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Video: Gary Bettman talks CBA, says NHL owns New Year's Day

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently sat down for an interview with Ian Eagle of CBS Sports. The discussion included a wide variety of topics, including the upcoming CBA negotiations, player safety and the NHL now "owning" New Year's Day.



A few of the highlights.

On the CBA

The league and the players association have not had any significant discussions regarding the collective bargaining agreement. Bettman was asked if it's something that dominates his thoughts, or if it's a subject that he is putting off until after the playoffs.

"We haven't even yet begun negotiations," Bettman said. "The union has a new executive director. He's been spending the last year getting up to speed, learning about the game, learning about the business of our game, trying to get familiar with the collective bargaining agreement and his constituents, the players. So they haven't been ready to negotiate. We've been ready since last summer. When the union is ready, we'll sit down and talk."

His hope is that they are able get through the summer "quickly, quietly and painlessly, but time will tell."

On player safety

"Player safety is a vital concern of ours, and it has been. We've actually been out front going back to 1997 in terms of addressing the concussion issue in a whole variety of ways, working with the players and the medical community. We've done a whole host of things, including protocols for diagnosis and return to play, equipment, putting plexiglass in all the buildings, rule changes, having a department of player safety. These are all things that are ongoing projects because this is an issue that any contact sport is going to have to deal with."

On the job Brendan Shanahan has done

"I think Brendan is doing a terrific job. He started out as we expected he would with nothing but accolades. But the more decisions you make, the fewer the accolades simply because supplemental discipline is hard to administer. There is no shortage of views on any particular play. The passision that everybody associated with this game, starting with our fans and everybody at the teams, is unmatched. Whenever he makes a decision there are going to be people that applaud it, and there are going to be people that hate it. There are going to be people who think it was too much, and there are going to be people who think it was too little. That comes with the turf, but he is clearly the right person for this job.

On owning New Year's Day with the Winter Classic

"To have imagined that the event would be this spectacular, particularly when you're there. To imagine that we would own New Year's Day, which used to be for college football, nobody could have imagined it. It was a great concept, and John Collins, our chief operating officer, deserves all the credit in the world for saying, in conjunction with Jon Miller at NBC, this is the right event to do on this day. It's been great."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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