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NHL looks at expanding video review, Commissioner Bettman says

China Games, CBA negotiations also discussed at Stanley Cup Final press conference

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

2019 State of the League Address

Bettman on Seattle expansion, Olympics, video review

Commissioner Gary Bettman meets the media to update the state of the NHL, including expansion to Seattle, video review and international play

  • 28:49 •

BOSTON -- The NHL is considering expanding video review, Commissioner Gary Bettman said prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Monday.

"Clearly what we already do still may not be enough," Commissioner Bettman said.

The NHL currently allows for coaches to challenge goals scored off potential offside or goalie interference plays, but Commissioner Bettman acknowledged some controversial plays in the Stanley Cup Playoffs require the consideration to expand what is allowed to be reviewed.

He specifically mentioned San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson's overtime goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final that was scored after a hand pass in the Blues zone from Timo Meier to Gustav Nyquist was missed by the on-ice officials.

That goal was not allowed to be challenged or reviewed under the current NHL rules for video replay.

"The ability to review and parse plays down to the millisecond has become both a blessing and a curse," Commissioner Bettman said. "If we are to extend video replay, and we will be looking at that possibility, we must find the right balance when it comes to how much more to use and when to use it without affecting the flow, pace and excitement of our game. Perhaps most important, we've got to have a system that enables us to be consistent. This is the challenge, and it's a challenge we are focused on and we will meet."

Commissioner Bettman said the NHL will gather suggestions and ideas from general managers and the Competition Committee, which is comprised of a cross-section of people across the League, before taking any action.

Rule changes require the approval of the GMs, the Competition Committee and the Board of Governors.

The Competition Committee is scheduled to meet June 11, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. The GMs and the Board of Governors will meet later in the month.

"What we have to do is make sure we have feedback from all of the constituent groups, both in terms of soliciting ideas and ultimately whatever conclusion we reach to make sure everybody buys into it," Commissioner Bettman said. "We all understand the issues at the League office. We know what works. We know what doesn't work. We understand the challenges of implementation. So we're going to use that body of knowledge, share it with everybody, and take as much feedback as we can from everyone."

Video: Bettman, Daly on video review challenges, Olympics

Commissioner Bettman said removing video review from the game has been discussed by GMs, but it is not an option that is under consideration by the NHL.

"I don't think you can go backwards anymore," he said. "I think that ship has sailed."

The Commissioner said the NHL is very concerned that adding too much video review could extend the length of games.

"It's not as simple as just saying just review everything because the essential element, the excitement, the flow of our game, would be inalterably interrupted if we reviewed everything," Commissioner Bettman said. "It's just not possible, and as a starting point, you can't really make penalty calls that haven't been made two minutes earlier. Everybody has got an opinion on this, and I respect that and we want lots of input, but it's not as easy as it looks.

"We're going to have to come up with something, if we decide to extend replay, that defines it in a way that we cannot ruin the game, but get it right."

Here are other items addressed by Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Daly at the press conference:

 
China Games

The NHL will not be sending teams to China this fall because of logistical issues with booking arenas, Deputy Commissioner Daly said. The NHL had two preseason games in China each of the past two years.

The Deputy Commissioner said the logistics of the China Games would be impacted by the Chinese celebration of the 70th anniversary of the new China coinciding with the timing of when the NHL would consider playing games in the country.

He said the NHL is planning to have the China Games again in the fall of 2020 and is hoping to announce the teams that will be going at some point in the coming months.

"We're going to double down on our efforts in China," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "We're going to really ramp up our presence there, hopefully including over the summer with player visits and with League visits, Players' Association visits and the like. We're going to continue to invest in grassroots and school programs so we can continue to fuel the growth of youth hockey in China. Hopefully, we'll be in a position to announce games for the following year much sooner than we've been able to do in the past, which should help with the promotion of those games."

Video: Bettman reviews 2018-19 season ahead of Cup Final

 
CBA meetings

The NHL and NHL Players' Association continue to have ongoing meetings regarding the collective bargaining agreement, and the plan is to continue those through the offseason, Deputy Commissioner Daly said.

The current CBA, a 10-year agreement that was ratified in January 2013, expires after the 2021-22 season. But without an extension in place, each side would have to determine this September whether to trigger its respective reopener option, which then would cause the CBA to terminate in September 2020.

"When you think about where the game is and the state of the business of the game, how it's grown, there is a lot to be said for labor peace," Commissioner Bettman said. "That's something we're very focused on. If you asked the Players' Association, and [executive director] Don [Fehr] is here, he could list 10 or 15 things he'd like to change in the collective bargaining agreement. We could probably do the same thing, but ultimately this is going to come down to what's most important."

Fehr said the NHLPA has a board meeting in June and is planning to have meetings with players throughout the offseason. He said they could add another board meeting at the end of August or early in September.

"It's consulting with the membership at the same time we're having discussions with the League, and hopefully the consulting with the membership will take into account those discussions that will be productive in some way," Fehr said. "Then we'll see."

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