Gary Bettman

Bettman feels “terrible” about impending lockout, but owners have their reasons


And then it was Gary Bettman’s turn to explain why the NHL is headed for a lockout.

The commissioner took to the podium Thursday in New York shortly after his NHLPA counterpart held a press conference touting the union’s position.

According to Bettman, there’s unanimous support from the owners for not starting the season without a new CBA in place. Which is to say, unless the players move off their position, there’s going to be a lockout when the current agreement expires Saturday.

In justifying the owners’ demands, Bettman referenced the NBA and NFL, whose players recognized the need to “retrench” and accept a reduction in revenue share.

Bettman’s also not willing to apologize for trying to rework the current agreement, arguing that agreements have terms for a reason.

Regarding the NHLPA’s latest proposal, Bettman said it was unacceptable to the owners because it did not result in “a reduction in real dollars” of player salaries.

When asked how the owners could justify signing players to contracts and then asking them to take less in real dollars (i.e. losing money to escrow), Bettman reasoned that there was no “perpetual entitlement” to the 57 percent share of overall revenues the players currently receive.

He also questioned the union’s revenue growth projections in its proposal, suggesting they were unreasonably optimistic and, as a result, misleading.

When asked if he has a message for the fans, Bettman would only say: “Nobody wants to make a deal and play hockey more than I do. This is what I do. This is what my life is about…This is very hard and I feel terrible about it.”

Here’s the full presser:

Related: NHL vs NHLPA — Breaking down each side’s proposal

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?