from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was at the Bell Centre to watch Tuesday night’s game between the Canadiens and Boston Bruins, sitting with team owner/president Geoff Molson and France Margaret Bélanger, the president of sports and entertainment for Groupe CH.
Here are some of the topics Bettman was asked about.
On the possibility of teams tanking to get the No. 1 pick at this year’s NHL draft and the chance to select generational player Connor Bedard:
“Nobody tanks because we have a weighted lottery. You’re not going to lose games to increase your odds by a couple of percentage points. That’s silly. And, frankly, suggesting tanking I believe is inconsistent with the professionalism that our players and our coaches have. Nobody tanks. Our players and our coaches do their best to win. And, again, just because you may finish with the worst record in the league you’ve got something like a 75 per cent chance that you’re not going to get the first pick.”
On the possibility of Quebec City one day getting an NHL team again after losing the Nordiques:
“I know there’s been constant speculation about that. We’re not in an expansion mode. If we decide to participate or have the possibility of expansion we’ll let the people of Quebec City know — those who might want to own a team. This is a conversation Geoff and I have had over the years. I know there’s rumour and speculation as to what the Canadiens’ position would be and I would tell you for a certainty Geoff has constantly over the years said to me if, in fact, we as a league wanted to expand he’d welcome a team in Quebec City.”
On the salary cap expected to go up by $1 million next season to $83.5 million:
“General managers, teams make their owns decisions as to how to manage the cap. Some have different philosophies about how much room and flexibility they need and others go right up to the cap and take their chances. I don’t second-guess any of them.
“What we have been saying as recently as the board meeting in December is that based on our current projections, most but not all the escrow (from players) should be paid this season....
more on the last question plus more Q & A...