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All Gary Bettman From Sochi

Gary Bettman was on with the NBC Sports Group today and did an interview with Al Michaels.

I am not sure if all these quotes are from the interview but that really doesn't matter, what he says does.

via a press release from NBC,

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the men’s hockey tournament: “It’s been a terrific tournament so far, the hockey has been good, it’s been fun, it’s been entertaining and I think we have two great semifinal matchups.”

Bettman on whether he was surprised by the outcome of Russia v. Finland yesterday: “Not shocked. There’s a reason we play the games, you never know what’s going to happen. You could feel the air come out of the [hockey arena], actually you could feel the air come out of the whole area here. I know that it’s terribly disappointing for the Russian players and for the entire country because they take great pride in the history that Russian hockey has.”

Bettman on whether a lack of coordination between the players, who have not had much time playing together, is to blame for Russia’s loss: “The remaining four teams don’t seem to be relying on that excuse. In the days of amateur hockey people tend to forget that the Russian team was completely professional. That’s what made the ‘Miracle on Ice’ such a miracle because you had a bunch of college kids who came together to defeat a professional team.”

Bettman on whether the NHL will have players in the Olympic Games in 2018: “I don’t know. There are mixed views among the owners. There are lots of quotes going in both directions…”

Al Michaels: “Because the season needs to be stopped for three weeks?”

Bettman: “It’s a real balancing act. Coming to the Olympics is a lot of fun when you’re here and the hockey is fun…not as good as Stanley Cup Playoffs but we can have that debate at a different time. But it requires us to shut the season down in the middle. It’s a break in momentum. It’s at a point in time when the NFL has stopped and it’s really our time and our teams come back in different shape. We’ve had five players who are already pretty banged up from this tournament, and some NHL teams have sent 10 players, and some have sent two. Some teams are going to come back more well-rested than others. In the final analysis, I have no idea. It’s not something we’ve looked at. We’re happy to be here, we’re enjoying the hockey, and from that standpoint it’s all good.”

Bettman on the international 100-ft wide rink vs. the NHL 85-ft wide rink: “I think our game is better, I think our game has more offensive intensity, particularly play around the net. There have been some people who have advocated that it’s a little safer, I don’t buy that either. In Vancouver, which by the way most people say is the best hockey tournament that has been in the Olympics, that was played on NHL ice and our injury factors seem to have been a lot less than it is here. Long winded way of saying that I’ve talked to a lot of our hockey people who are here, we’re not advocates of the bigger ice.”

Bettman on what he’s heard from players about their experience in Sochi: “They love it. First and foremost, you know from a young age our players take great pride in representing their countries. Some have played since they’ve been under sixteen representing their countries; they’re hockey players first and foremost. They love their countries, they love representing them. For them, this is a great experience and everything I’ve heard about the day-to-day existence of being here is that the facilities have been terrific.”

Bettman on if he’s neutral in the men’s hockey semifinal between U.S. and Canada:  “First of all, just so I can clear up, I was at both games last night, when Canada was playing Latvia and the U.S. was playing Czech Republic, I went back and forth. In my heart, I am obviously an American, but when you look at all four teams that are left, three of the four teams are predominantly all NHL players. From wearing my NHL hat, it’s all good.”

Bettman on a potential women’s national hockey league: “We’ve actually had a consultant take a look at this for us and the overall development of women’s hockey from the grassroots level through the college level isn’t at a point where a professional league is viable. But we very much believe in the importance of the women’s game. In fact, I’m going to go to the gold medal game after I leave you here, but it’s going to take some more time and more development. We’re still trying to grow men’s hockey.”

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sochi+olympics

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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