All Signs Point To More Hockey In The Desert

Jan 31, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Pacific Division forward John Scott (28) of the Montreal Canadiens stands with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after the 2016 NHL All Star Game at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 31, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Pacific Division forward John Scott (28) of the Montreal Canadiens stands with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after the 2016 NHL All Star Game at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The NHL Board of Governors meeting will be held in a little over two weeks. The Board (led by Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs) will have a number of hot topics to discuss, but the biggest issue on their agenda will be deciding on whether or not to move forward with the expansion bids put in by Las Vegas and Quebec City.

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Gary Bettman put forth four possible scenarios at his state of the union address by a week ago.

No expansion – The Board of Governors chooses to reject both offers this season, but opens the door to move a struggling team ( Florida Panthers or Arizona Coyotes) to move to one of those two cities.

Expansion but deferred – Bettman thanks the two groups for their non-refundable millions and tell them that they’re OK with joining the club. but they want a couple of seasons for the rest of the teams to get ready for what could be a very ugly expansion draft.

A One Team Expansion –  The Board of Governors choose to go with the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas or the provincial charm of Quebec City. The team gets added to the league in the 2017-18 season and Bettman and the league hope to get back some of their lost cash since their last disaster in the desert.

Both Teams Get The Nod – The least likely (but the one that makes the most sense) scenario. The NHL is increased to 32 teams, and the league can finally balance out their conferences at 16 teams apiece.

Here’s what Adrian Dater of Bleacher Report (an organization that has been very kind to the team at Causeway Crowd these last few years) has said about the expansion.

Las Vegas 1 – Quebec City 0

I want to say that I’m surprised. Las Vegas does not need a hockey team for all the reasons why Quebec City needs one. No one ever talks about the great hockey tradition in Nevada. Let’s face it, they’re known for casinos and legal brothels.

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Las Vegas is into whatever is hot, happening, and now. As soon as something has lost its flavor, it tends to disappear off the strip. Now the league is asking the fans to put up with another disaster in the desert. (For those of you who haven’t kept up with the damage, the league lost over half a billion dollars due to the ‘Coyote Catastrophe’.)

Half a billion dollars (and counting). It’s the second biggest disaster in the recent history of the NHL. (The worst being the lost 2005-06 season.) How long would you have your job if you went to your boss and told them you threw away that kind of money by putting ice rinks in a desert?  (Now imagine saying that by putting it next to a casino.)

So Las Vegas gets to join the NHL family. All I see is one of those rough family reunions where the obnoxious drunk uncle shows up and tells everyone how awesome he is (while he tries to borrow money from you when no one else is around). When (not if) the Las Vegas team goes belly-up in the next five years, the NHL family will forget they ever invited them to the party in the first place.

All Bettman and the Board can see are the (US)dollar signs. They see a struggling Canadian dollar. The league chooses to ignore (again)Canadian fans are clamoring for another Canadian team.

It’s a terrible shame. The one thing the Bruins and Nordiques could agree on was that they both hated Montreal. Some nights, it was hard to tell who hated them more.  Hockey belongs in Quebec.  It’s a pity that Bettman doesn’t see the writing on the wall.