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Gary Bettman not pleased with conspiracy talk

Dave Lozo of has a lengthy interview with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman up, in which he speaks on ‘conspiracies’ that have invaded the talk around hockey and about a possible Winter Classic in Los Angeles.

“It was determined it was kicked in,” Bettman said of the ruling. When asked about the seven-minute review, he added, “When they do video replay, they want to make sure they get it right. It should take as long as it takes them to get it right. I’d rather that than say you’ve got a minute and 30 seconds and get it wrong.

“Let’s get something straight -- I have complete confidence in the integrity and professionalism and judgment of my hockey operations department. Period.

“I think this whole tact of innuendo and insinuation is both insulting and pure fantasy.”

Bettman praises the Kings franchise and ownership, which I’m certain will only add to the notion that the NHL wants the Kings to succeed, but he’s not pulling these complements out of nowhere. The Kings are a hockey team that is working in Los Angeles, they’ll have the draft there next summer and it’s a testament to how with good ownership, leadership and a winning product the sport can work anywhere.

While he’s certainly gushing in his praise of the Kings, he wasn’t so keen on the prospect of a Winter Classic being held in LA.

Could you put out a sheet of ice and make ice? The answer’s probably yes -- but would it be satisfactory for a competitive game, one that counts in the standings? I mean, we take two teams and put them outdoors but the points in that game matter. And when you look at the way our regular season ended, we have to make sure all of our games are played under as close to ideal conditions as possible.

It’s a legitimate question and no matter how much air conditioning the outdoor rink may have underneath, the sun and the warm air are likely to play hell with the ice surface. Still, how great would it be to see the Kings take on an East coast team with a backdrop of the Pacific ocean, palm trees and thong-clad ladies on roller blades? Doesn’t exactly scream ‘traditional pond hockey’ to me, but neither did singing Sweet Caroline at Fenway. So anything is possible.