NEW YORK—With the NHL preseason heading toward its conclusion, players, coaches, and managers wondered aloud Monday why they were even bothering with exhibition games. "Don't we have eight months of games to play to get the rust knocked off?" Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "It’s not like any of these games are any good until the playoffs, anyway." An official statement from the league office declared, in part, that the exasperation with the preseason had nothing to do with the total October attendance figure of 137.