He says NHL was first league in 1997 to introduce mandatory neurological baseline testing for players.
Also says NHL was first pro league to adopt league-wide electronic medical records system.
(NHL does not identify spotters and the NHLPA refuses to b/c they are league employees.)
(At least one NHL team doctor has been concerned about this, claiming some team docs employ “situational ethics.”)
(Brings to mind our story last year documenting how an NHL lawyer requested a dementia warning be removed from a warning poster in NHL locker rooms.)
Bettman says that’s not doable if the NHL “is to be maintained as a physical, contact sport."
“Other than some anecdotal evidence, there has not been that conclusive link… there has not been conclusive determinations."
NHL players over the past five years have averaged 2.6 concussions per season b/c of fighting, he says.
Perhaps sentiments have changed since 2014 when NHL exec Gary Meagher wrote in an email the NHL “has never been in the business of making the game safer on all levels.”
“That play should have been penalised. Sometimes things are missed on the ice. Our officials must have the most difficult job in sports."
"We try to address them all... Sometimes we get requests for help and the player isn’t interested in it… We view ourselves as a family."
Eyolfson: “If 15% of games have fighting, that’s 15% too many. This is an act that is a criminal act in any other setting. This could be removed from NHL hockey with the stroke of a pen."
He says the threat of fighting ensures a certain level of conduct on the ice.
Then Maloney gets serious. “You don’t need to be a doctor to know repeated blows to the head are likely to cause long term brain damage."
“We do research but our research is on identifying and treating concussions. We’re not a medical facility, not a scientific facility."
Bettman: “There’s no shortage of opinion on this subject.”
Bettman cited the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Kelli Ewen.
Bettman refused to answer.
"Let me take some other questions. You don't get to dominate, Rick."
He was challenged more than once.
Some clearly did their homework and learned the stories of Nick Boynton, Steve Montador, Derek Boogaard, and others.