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Bettman discusses Phoenix situation, Olympics

by Dan Rosen /

NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that the city council in Glendale, Ariz. is scheduled to vote July 2 on the proposed lease agreement for Arena that would facilitate the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL to Renaissance Sports and Entertainment.

However, if the Glendale city council rejects the proposed lease agreement, Commissioner Bettman said he doesn't see any way in which the Coyotes can remain in Glendale.

"I don't want to be more specific than I'm going to be, but if the council doesn't approve it so this transaction can close, I don't think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore," Commissioner Bettman said following a Board of Governors meeting.

Should the city council reject the proposal, Commissioner Bettman said there is enough time to relocate the Coyotes for the start of the 2013-14 season. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said no matter where the team plays, the NHL's new unbalanced, two-conference, four-division alignment would not change.

"The fact of the matter is we haven't ironed out or put into effect a Plan B. We have lots of options," Commissioner Bettman said. "I find it difficult to conceive of why if the council turns this down we would want to keep the team in Glendale any longer. We would then, if they turn it down, have to deal with possibilities and the options that will be available to us and they are numerous. There is enough time."

The possibility of the team moving to Seattle has been widely reported. Daly said the NHL would be able to have a team play in 51-year-old Key Arena next season.

When asked specifically about the possibility of relocating the team to Quebec City, Daly said it is not an option that should be ruled out.

"I think we've tried to be clear that obviously there are a number of alternatives and we have to decide which one is the best for us in the short-term," Daly said.

Commissioner Bettman also said the NHL, National Hockey League Players' Association, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation are scheduled to meet Monday in New York to attempt to conclude an agreement that would enable NHL players to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Commissioner Bettman said the Board of Governors has granted him the authority to do the Olympic deal without going back to the Board for further approval.

In addition, Commissioner Bettman said the Board granted its authority for the League to work with the NHLPA on the implementation of the rule changes recommended by both the NHL Competition Committee and the general managers. However, the changes have not been formally enacted yet because the Players' Association wants to go through them with its executive board at a meeting next week.

The changes include:

* Mandatory visors for all players who have fewer than 26 games of NHL experience beginning in the 2013-14 season

* The use of hybrid icing in the 2013 preseason with the possibility of implementing it for the start of the 2013-14 regular season

* Shallower nets (four inches)

* Making the spin-o-rama on shootouts illegal

* All double-minor penalties for high-sticking will be subject to video review

* The League will eliminate the attainable pass, which gave linesmen the discretion to wave off icing infractions on attempted passes that are deemed to be attainable. With the new standard, there must be contact with the stick.

* Making goalie equipment smaller


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