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Volume 26 No. 89
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Bettman On Board With NHLers Expressing Individuality, Having Fun

Evander Kane wishes more NHLers were okay with embracing the entertainment side of sports
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Evander Kane wishes more NHLers were okay with embracing the entertainment side of sports
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Evander Kane wishes more NHLers were okay with embracing the entertainment side of sports
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that he "welcomes the individuality and fun that is spreading throughout the league, as long as it's not contrived," according to Michael Traikos of the TORONTO SUN. Bettman said, "We're letting the players -- and encouraging them -- to express themselves. And that's what's important to Gen Zs. In some respects, it's represented a cultural change to the way teams have always in hockey presented themselves and the cohesiveness of team-first and I still believe that's an essential element to the game. But younger people, younger players, view how they express themselves differently." Traikos notes this is "still a relatively new concept in the NHL." Sharks LW Evander Kane said, "There's nothing wrong with lights, camera, action and embracing the entertainment side of sports. Unfortunately, we don't have enough guys who want to do that or think it's important to do that. If you look at the four major sports, that's why hockey ranks fourth." Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin said players "have to have fun." Devils D P.K. Subban said, "Allowing players to be themselves, I think we're seeing more of that now." But Traikos notes at the same time, the "old-school mentality is not going away." Canucks C Bo Horvat said, "Hockey players are wired the exact same way. We're humble and easy-going and stick-to-the-book when it comes to answers" (TORONTO SUN, 9/11).

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE: The AP's Stephen Whyno noted "almost a dozen prominent restricted free agents remain unsigned" on the eve of NHL training camps, and "several situations threaten to linger into the season." Maple Leafs RW Mitch Marner, Lightning C Brayden Point, Bruins D Charlie McAvoy and Jets RW Patrik Laine are among those who "could all be conspicuously absent when camps open this week." The salary cap is a "concern," as the Maple Leafs "will have to use long-term injury allowance to get Marner under contract" and the Lightning have less than $9M in cap space to sign Point. The "continuing contract stalemates have sparked plenty of questions about the lack of rights for restricted free agents and the trend toward younger players wanting to cash in on their second contracts" (AP, 9/10).