Gary Bettman on Parity, Quebec and Colin Campbell's 'Consistent' Rulings
Colin Campbell said it's too early to gauge the effectiveness of the league's new rule outlawing blindside hits to the head. Watching preseason broadcasts did not give the league's senior executive VP and director of hockey operations enough of a sample size. "We've seen a couple of blindside hits -- shoulder-to-shoulder and shoulder-to-chest," said Campbell. "Hopefully, the players are avoiding it." League VP Mike Murphy also noted that the player carrying the puck also bears the responsibility of keeping his head up.
When Campbell was asked about the consistency of his suspensions, the league commissioner stepped in and stepped up for his colleague. "I think Colie does an extraordinarily good job of taking care of what goes on on the ice," said Bettman. "He is extremely consistent. There are nuance differences (in cases), but you cannot paint what goes on in supplemental discipline in broad strokes."
Bettman complimented the hockey fans in Quebec City for their passionate display of support for an NHL team around Saturday's preseason game between the Islanders and Canadiens. However, the commissioner made clear there's no point in talking about expansion or relocation in the city without a new facility to play in. "I'm aware that more than 60,000 fans were in Quebec City on Saturday," said Bettman. "We have never doubted the passion for our game in Quebec City. There are great fans and interest. Any discussion about a team in Quebec City is based on the possibility of a new arena. And that's not something we are involved in."
In response to a question about the Blackhawks moving nine players from their Stanley Cup team for salary cap reasons, Bettman cited the NHL's successful move to parity. "In the last five seasons," said Bettman, "all but two teams have made the playoffs."