Bettman: “We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season”

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Shortly after making a new collective bargaining proposal to the NHLPA, league commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to the media and explained his desire to have a full 82-game season that begins on Nov. 2.

Here is Bettman’s statement, in full:

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.

Bettman then fielded a few questions about the particulars of the CBA proposal — to which he had no comment — though he did confirm there’s no proposed rollback on player contracts.

He also stressed the league’s focus on a Nov. 2 start date, and a full 82-game regular season.

As for what comes next?

“We’re going to be on-call to them [the NHLPA],” Bettman said. “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.”