Gary Bettman

Bettman: “We’re at a loss to explain what happened” (updated with video)


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media Thursday night, sounding frustrated at some points and outright furious at others.

He summed up this week of the lockout — and basically this entire process — when he described what’s happened as “an emotional roller coaster.”

Bettman said that the owners had a sense of optimism on Tuesday. However, that “almost inexplicably disappeared” on Wednesday.

Part of the problem, from the owners’ perspective, is that they put an additional $100 million on the table and the union’s response was “shockingly silent.” That left the owners “beside themselves.”

Bettman said that the NHL was willing to make certain concessions if the union moved towards the owners in three areas: five-year player contract limits, a “longer the better” CBA, and compliance issues related to transitioning to a new agreement (e.g. buyouts, cap on escrow).

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that contract lengths in particular are “the hill we’ll die on.”

When the union came back with a counter proposal, rather than a yes or no response to the league’s key demands, the NHL promptly rejected the offer.

On top of that, the NHL has pulled the concessions that they made over the past week off the table. That includes the Make Whole proposal in its entirety.

Bettman accused NHLPA excecutive director Donald Fehr of “spinning us all into an emotional frenzy” by claiming that the two sides are closer than the league feels they are.

The commissioner is “disappointed beyond belief that we are where we are tonight.” (On that point, there aren’t likely to be many dissenting opinions.)

Now the question is how much time is left before the 2012-13 campaign is lost entirely. Bettman suggested that a season must be at least 48 games for it to be viable.

“We are where we are, as horrible as it is,” Bettman said.


Not good enough: NHL rejects latest NHLPA offer

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.