As the hockey communities in Seattle and Quebec City search the internet every day for any and all news on NHL expansion, we find that even the slightest quote can get us flustered. There were a couple newsworthy quotes from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman over the last 48 that have might have gotten us all wound up.
Craig Custance tweeted this yesterday:
Asked Bettman if there will be expansion announcement before end of season: "I would doubt it, it’s not anything we are contemplating."
— Craig Custance(@CraigCustance) March 12, 2014
Then today, buried at the bottom of this article from the Detroit Free Press was a quote from Bettman.
"The fact of the matter is we have no expansion process we are going through. It is not something we envision happening anytime soon, if at all. I know there is a lot of speculation and, yes, there is a lot of interest and we are getting a lot of interest from multiple parties in multiple places, but it is not anything yet that we are prepared to deal with on a formal basis. We are listening to the expressions of interest. We have not decided what if anything to do with it."
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!...wait wait. Breath in, breath out. OK, let's step back and take a look at what was really said:
First, the Custance Tweet-Quote. The question was around an announcement before the end of the season to which he replied I doubt it. Hmmm..."So you are telling me there is a chance". The drop dead date for an expansion announcement for the 2015-16 Season is probably around the NHL Entry Draft on June 27th. Any announcement post season is also inline with Geoff Baker's and Chris Daniels reported announcement window.
Regarding the Detroit Free Press article, Bettman has consistently said there is no "formal" process to expansion. This quote is really no different. This enables him to dodge the question and lower expectations for the cities that have been rumored as expansion candidates. What this really means is there will not be a formal bidding process of cities against cities and/or ownership groups against ownership groups. This is all happening in an informal manner behind the scenes.
Finally, I know a lot of us hockey folk have developed a strong opinion for Bettman. One thing is for sure: if we do get a team, we will have him to thank.