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Full transcript of NHL Commissioner Bettman's remarks

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, left, arrives with deputy

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, left, arrives with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, right, as the NHL and its locked-out player resume negotiations in Toronto. (Oct. 16, 2012) Credit: AP

     Good afternoon, everyone.  Bill Daly and I just spent the last hour

with Don and Steve Fehr, and I would like to briefly report to you on what

was discussed.  As I think all of you know we have been extremely

disappointed, and that's an understatement, that we've been unable to get

these negotiations on the essential elements moving forward.  So, today, we

began by discussing with Don and Steve that if we were to drop the puck on

November 2nd for the start of the regular season, we could preserve an

82-game schedule for the regular season and play full playoffs as we

normally do and be done before the end of June.

     We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season, and in that

light, we made a proposal, an offer, really that is our best shot at

preserving an 82-game regular season and playoffs, and this offer that we

made obviously was contingent upon having an 82-game regular season.

     A lot of you know we don't negotiate publicly, and I'm not going to

break that habit because I don't think it's constructive.  The fact of the

matter is, we offered a 50-50 share of HRR, hockey related revenues, and we

believe we addressed the concern that players have about what happens to

their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57

to 50%.

     Beyond that, I don't want to get into the substance other than to say

we believe that this was a fair offer for a long-term deal, and it's one

that we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on

November 2nd -- which backing up, entails at least a one-week training

camp.  So we have about nine or ten days to get this all put to bed,

signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and

for us to move forward.

     We hope that this effort that we've undertaken today would be

successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody

associated with the game, particularly our fans.

     How confident are you that this is going to go forward?

     Well, we certainly hope it will.  We've given it our best shot.

     What was the reaction?

     The reaction was that they obviously need to study it, and so we told

them that we're available to them.  But they're going to need some time to

review it, and I respect that portion of the process.  Obviously, they've

got to understand the offer and get comfortable with it.

     Was it just the core economic issues in terms of the offer?

     We had a number of significant elements that we believe can and

should serve as the basis of a deal to get us playing hockey.

     Why do this today?

     Because if we want to have an 82-game regular season, if we want to

preserve an 82-game regular season and you back up the timetable in terms

of the schedule, we needed to do it.

     By the way, in terms of the schedule, so everybody understands, the

compression that would be involved is one additional game every five weeks.

Beyond that, we don't think it would be good for the players or for the

game.  But if you look at what our ability would be to schedule 82 games

and you work back from November 2nd, if we didn't do it now, if we didn't

put an effort on the table that we thought was fair and could get us

playing hockey, if we didn't do it now, then it probably wasn't going to

happen for a while.  Because, again, it's done in the spirit of getting a

full season in.

     Is it 50-50 across the board?

     It's 50-50 across board.

     How long of a contract will this be?

     I'm not going to get into the specifics.  We proposed a long-term

contract.  We think that's in everybody's interest.  We think that's what

our fans want.

     Can you explain how you address the roll back or the escrow?

     There is no roll back, and I'm not going to get into the specifics.

It would not be constructive at this point in time.  The union has some

work to do, and we respect the process.  I probably have gone further than

I usually have in terms of discussing what we've proposed than at any other

time.  But I'm not comfortable going any further.  I'm more concerned about

the process right now and getting us back on the ice.

     How worried are you they might say no and more of the season will be


     I don't even want to go there.

     Is the league amenable to playing an abbreviated schedule?

     We're focused on getting the puck dropped on November 2nd and playing

a full 82-game regular season and full playoffs.  That's what this offer is

all about.

     Have you made plans to meet later in the week?

     We're going to be on-call to them.  They have some work to do

internally.  Obviously, we didn't put this proposal, this offer, together

overnight, and they're going to need a little time to review it.  I'm

hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place.


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