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NHL’s Gary Bettman hopes for clarity on season by end of April

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he hopes to have a better understanding by the end of April as to when the season can resume.

“I think right now there’s too much uncertainty,” Bettman said Tuesday on “Lunch Talk Live” on NBC Sports Network. “From an NHL standpoint, we’re viewing all of our options. We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light.”

Bettman’s comments echoed those of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who on Monday said on the league’s Twitter account that he does not expect to make any decisions regarding the season until May. So for the next month, Bettman will continue to talk with the NHL’s decision-makers and plot out scenarios for a return if the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

One of several ideas is playing at neutral sites such as Grand Forks, North Dakota. Bettman said it would be ideal to complete the regular season — the NHL has played 1,082 of 1,271 regular-season games — but understands that might not be possible.

He said he’s willing to play well past the league’s normal stopping point in mid-June to finish the rest of the season. He said he’s confident rinks will be able to create good ice even in the summer heat.

“I do believe we can play well into the summer,” Bettman said. “We can handle making ice now in any condition.”

Fleury makes bracket

Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s leaping save against the Toronto Maple Leafs was named one of “The Greatest Moments of the NHL Season … So Far” on Tuesday.

The NHL is counting down the top 64 moments of the season in a March Madness-style bracket. Fleury’s save, which preserved the Knights’ late lead against the Leafs on Nov. 29, faced Chicago Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik’s 30th goal in the first round.

Fleury’s stop on Nic Petan was dubbed the “save of the century” by his agent, Allan Walsh, and was one of his best with the Knights.

Kubalik leads all rookies in goals (30) and points (46).

Prospects honored

Knights prospect Jiri Patera was named to the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference First All-Star Team on Tuesday.

Patera, a 21-year-old goaltender, was 24-12-2-2 with a 2.55 goal-against average and .921 save percentage for the Brandon Wheat Kings. The 2017 sixth-round pick recorded five shutouts.

Also, 2019 first-round pick Peyton Krebs was named to the WHL’s Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team on Monday.

Krebs, 19, had 60 points in 38 games for the Winnipeg Ice. He didn’t play until Nov. 17 after suffering a partially torn Achilles tendon over the summer.

Radio rebroadcasts

The Knights ‘radio home KRLV (98.9 FM, 1340 AM) will rebroadcast the first eight wins in franchise history every other day starting Wednesday.

Each broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. and feature the entire length of the game.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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