Gary Bettman clarified some situations Saturday night about Phoenix, Nashville, Expansion in Southern Ontario, and the NHL in General.
On the Coyotes, Bettman said there are no plans to relocate them, or any team for that matter. He also said that "...there are some cash-flow issues." I'd say that's a safe statement.
Bettman said the following about the reports of Nashville buying their own tickets to qualify for revenue-sharing:
"They did not do it last year and they have not done it this year. We monitor very closely how clubs report [revenues],'' he said. "We are not going to encourage anyone to play games with the rules, in particular how it relates to revenue sharing."As for Southern Ontario, he said that putting a team in such a market is "...not that simple." For once, I do agree with Mr. Bettman. Everyone looking from the outside in doesn't understand that relocating a franchise is so much easier said than done. Hell I don't even really know what it completely takes. Mr. Bettman did insinuate though that Hamilton would need a new arena if it became a possibility.
And Finally, Bettman predicts growth of around One percent. Some see this as a bad thing, but I don't really understand how, as a hockey and NHL fan, one cannot be grateful that the economic downturn hasn't struck down on the "smallest" of the big four.
Either way, some interesting comments over a slow All-Star break. Speaking of which...
I came up with this "idea" over the Summer 0f 2008 after the first Winter Classic. As a kid, I always liked watching the Skills Competition over the All-Star game. I watched the Skills last night and I will try to catch the game tonight. Either way, this weekend is important for fanfare and especially important for the kids, who are the future support of the league. So, here's my idea.
Scrap the actual game all-together. You move the new "Winter Classic Break" to start on Christmas day, going until New Years Day, when the league resumes play. You do the "Winter Classic Skills Competition" at the site of the Outdoor Classic either on the afternoon of New Years Eve or the night of December 30th.
Every major sport has a debate over whether to have an All-Star game or not every season, and with the success of the Winter Classic, you could use the outdoor game to highlight the league and what it stands for.
Maybe I'm just talking crazy, but I don't see how it couldn't work. I understand the All-Star weekend is also a lot about the money it brings in to the city that hosts, so once again it is easier said, than done.
Check back tomorrow and then Tuesday for another edition of Playing Below Capacity.