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All-Star Game

Vegas All-Star Game among Commissioner's topics

Olympics, jersey ads, ice conditions also discussed by Gary Bettman at All-Star Weekend

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika and Dan Rosen @cotsonika @drosennhl / NHL.com Staff Writers

LOS ANGELES -- The NHL will hold an All-Star Game in Las Vegas sooner rather than later, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday.

Bettman said the NHL would hold an All-Star Game next season if it does not break for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. He declined to say where an All-Star Game might be but said the Vegas Golden Knights, who will join the League next season, would host one in the near future.

"I think our intention is at some point in the earlier days of the franchise as opposed to 20 or 30 years down the road," Commissioner Bettman said. "I think we could have fun in Las Vegas with an All-Star Game."

The NHL remains in a holding pattern regarding participation in the 2018 Olympics.

Commissioner Bettman said the issue was not on the agenda for the Board of Governors meeting Saturday and received "about 10 seconds of discussion." He told the Governors nothing had changed since their meeting in December and asked if anyone had anything to say or ask. No one did.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the Governors do not want to participate under the current circumstances.

"If the status quo remains, I don't expect us to be in the Olympics," Deputy Commissioner Daly said.

Deputy Commissioner Daly declined to say what might change their mind.

"All I can tell you is if we're going to hear the same thing, I don't think it's going to move the ball," he said.

Video: Commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the media

Deputy Commissioner Daly said the NHL plans to release the 2017-18 schedule in June but was not at a point where it needed to force a decision. Asked how long the issue could hang in the balance, Commissioner Bettman said, "I don't know the answer to that. … We're not the ones who are setting deadlines."

The NHL has participated in each Winter Olympics since 1998. The NHL Players' Association has made it clear the players would like to continue participating. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel has said he has secured money to pay the expenses for PyeongChang. But Daly said the NHL did not know the source of the funds and what they would cover.

"That's still a missing piece of information," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "Having said that, they could give us all that information and it wouldn't necessarily move the needle. Maybe that's why they're not giving it to us. I don't know."

Commissioner Bettman reiterated that he didn't want the money to come at the expense of hockey development and that paying expenses would be only the first step.

The Board of Governors sees downsides to Olympic participation, including the disruption of the season, the compressed schedule, and risk of injuries. It has not seen a boost to the game or the business, especially when the Olympics are held overseas.

"Look, in a lot of respects, it was through Gary's efforts primarily that we decided to go to our first Olympics in 1998," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "Certainly at the time he saw the benefit, and he persuaded the Board of the benefit of shutting down the season to go to the Olympics.

"A lot has happened since then. I think the League has come a long way since then. I think the realities of Olympic participation are more apparent to our Board now, and I think it just leads to less enthusiasm about the disruption. Quite frankly, we don't see what the benefit is from the game standpoint or the League standpoint with respect to Olympic participation. So that's the challenge.

"Gary has said numerous times if there was a compelling reason that we could bring to the Board that this is something we should do again in South Korea, then it would be presented to the Board and see what they say."

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Deputy Commissioner Daly said the Golden Knights hoped to close their transaction on or around March 1, and once they do so, general manager George McPhee can start making moves.

"He will be able to make player-related transactions within some parameters," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "Obviously he can't acquire players who are still playing the '16-17 season. But he can acquire draft picks, he can acquire unsigned draft choices, there are player assets he can acquire, and he can start making deals related to the expansion draft."

Video: Bettman comments on All-Star Weekend, NHL100 Event

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Deputy Commissioner Daly said teams expressed concerns about the compressed schedule because of the five-day breaks introduced this season.

"I think we'll sit down with the Players' Association at the end of the year and review the results," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "If we institute the break again next year, my guess is we'll look at different ways that we could potentially do it."

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Dan Craig, NHL vice president of facilities operations and hockey operations, reported to the Board of Governors about ice conditions.

"We pride ourselves on being vigilant and thorough, and Dan's presence before the Board was consciousness-raising," Commissioner Bettman said. "Maybe the same routines, you've got to go take a second look. We want to make sure ice conditions are good for a competitive games. Most importantly, we want to make sure they're safe for the players.

"We generally don't have ice problems, and maybe it was a full moon, maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it was bad luck, but we had a few building issues in a very short period of time. Our goal is to do better and to have our buildings do better."

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Commissioner Bettman said New York Islanders co-owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin were evaluating their future at Barclays Center.

"The owners are committed to the franchise," Commissioner Bettman said. "They're committed to New York and the great fan base that has followed the Islanders. There are some issues about playing at Barclays that may be fundamental as to the ice system. That's not something that can be fixed in the short term. I think Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are reviewing the situation and looking very seriously at what their options are."

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Commissioner Bettman said it was unclear what owner Peter Karmanos would do with the Carolina Hurricanes, but the franchise would not leave Raleigh, N.C.

"Peter may sell; he may not sell," Commissioner Bettman said. "He may sell all of it; he may sell some of it. He may sell none of it. There's no formal sale process going on. There's no imperative for the franchise to be sold on any immediate basis. And the franchise is not moving."

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The NHL is not discussing following the NBA's lead and putting advertisements on jerseys.

"It would take an unusual circumstance, which I would define as a lot of money that I'm having trouble comprehending right now, for us to even think about it," Commissioner Bettman said. "We think what we have is special. We talk about history and tradition and how special hockey jerseys are. We're not looking to put advertising on our sweaters."

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