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St. Paul, Minn. — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s reluctance to link hits to the head in hockey with a degenerative brain disease found in several deceased former players has reached Congress.

League attorneys filed Bettman’s letter to Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal with U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who’s presiding over the concussion lawsuit against the NHL.

Bettman’s 24-page response to Blumenthal was dated Friday.

He said research on the link between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy “remains nascent.” The Connecticut Democrat wrote June 23 to Bettman about the league’s stance on CTE.

He cited in his letter the discovery of CTE in the brains of six former players after their deaths in recent years.

Blumenthal is the ranking member of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety, insurance and data security.

In writing to Blumenthal, Bettman maintained a dismissive stance.

“The confusion in the press about CTE — no doubt further fueled by plaintiffs’ counsel in the NHL litigation — relates to the simple and incontrovertible fact that none of the brain studies conducted to date can, as a matter of accepted scientific methodology, prove anything about causation, a primary subject of your letter,” Bettman said.

’Canes re-sign coach

The Hurricanes signed coach Bill Peters to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season, general manager Ron Francis said. Peters has a record of 65-72-27 in two seasons.

Ice chips

The Predators signed defenseman Matt Carle to a one-year, $700,000 contract hours after signing forward Calle Jarnkrok to a six-year, $12 million contract through 2021-22.

Under the deals announced by the Predators on Wednesday, Carle will earn $700,000 this season while Jarnkrok will earn $1.7 million this season rising to $2.2 million in both 2019-20 and 2020-2021 before dipping to $2 million in the final year.

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