TORONTO - Gary Bettman understands the intense scrutiny NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is under. Erik Swoope Jersey . Goodell has been harshly criticized for being too lenient or not acting quickly enough to punish Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in a rash of recent domestic violence incidents. "I think hes working very hard in a difficult situation," Bettman, the NHLs longtime commissioner, said Monday. Bettman, who has been in his position longer than any current commissioner in North American professional sports, said its impossible to be too comfortable in a job like his or Goodells because unpredictable things happen. Comparing it to being a CEO of any major company, he added theres no luxury of having a night off. "Whenever that phone rings, and sometimes it does at two in the morning, youve got to respond and youve got to have your A-game otherwise youre liable to make a mistake, and when you make a mistake in this position, it gets magnified," Bettman said at a meeting for The Canadian Club of Toronto. "And it doesnt matter if youre right 99 out of 100 times, which is a pretty good batting record, its that one that youll have to live with and deal with." Arrested for punching his then-fiancee and now wife earlier this year, Rice was originally suspended for two games, but after a video surfaced on Sept. 8 showing the violent attack, he was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely. Peterson has been indicted on child-abuse charges and deactivated by the Minnesota Vikings but has not been suspended. At a news conference last week, Goodell took responsibility for the leagues failings in investigating Rice, saying he "didnt get it right." During several interviews Monday, Bettman didnt reference Rice or Peterson. Instead, he spoke in general terms about how professional sports leagues can handle those kinds of situations. "You do the best you can, and thats something in areas that are important weve tried to be proactive," Bettman said. "It doesnt mean that things are going to happen in any league, in any business, in any situation that you cant control, but we try to address issues head-on and we try to do the right thing on a consistent basis." Bettman said the NHLs security department and behavioural health counsellors have talked to players about the topic of domestic violence for more than a decade. "Based on our experience to date, we believe that the appropriate procedures are in effect that we can do what we need to do on a case-by-case basis," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "I am extraordinarily proud of our players and how they conduct themselves. If and when something needs to be addressed in terms of discipline, it will be. But more importantly we try to focus, with the Players Association, on educating and counselling." The collective bargaining agreement includes procedures on how to handle off-ice incidents and gives the NHL power to suspend a player amid a criminal investigation if failing to do so would "create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the league." After the NFL instituted a new policy that made a first domestic-violence offence a six-game suspension, Bettman said the NHL would continue to handle incidents on a case-by-case basis because it has not been an issue that requires setting a standard punishment. In October 2013, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was charged with felony kidnapping and assault for attacking his girlfriend. Varlamov was not suspended, and the charges were dropped in December when prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to convict him. Bettman was not specifically asked about Varlamovs arrest in light of the NFLs handling of domestic violence. He said sports leagues have an obligation to try to do the right things. "I dont think anybody whos in the league, be it as an owner, an executive or a player, has any illusions as to whats expected of them," Bettman said. "Our code of conduct is we expect you to do the right thing, and if you dont, we hold you accountable." In a question-and-answer session with new "Hockey Night In Canada" host George Stroumboulopoulos and those attending the Canadian Club luncheon, Bettman also addressed expansion and other topics related to on-ice action. Bettman reiterated that the NHL has no current plans to undergo a formal expansion process beyond the 30 teams that have existed since 2000. "Im not suggesting that at some point in the future we might not look at, but were not ready to do it now," he said. "And I dont want to build up anybodys expectations because thats not unfair to people in a community that want to have a franchise." One recent report said the NHL would expand by four teams, one each in Quebec City, Las Vegas and Seattle and a second franchise in Toronto, by 2017. Asked by Stroumboulopoulos about his philosophical opinion on having two teams in one market, Bettman explained in hypothetical terms that there are pitfalls, especially in Toronto. "If we decided that we were putting a second team in Ontario, and the year the team was supposed to start, the Leafs won the Cup, that second team wouldnt exist," Bettman said. "When you have historically established teams with great histories and traditions, the second team — even if the first team isnt having tremendous success at the time — the second team will never quite get the premier coverage." 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jokergreen0220, 11.06.2018 10:09