Gary Bettman on tougher penalties: ‘It’s an adjustment’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joins Ken Reid to talk about the impact of Kraft Hockeyville plus the latest changes to the game.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the league’s tougher stance this season on faceoffs and slashing infractions is going to an adjustment.

Bettman spoke with Sportsnet’s Ken Reid prior to Monday night’s pre-season game between the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators in Summerside, P.E.I.

“A part of it is the thinking about the changes and part of it testing to see if we’re serious,” Bettman said. “But we want, particularly on slashing, we want to protect hands and fingers and not have needless injuries.”

The NHL has seen a big spike in stick infraction calls during the pre-season which has drawn the ire of both players and coaches.

Another item that’s been more enforced has been faceoff encroachment. If there’s any movement prior to a draw, the centre is removed from the dot and given a warning. A second transgression on the same faceoff results in a minor penalty.

“Our players and our coaches are the best and when you explain to them exactly what you’re doing and why, they adjust,” Bettman said.