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Bettman as eager as fans to see tests in action

by Dan Rosen
TORONTO -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is intrigued by the potential of seeing 3-on-3 played in overtime if no goals are scored in 4-on-4 play. He's also interested in the hybrid icing rule that was tested Wednesday at the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp Fueled By G Series, as well as the concept of starting a faceoff with the puck on the ice instead of in a linesmen's hands.

"I think we're going to see a lot of things and then we're going to have to digest them," Bettman said when he met with the media at the Maple Leafs' practice site Wednesday between sessions of the RDO Camp. "If there are changes that we want to pursue it'll go through the usual procedures -- general managers will consider it first, ultimately the Competition Committee and then the Board of Governors."

Bettman was quick to say that "there is no rush to make any changes." He added it would be "a little premature" to think that anything tested during the two-day camp will be discussed next week when hockey dignitaries from across the globe converge on downtown Toronto for the World Hockey Summit.

"The Summit is next week, and since we haven't identified anything that is an immediate need or problem, there is no reason for us not to go through the usual processes that we normally do with respect to the game and the rule changes," Bettman said. "As I think most of you have heard from all of our constituents, the game is really in good shape and this is a way for us to be proactive and to see if we can be ahead of the curve to the extent if there is anything that we can identify that might be even better."

Bettman congratulated NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan for his work on organizing the RDO Camp. He thanked the 35 players (33 of whom are among the top 2011 Entry Draft prospects), the officials and coaches Dave King and Ken Hitchcock for "participating in making this what we think is a worthwhile effort."

How often the NHL holds an RDO Camp is up for debate. The last one was in 2005, preceding the return from the work stoppage. Bettman stopped short of saying it will become an annual event.

"Are we going to do it every year? That's nothing that we have focused on yet," Bettman said. "Like we do with most events and new things we do, we'll let it conclude, run its course, take a deep breath and evaluate what we like, what we think can improve and where this fits into our cycle. Maybe we do it every year. Maybe we do it every couple of years. That's not something we have focused on yet. I'm glad we're doing it now."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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