NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met with the media Wednesday at the Board of Governors meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif. Here is an edited transcript from his chat:
Q: Were there any governors who wanted clarification on the investigations on some of the so-called "cheat deals," the long-term retirement contracts, and where the League stands on that right now?
A: They understand the concern over that type of contract and they understand there are investigations ongoing, but there isn't any more detail on that because it doesn't pay to comment on an ongoing investigation. You get to the punch line and you know what the answer is, then there's something to talk about.
We did a CBA review and in the context of that, we reminded the board that this is an issue that we're focused on.
Q: Is there any resolution yet or are you close to any resolution with the Versus and DirecTV impasse?
A: I mentioned last night that this is an ongoing issue we're disappointed about, but it's not really within our control. This is between Comcast, who owns Versus, and DirecTV. We're hoping they're closer to a resolution then they've been, and I reminded the board this is still an issue.
Q: Has there been any talk of having any Canadian teams in the Winter Classic?
A: We had discussion not with the board but over the summer about dong a second Winter Classic this year with two Canadian teams in Canada. That's something timing-wise we couldn't make happen, but it's something we're going to look at again for next year.
Q: Any talk about the six teams going to start the year in Europe?
A: When John (Collins) was talking about the business presentation, he talked about international. Our anticipation is six teams playing six games, but we didn't identify the teams.
Prague, Helsinki, Stockholm. Those are good guesses, though. Maybe some others.
Q: Do you think the issue of second outdoor game in Canada is something that will be looked at again going forward?
A: Yes. If I didn't say that clearly, it's something we're going to look at for next season. We'll see if we can make that happen.
Q: Is there a time for that when you have to know?
A: We generally need to know by the time we release the schedule. You want to have the game on a certain date in a certain place with certain teams, so when we release the schedule we generally have a pretty good idea if we're going to be able to do it and where.
Q: Do you need a second rink?
A: We rented one the first time in Buffalo. We own one rink. There has been a lot of speculation. Do you do two on New Year's Day? Do you do one on New Year's Day and one on Hockey Day in Canada? Do you do one on one day and one on the other. Whether or not we can use the same rink twice will depend on when we're doing this. While we like the rink and the truck is very nice and it gets a lot of attention, we could buy another one or we could rent the second one. You're further down the road than we are. We're looking at the possibility of doing a second game and doing it in Canada. We haven't gotten the logistics lined up yet.
Q: We know that Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs have expressed interest in said game. How many of the six Canadian teams have done the same thing?
A: I think all of them. Officially, we didn't ask for a document sworn under oath, but in discussions, every one of the Canadian clubs have said we'd like to host it and be in it, or at least be in it. All six have expressed interest. I think just about every U.S. club as well, even if they're in a warm climate, have said they'd like to play in it. It's become an event our clubs are having the desire to participate in.
Q: Dan Craig was in Calgary at McMahon Stadium last June. Has he seen all outdoor venues in Canada to take a look at them?
A: I think he was there last June when we were wrestling with whether or not we could do a second one this year. We were looking at a number of venues, but we didn't look at all of them.
In terms of a variety of issues. It's not simple. It's not just about renting a stadium. It's about what television arrangements, when we're going schedule it. We're obviously going to have to coordinate with the CBC on this. It's not a question of it died because it's a bad idea. It's a great idea. It's more a question of timing and being able to get it done in time to do the schedule and get ready to go.
Q: I'm sure there was a time 10 or 15 years ago when you come to a meeting like this and you'd be asked if there was going to be any Canadian teams left, and now it seems that the discussion has turned more to we need more of Canada. Have you seen that transformation in the last decade?
A: The cycles of life never cease to amaze me. Yes, I remember very clearly the prognostications by some of your colleagues that there would be one team left in Canada and everyone else would be in the United States. Now the prognostication is teams need to move out of the United States. It wasn't right originally, and it's not right now. But it's part of what we deal with, and it's OK. Time will tell, as it did and it will. I'm comfortable that all 30 clubs should be right where they are.
Q: If there's ever sentiment by the board to put a second team in Toronto, can you clarify the veto issue?
A: There is no veto. There are two votes from a constitutional and bylaw standpoint that would be important. The relocation of a franchise requires a majority vote, period, end of story -- no veto. The grant of an expansion team, because that's also a new owner and a new team, requires a three-quarters vote -- no vetoes. Either you have the majority vote on a relo, or a three-quarter vote on an expansion. I understand there's ongoing confusion on this point, but there shouldn't be.