WASHINGTON (AP) -The NHL is ``still in growth mode'' despite the economic downturn, commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday, noting that ticket sales have increased this season.
``We're acutely aware of what's going on out there, but it hasn't yet impacted us,'' Bettman said before attending Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks.
``I have no doubt that, over time, if it's long enough and bad enough, it will have some impact, but based on what we're seeing right now, our business seems to be strong.''
Season-ticket sales are 4 percent higher than a year ago, and single-game tickets were up nearly 13 percent as of a week ago, Bettman noted, calling that data ``remarkable - if not startling - numbers, in light of what we hear is going on.''
Bettman emphasized the need to be cautious moving forward and said the NHL will closely monitor revenues and expenses moving forward.
``We're still in a growth mode,'' he said. ``We've been in a growth mode for the last three seasons, since we came back from the work stoppage.''
The Associated Press last month the league would cut staff in anticipation of the downturn. The NBA confirmed Monday it is eliminating about 80 jobs in the United States, the first major American sports league to announce layoffs because of the global economic situation.
``That is not the mode we find ourselves in right now,'' Bettman said, adding: ``We're not contemplating any layoffs right now.''
Bettman addressed a wide variety of topics, including:
- On the recent switch from Dodge to Honda as the NHL's official car manufacturer, he said: ``Dodge had been a good partner for a number of years and, I think based on a variety of factors, we couldn't fit any longer into their plans.''
- The NHL isn't considering increasing from an 82- to 84-game schedule so every team could play every other team twice. ``We're going to have to look at attendance, because our strongest attendance has always been divisional play, and we're going to have to see going from eight games to six, whether or not that has any impact.''
ical statement.''

Top NHL Public Bets

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Stars vs. Sharks Prediction Will the Dallas Stars pull off the upset tonight as a home underdog versus the San Jose Sharks at 8:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Hosts still pushing for playoff spot   Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews snapped a seven-game goalless drought when he potted his 32nd marker of the season Saturday. Can Ontario’s darling carry that...
Thumbnail Laine, visitors aim to extend Minny's skid   A season that started so promisingly for the Wild is spinning out of control down the stretch. Can Bruce Boudreau’s troops find a way to right themselves...
Thumbnail Defending champs overcoming health issues Washington’s recent slide has provided a glimmer of hope for Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division race. But can the Pens avoid a letdown tonight against...
Thumbnail Western Conference heavyweights hit Canada With mere weeks left in the regular season, Ottawa’s staking a serious claim for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. But will Guy Boucher’s club manage to...

NHL Team Pages