Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nhl Commissioner Thrilled with Series Weekend

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nhl Commissioner Thrilled with Series Weekend

Article excerpt

Gary Bettman leaned back in his leather chair Saturday in the second intermission of the Penguins' 4-2 Stadium Series win against the Flyers at Heinz Field, the windows to his suite flung open to soak in the excitement from the 67,318 in attendance.

The NHL commissioner -sporting a casual look with jeans, tennis shoes and a Stadium Series pullover -cracked an ear-to-ear smile, the had-'em-all-the-way look of someone thrilled with his surroundings.

Returning to the same venue for the first time in NHL outdoor game history did not result in some sort of calamity. It turned out to be a smashing success. The game delivered a festival-like atmosphere all week, one that certainly impressed Bettman.

"The buzz was incredible," Bettman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette during a one-on-one interview. "The number of people at the Centennial truck tour last night and today, the number of people before the game . somebody told me there were 1,500 people online at one point to get their picture with the Stanley Cup. It's just been incredible.

"I got in yesterday morning. The city had an incredible buzz. What's been fun to see is the number of Flyers fans that made the trip over."

Bettman touched on a number of other topics during the session, including the future of this series and whether it will eventually find its way to PNC Park.

Before that, though, Bettman indicated that an NHL All-Star Game probably isn't far off for the Penguins.

Just know that Pittsburgh isn't the only market that deserves one.

"I wouldn't rule it out, except we've got a lot of places that want it," Bettman said. "We have some new buildings that want it in cities that may or may not have had outdoor games.

"What's great is, our clubs and their fans love NHL events. They love the big events. Some leagues have problems placing their All-Star game or placing their drafts. They do it in the same place over and over again. We don't do that. We move it around, which is harder. Because our clubs and our fans want it. They want the connectivity to our game. They want the access to our big events. We view that as an opportunity. …

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