Gary Bettman responds to Senators’ Andlauer, talks Shane Pinto suspension

By Luke Fox, Sportsnet

Could Evgenii Dadonov be the new Ilya Kovalchuk?

In 2010, the New Jersey Devils were punished with the forfeiture of a first-round draft pick for circumventing the salary cap on Kovalchuk’s voided 17-year contract. The Devils delayed selecting which year to lose the pick, waited until tensions cooled and, four years later, the NHL reduced the punishment, slotting Jersey 30th (last) in the first round of the ’14 draft.

Could brand-new Senators owner Michael Andlauer, incensed at the steepness of his club’s punishment for botching Dadonov’s no-trade list, pull a Lou Lamoriello? Could the Sens salvage the lost pick down the road?

“I consider the matter closed,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday in Stockholm, where he is promoting the Global Series. “But I’m always open for dialogue with owners on any subject they want at any point in time.” 

Bettman says Andlauer is free to express himself and reach out to the league at any time.

Andlauer did not bite his tongue when addressing the Dadonov ruling a couple weeks ago.

“Why I inherited this is beyond me,” the owner said. “There’s no reason for (the Dadonov ruling) to last that long. I knew about it… and it was basically, from the seller’s perspective, it was really a non-issue. I don’t know if a first-rounder is a non-issue to you guys, but it is to me.”

Bettman was given a chance to respond to Andlauer Thursday.

“I’m not gonna get into a public debate with Michael Andlauer. I don’t think that’s constructive for him, me, or the league,” Bettman said. 

“I’m more than comfortable with what we did. And maybe on reflection, Michael will be, if he’s not already, more comfortable with the way things were handled.”

Free advice to Andlauer: Wait until the final year of the sacrificed draft pick, then petition for a lessened punishment.

Pinto betting suspension resulted from lack of ‘common sense’

While specifics of Shane Pinto’s break of NHL betting protocol remain vague, one of the by-products of the unsigned forward’s 41-game suspension has been a questioning of whether or not NHL players have been properly informed what they can and cannot do with regards to wagering.

“What’s clear is there was no betting on NHL hockey, but there are lots of ways that you can involve yourself in sports betting that are inappropriate. Most of them are common sense, OK?” Bettman said. 

“Without telling you what Shane did or didn’t do, if you’re in a jurisdiction where you’re not supposed to be betting, you shouldn’t be betting. If you’re betting on a platform that says you shouldn’t be sharing an account, you shouldn’t be sharing an account. Or in a jurisdiction where people shouldn’t be placing bets for you, you shouldn’t be doing that. 

“I mean, there’s a litany of things that, as a matter of common sense, people know. And the players get briefed on this annually by security. We do briefings on it at the rookie orientation program. There’s no surprise here.”

Bettman was pressed as to how a player not under contract — Pinto is still a restricted free agent — can begin serving a ban.

“My guess is he doesn’t have a contract because of the suspension,” Bettman said. “People knew that he was being investigated.

“I presumed that his team didn’t think it was a good idea to sign him while the investigation was going on. So, in fact, that was sort of de facto suspension.”

Bottom line: The league wanted to make sure Pinto would not be paid for a half a season.

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