NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Sunday he expects the league to set another record for league-wide revenue, boosted by a successful Winter Classic on New Year’s Day and the HBO series that centered on the outdoor contest between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Four to five percent maybe, early projection, but we seem to be in a good place in terms of the business,” Bettman said before the Ducks’ game against San Jose at the Honda Center. The NHL’s revenue last season was slightly more than $2.7 billion.
“We’re having a good season on all fronts. The game on the ice is good. Look at the races in the West. If you yawn and take the night off you can drop from fifth to 12th place in the blink of an eye Revenues are strong, attendance is up and things are continuing to grow. So in a difficult economic environment we’re holding our own and even growing a little.”
He also said another “24/7" series with HBO is a possibility for next year’s Winter Classic, whose site has not been determined. “HBO has told me that they were extraordinarily pleased with ’24/7' and they would be interested in doing it again,” he said.
Asked about the league’s labor picture — the collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15, 2012 — he said he had spent time with Donald Fehr, the new executive director of the NHL Players’ Assn., but their talks were not formal.
“I would respectfully urge that focusing on the NHL and collective bargaining right now is way premature,” he said. “The three other majors — football, basketball and baseball — all have collective bargaining agreements that expire before ours. I think we’re the caboose on this train.”
Rangers forward Alexander Frolov’s first season in New York is over because of a significant injury to his right knee.
The Rangers said that the 28-year-old left winger has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament and a medial meniscus tear in his right knee that will require season-ending surgery. An MRI exam revealed the damage that occurred in the third period of New York’s 2-1 win at St. Louis on Saturday night.
Frolov, injured when Blues forward Brad Winchester fell over his leg, signed a one-year, $3-million deal with the Rangers after spending seven seasons with the Kings. He posted seven goals and nine assists in New York’s first 43 games.
Anthony talks ‘advancing’
The Nets are closing in on a deal to bring Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey.
Talks on a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons are “advancing,” a person with knowledge of the discussions told the Associated Press.
The trade would reunite Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton in New Jersey along with Anthony, the person said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the talks.
Center Anderson Varejao has torn an ankle tendon and will miss the rest of the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who fell to 8-29 on Sunday.
Asomugha is a free agent
The final year of Nnamdi Asomugha’s record contract with the Oakland Raiders is no longer in force because the Pro Bowl cornerback didn’t reach certain incentives.
Raiders senior executive John Herrera confirmed that the contract was voided, making Asomugha a free agent.
Third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland defeated Xavier Malisse of Belgium, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, to win the Chennai Open in India.
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia completed an excellent week by winning a World Cup slalom at Adelboden, Switzerland, to move into first place in the overall standings.
Kostelic overcame worsening conditions in the afternoon to defend his big lead from the morning run and finish in a combined two-leg time of 1 minute 50.90 seconds.
Lindsey Vonn made a couple of mistakes and Swiss teenager Lara Gut capitalized to win a World Cup super-G race at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, for the second victory of her career.
The 19-year-old Swiss had a near-flawless run on the demanding Kaelberloch course to finish in 1 minute 12.82 seconds and beat Vonn by 0.53.