game suspension, would you have done it?' He goes, `What? Are you crazy?'''

It might not be a 10-game suspension, but NHL general managers will discuss potential changes to fighting rules Tuesday at their annual meeting.

''I think the level of dialogue gets sparked by an occasional incident, and an incident of this nature when you look at everything else that is going on in the season was really a small pebble relative to a beach full of sand, which is seeing an incredibly entertaining season,'' Bettman said Monday. ''I think sometimes an incident, as rare as it might be, tends to get focused on disproportionately.''

During his remarks at the Prime Time Sports Management conference in Toronto, Bettman called fighting a ''thermostat'' in hockey that helps cool things down when tensions run high.

''When Vinny Lecavalier was in a fight with (Jarome) Iginla ... they got mad at each other,'' he said during his question-and-answer session. ''I'd rather them be punching each other than swinging sticks at each other.''

One of the arguments against the abolition of fighting, or even making the punishment a game misconduct or suspension, is that it would cause more high-sticks and cheap shots. Bettman said feelings on both sides of the fighting debate are ''really dug in.''

''To say you're getting rid of fighting, I'm not even sure what that means because you can change the penalty and make it more severe,'' he said. ''That doesn't mean if somebody's sufficiently motivated, they're not going to fight. So we'll take the hypothetical. You get thrown out of the game if you fight. OK, I think guys will still fight if they feel the need.''

Bettman wants to take the pulse of GMs. That includes feelings about goaltenders fighting and other topics. Emery was not suspended for pummeling Holtby because there is nothing in the rules to use as precedent.

Bettman expects a ''general discussion'' but does not think any rule changes will come about just yet. He adds that the current rules, which include a five-minute major for fighting and extra penalties stemming from the instigator and third-man-in rules, represent the consensus among GMs.

''If somebody wants to change it, there needs to be a new consensus,'' he said. ''That's why the discussion's ongoing. Having said that, it continues to evolve as the game does. Four years ago, a shoulder hit to the head was not penalized. Now it'll get you suspended. We're going to continue to look at what we can do to keep the game physical but safe as possible.''

Senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan, who is being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night, is expected to address the GMs.

Bettman clearly does not want the issue of fighting to overshadow other developments this season - the Colorado Avalanche's hot start, strong television ratings and arenas filled to 95 percent of capacity.

Another topic drawing attention is expansion because of unbalanced divisions created by realignment. Having 32 teams would even out the divisions, but Bettman says there are no such plans in the works.

''I don't envision right now going through a formal expansion process,'' he said after the conference. ''We get expressions of interest all the time. Those are informal conversations that we have, but in terms of a formal bid process, I'm not focused on doing anything like that right now.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Sportsbook: Updated Odds and Props
NHL only discussing expanding league
Sens' G Anderson gets 3-year extension
Goalie Giguere retires after 16 seasons
Maple Leafs CEO to step down
Sabres shift Devine to personnel director
NHL lottery to change in next 2 years
Sharks F Torres undergoes knee surgery
Rangers sign free-agent forward Hayes
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 NHL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2196
Bruce Marshall + 1208
Joe Williams + 62
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
   
   
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1956
Bill Marzano + 603
   
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 900
Tony Stoffo + 553
Bill Marzano + 341
Yesterday's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Yesterday  
   
   
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2026
Joe Williams + 1559
Bill Marzano + 989
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!