LOS ANGELES -- The gloves came off here at Staples Center before the puck even dropped Wednesday night.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Vancouver media sparred during a pregame news conference; the subject, of course, was Daniel Sedin's disallowed goal from Game 3.
Here's how the stand-off played out:
Q: Gary, why was Daniel Sedin's goal disallowed in Game 3?
Bettman: Well, because it was determined that it was kicked in.
Q: Why did it take seven-plus minutes to determine that?
Bettman: When they do video replay, they want to make sure they get it right.
Q: Even if it takes that long?
Bettman: It should take as long as it takes them to get it right. I'd rather that, than say, you got a minute and 30 seconds and have them get it wrong.
Q: Has the so-called DVD that was sent to teams, has that actually changed the rules? Because in the rules, it says there has to be a distinct kicking motion. Now, apparently, there does not have to be?
Bettman: Well, I'm going to take issue with your characterization of a "so-called DVD." The DVD exists. Whether or not you've seen it or are aware of it doesn't make it "so-called." Secondly, all the rules, obviously, have to be interpreted, standards have to be applied. And this is something that was reviewed with the general managers. Let's get something really straight: I have complete confidence in the integrity, professionalism and judgment of my hockey operations department. Period.
Q: As far as judgment goes, Mr. Murphy [NHL hockey ops executive Mike Murphy] told CBC, I believe the quote was, "He knew what he was doing," referring to Daniel. As a lawyer, does that not imply a certain predisposition to think a certain way?
Bettman: Mike Murphy was trying to explain at one o'clock in the morning as best he could exactly what was going on. And if he wasn't as articulate as perhaps those looking to parse his words would like, so be it. But as I said, I have complete confidence in Mike Murphy, Colie Campbell, and the entire hockey operations department. I think this whole tact of innuendo and insinuation is both insulting and pure fantasy. And I suggest everyone move on and focus on the fact we are having a dynamic playoffs.
There was a bit more give-and-take, but that's the meat of it. Once I thought the Vancouver reporters were done, I asked the commissioner about the Sports Illustrated report involving steroids and the Washington Capitals. Here was Bettman's response:
"I spoke to [NHL security chief] Dennis Cunningham about that. The sequencing in that story of what happened isn't right. We looked into it when it first came out. There was a different law-enforcement agency that was looking into it at the time, and my belief is, that law enforcement that's now being quoted, one was DEA, the others local police, and our interaction was either directly or indirectly with the original DEA group. We still believe that there's nothing to that story."