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NHL's Bettman: Suspension criticism 'gamesmanship'

NEW YORK — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls teams' complaints about player suspensions during the postseason "gamesmanship."

Bettman said Friday that criticism of the league's disciplinary decisions as inconsistent simply reflected clubs disliking rulings that hurt them. He used the one-game suspension of Washington center Nicklas Backstrom for an illegal cross-check as an example. Bettman says of the Capitals' disagreement: "That doesn't mean anything; they didn't like it."

Bettman says he has confidence in league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. The commissioner spoke at an Associated Press Sports Editors meeting shortly before Shanahan was to hold a hearing with Phoenix forward Raffi Torres. Torres is suspended indefinitely for launching himself into Chicago's Marian Hossa on Tuesday.

Nine players were issued suspensions through the first eight days of the playoffs.