There is currently no NHL first scenario for the Hansen arena project in Seattle, but that has not kept the league from pining over the Emerald City, according to columnist Tony Gallagher.
Gallagher penned a column for TheProvince.com, which opines that some serious wheels are in motion toward NHL expansion to Las Vegas and Seattle, in spite of the public stance of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Not only that, but the question is shifting from if to when and there may even be more than two cities involved. Here are some pertinent passages.
Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City.
With all the activity going on in the Seattle area in the last little bit it would be quite a stretch to imagine that much time and effort being spent by so many wealthy men being frittered away for nothing.
"We have not decided to engage in a formal expansion process but we listen to expressions of interest. It's not something we've seriously considered yet."
Like hell it isn't. They'd have to be nuts not to be thinking about it seriously.
Let's make something very clear. This is a column, which doesn't make it fact. However, there is some new information here. Having sources say that Vegas is a done deal is a pretty huge statement.
If nothing else, Seattle is still a major piece of the NHL's internal conversation.
To state the obvious, however, none of this will matter unless we make that SoDo arena shovel ready. Let's get these EIS/SEPA reviews done and approved. Then let's see what happens with the NBA. Then let's see what happens with the NHL.
I must tell you that write-ups like this truly make me wish the NHL-first scenario was a possibility, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards. Perhaps if I shivered like a cold, wet puppy and said pretty please?
UPDATE: NHL DENIES
The NHL has publicly denied the expansion rumors from yesterday. King5.com did a story on it.