In his media avail ahead of Game 1, Gary Bettman had a lot to say regarding various aspects of the league. From long-term injured reserve, the 2022-23 NHL schedule, to Evander Kane's pending grievance with the NHLPA, Bettman & Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly covered any pressing questions facing the NHL going forward.
Bettman disclosed that the 2022-23 season will see a return to scheduling normalcy after three seasons of, shall we say, turbulent scheduling. The COVID pandemic was the source of stress for many folks out there, but it seems as though the world is slowly returning to its regularly scheduled programming. Or at least the NHL is. The NHL's Commissioner expects the finalized scheduled to be available in early July, but the tentative start date for next season is October 11. As much fun as it is watching hockey in July, the strain on the players, coaches & training staffs shan't be overlooked, so the return to a proper NHL schedule ought to be a positive step for the league.
Furthermore, while we're on the subject of positive things for hockey; Bettman also declared a record year for the NHL. That's right, the NHL saw a record-breaking season in revenue totals for the league in 2021-22. Which is encouraging news considering the trouble the league was in as a direct result of the pandemic. Reasons behind the record year are the new US television broadcasting deals with ESPN & Turner. We have already experienced serious viewership bumps both in the regular season & playoffs. Another reason could be the absolute bombardment of gambling ads likely resulting in increased betting, which would certainly line the pockets of the league to a considerable degree. Either way, more money to the NHL is ultimately good for the league, assuming they deploy it properly. Bettman also suggests that the NHL salary cap will see an increase in three years, possibly two.
As LeBrun points out, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly asserts that the NHL's LTIR system will not be remanded. The question at hand was regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning & their utilization of the LTIR, which many believe to qualify as 'salary cap circumvention.' However, Bettman & Daly quashed those concerns, and they maintained that TB's usage of the LTIR is considered 'proper' management of the salary cap. Some suggested a playoff salary cap, but neither the NHL's Commissioner nor Deputy Commissioner felt obliged to go there.
Lastly, Bettman & Daly were posed a question pertaining to the Hockey Canada lawsuit & expressed intention to fully cooperate:
The Finals will be underway by the time this article reaches publication, but it is sure to be an exciting finish to an otherwise extraordinary season. And with the NHL seeing record revenues, it seems the league's growth--and that of the sport of hockey--are on the come-up. Which is good news for fans, players, & those who work in the sport.