Bettman praises Phila., 'a terrific hockey town'

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
Posted: April 24, 2014

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed several issues - including goalie fights, shootouts, and the new playoff format - during a news conference at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night before the Flyers faced the New York Rangers.

Bettman also said his "ballpark guess" is that the 2014-15 salary cap will rise to between $69 million and $70 million - it is now at $64.3 million - and he talked about the NHL draft, which will be at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27 and 28.

"Philadelphia, from the outset, has always been a terrific hockey town," he said, mentioning the area's strong youth programs. "You look at everything the Flyers have done in the community, and when you look at the entry of youngsters - our new players [who are] the future of the league coming into the draft - what better place than Philadelphia?"

Bettman, noting the city hosted the Winter Classic and Stanley Cup Finals in recent years, said that because of the "hockey enthusiasm here and the ability to hold major events in Philadelphia, we thought it was a natural fit."

He said the early returns on the new playoff system were positive. Bettman added that because of the short travel distance between New York and Philadelphia, he didn't see a problem with potentially playing Games 6 and 7 on consecutive nights - and the last three games in four nights. He said the schedule was based on "building availability and television needs we had to commit to."

Bettman said there will be "ongoing discussions" about adding a rule that suspends goalies who leave their crease to be involved in a fight (as Ray Emery did earlier this season), but said it was "easy to overreact to one incident. We like to be cautious."

The commissioner said Washington's opponent in the next Winter Classic probably will be named in a few weeks, and he didn't think the six outdoor games this season diluted the product.

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