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Bettman takes shot at media

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to Vancouver's Team 1040 radio on Wednesday night and had the following to say regarding the NHL's return to Winnipeg.

"There has been so much speculation. How many people in your line of work were reporting the Coyotes were going to Winnipeg? Where is that coming from? It's made up. It didn't happen. The minute the Coyotes made it clear they're staying, we're on to Atlanta.

"True North is going about their business and they're taking a businesslike approach," Bettman said. "We are pleased with that, but there's nothing to report... I never say never about anything. There is no deal right now."

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star had this blog snippet early Thursday before a report said a deal had been struck for the team to move:

Finally, hearing whispers that negotiations between Atlanta and Winnipeg over the future of the Thrashers may be slowed by the difficulty in reaching a sale price. The team is valued at about $60 million by industry analysts, and the Winnipeg group backed by Mark Chipman and David Thomson may be wondering why they are being asked to pay $160 million or more.

Part of that is an NHL relocation fee, to which Chipman and Thomson might wonder why they should have to pay such a cost given that the Thrashers can't stay in Atlanta and have nowhere else to go but Winnipeg. Short of folding the Thrashers, which in many ways would be the most sensible thing to do, the NHL has to do business with Winnipeg, which should give Chipman and Thomson useful leverage.

-- compiled by Gary Lawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 20, 2011 C3

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