Expansion won’t be hurried

Bettman says clock not ticking, process will run at own speed


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NASHVILLE — Expansion will not be rushed, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said again Saturday during a press conference at the league’s all-star weekend.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/01/2016 (2384 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

NASHVILLE — Expansion will not be rushed, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said again Saturday during a press conference at the league’s all-star weekend.

Applications are being considered from Quebec City and Las Vegas, which could make the league 32 teams.

“I’ve always said the earliest we’d expand is (20)17-18 and whatever we do, the clubs need at least a full year of figuring out how to manage their rosters,” Bettman said. “So as long as there’s at least a year of lead time, we could make ’17-18. But if we don’t make ’17-18, we don’t make ’17-18.

Mark Humphrey / The Associated Press NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a news conference before the NHL All-Star hockey game skills competition Saturday in Nashville.

“There’s never been any 60-minute game here where the clock’s going to run out. We get to do this in as orderly and deliberate a fashion, as ultimately the board of governors wants to.”

Bettman said the decision by the executive committee, which will come in the form of a recommendation to the larger board, could still be months away. He wouldn’t commit to any vote taking place at the next scheduled meeting in June.

“The executive committee… met, I think two weeks ago and the process is continuing,” he said. “We’re not ready to make a recommendation. That’s something that’ll be done over the next few months.

“And that recommendation could be no expansion, one team or two teams.”

Bettman said there has been no input from the Quebec City group they might be reluctant to proceed because of the weakness of the Canadian dollar.

“We haven’t been led to believe to the contrary by Quebecor, who’s the applicant, so I don’t think in that regard anything has changed in the process,” Bettman said.

The commissioner also said chatter that Seattle may still be considering getting into the expansion game because of the league’s slow pace on Las Vegas and Quebec City was unfounded.

“Frankly, if somebody wanted to give us an application right now, we wouldn’t take it,” he said.

Bettman had a question Saturday about the Canadian dollar’s weakness and its possible affect on revenues and the salary cap.

He said he was relatively unconcerned, that the cap, while projected to increase US$2 or US$3 million next season, might just wind up being flat for 2016-17.

“We didn’t discuss that today,” Bettman said. “Right now with the volatility of the Canadian dollar, all it can lead to is speculation. I think it’s safe to say, if the Canadian dollar goes down vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar, numbers will get a little softer because the revenue which is used to compute the cap (goes down).

“Nobody’s overly concerned because I believe we’re going to be in the same universe. I don’t think it’s all that material.”

The presence of John Scott this weekend, voted as the Pacific Division captain before he was traded by the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens, then sent to the AHL, has been much talked about in Nashville.

Bettman was asked to clarify the league’s approach to the situation.

“This was a campaign that was created. Maybe it was aimed at the league, maybe it was aimed at the all-star game,” he said. “Maybe it was aimed at John Scott, but he had a decision to make — did he want to be here. Once he decided, taking everything into account, that he wanted to be here, it was a closed issue from our standpoint.”

Bettman declined to comment on Scott’s revelation in his article for The Players Tribune that someone from the league asked him if his kids “would be proud of him,” if he participated here this weekend.

“I’m not going to get into who said what,” Bettman said. “Those discussions aren’t particularly relevant because he made the decision to be here and we’re all good with that and he knows that.”

The commissioner also revealed Los Angeles will host next year’s all-star weekend right near the start of the league’s 100th anniversary year.

He also said there is still a lot of time before the NHL has to decide on whether to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Expenses, travel to Korea and insurance are current issues to be debated. Expect a decision late this year.

Bettman also said he was encouraged with how well the league’s introduction of coaches’ challenges have gone this season and hopes the NHL will be able to install more cameras to help with some of the off-side reviews.

“I think there will be more cameras in our future,” he said. “I think we rely too much on broadcast networks.”



Updated on Saturday, January 30, 2016 9:26 PM CST: Updated story and added sidebar.

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