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Commissioner Gary Bettman on the state of the NHL

In a state of the NHL media session here Saturday during NHL All-Star weekend, Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed many topics facing the league while asserting "the league is in as strong a position as it ever has been."

On whether something should be done to increase scoring.

"There is no universal view on that. Is a 1-0 exciting game better than a 7-1 game? … You have to look at the way the game is being played and how competitive it is."

On whether Chicago is in the mix for big events like the All-Star Game.

"Everything. To the extent (the Blackhawks) are interested in events, we see what we can do to accommodate them, understanding that there are 30 teams. "There's a long line, but I can see anything there. We've played two outdoors games there."

On possible expansion to Las Vegas and Quebec City.

"The executive committee … is going through the process … over the next few months. That recommendation can be no expansion, one team or two teams. Lots of things have to be evaluated … (including) ownership, market, arena (and probably of most importance) impact on the league."

On former Blackhawks defenseman John Scott participating in Sunday's All-Star Game

"When John Scott won the popular vote we announced him as a captain. There were a number of discussions with him and NHL personnel and Coyotes personnel about whether or not he wanted to come. … He had a decision to make: Did he want to be here or not? Once he decided that he wanted to be … here it was closed issue from our standpoint. He was welcome to come and we welcomed him here. It was never an issue beyond that despite the commentary and discussion to the contrary."

On whether NHL players will participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic.

There are a lot of things that are up in the air, including (what) the IIHF and IOC bear in terms of the expenses. There are still lots of things … that have to be dealt with before we even get to a serious consideration of that issue."

On how the lagging Canadian dollar will affect the salary cap.

"No one is overly concerned because I believe we're going to be in the same universe. When you're dealing with a cap above $70 million (in U.S. dollars) whether or not it's … a couple of million dollars more or less I don't think it's all that material."

On players like the Hawks' Jonathan Toews being suspended a game for skipping the All-Star Game

"It's really pretty simple: If you're injured we assume you're injured for more than the All-Star Game and that they need to miss a game on either side. It has been a fairly effective mechanism. By the way, if you're injured and you can't play but you want to come and spend the weekend … we'll take that."

On the possibility a judge will release NHL documents regarding the concussion lawsuit against the league

"The selective leaking of documents out of context may cause some people to scratch their head … but I'm very comfortable with our record. I'd prefer these things not be public but they'll be a distraction at best."

ckuc@tribpub.com

Twitter @ChrisKuc

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