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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Dana Lane

Gary Bettman Doesn’t Deserve The Hate

It’s not uncommon to hear fans booing NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman even if it’s just to deliver the Stanley Cup to a bunch bearded men who resemble Professor Dumbledore.

I’ve never thought this was fair even if people enjoy holding him responsible for losing the 2004 season. That was 12 years ago people, time to move on. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to simplify the blaming process because the quicker they can place blame the quicker they can start the healing process and it’s much easier to point the finger at the man at the top than it is to take the time to understand the actual process. Plus, it sounds cool to other people when you talk as if you personally know Bettman was responsible.

No matter how much more we care about playoff races the fact remains that if owners didn’t spend so irresponsibly the need for a cap wouldn’t have been necessary and do we really care that much now anyway.

The real fact is that 30 owners love Bettman and he loves the game. Bettman was awarded with a sparkling new contract in January that will keep him the top man through 2022. I’ll go out on a limb and say that at least 70% of the people who are not in favor of the Commish have no idea why. Fans really just show anger because they’re still perplexed why the copy machine says it has a paper jam even though there isn’t any visual evidence of that being a true.

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Not Shopping Hurricanes To Vegas, Good News For Expansion

Logic has always been that Quebecor, the company behind the efforts to bring the National Hockey League back to Quebec, would be better off being the landing spot for a current franchise in need of a new home.

The league has no interest in leaving the Phoenix market no matter how many columns guaranteed the Coyotes were Vegas bound last Summer. They may move out of Glendale eventually but the moving vans are not headed to Vegas, they will probably head to downtown Phoenix where the team belongsThe Panthers are staying in Surprise, Florida until at least 2023 thanks to a Broward County $86 million financial package.

That brings us to the Carolina Hurricanes who are filling only 65% of the PNC Arena. The obvious reason is because the Hurricanes will once again not take part in the postseason…which doesn’t inspire the folks of Raleigh to attend… which sparks talk of relocation. To give this proper perspective the Columbus Blue Jackets are second from the bottom while filling only 77.7% of the Nationwide Arena.

Owner Peter Karmanos has talked about how stupid it would be to leave with ten years on their lease which really just runs through 2024. He receives 100% of all parking and concessions for all non-North Carolina State events and a discount on utilities.  The reality is that no matter how good of a deal Karmanos has he needs to either fill his arena or sell the team which he has been trying to do for some time.

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Almost Time, Hang In There Just A Little Longer

I’m starting to get the butterflies that can only be compared to a six year old at Christmas. I can’t wait to see my gift known as T-Mobile Arena. My first experience will be Guns ‘n Roses an epic reunion of a major rock act and Las Vegas has it first.

Make no mistake, this arena is the best thing the Strip has done for the city, and yes, the order of that statement is accurate. The past few weeks Las Vegas played host to four college basketball tournaments, Pac-12, Mountain West, West Coast, and WAC. Every tournament director would agree the element Las Vegas brings has provided an incredible atmosphere. There is little doubt in my mind that the success of these tournaments have been a precursor to Las Vegas hosting a regional.

No one would ever accuse me of being happy with the length of the process but one fact has been constant, the league has never given off a negative vibe to the potential of Las Vegas joining the league. To give you an idea of how I’ve felt during the process go see the movie ‘Zootopia’. Think of me when Hopps and Nick go to the DMV to get a plate run from Flash. I won’t give it away but I’m Hopps and the league is clearly the sloth. You’ll laugh hard when you see it.

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Calm Now, But Not Forever

I’m going to be exposed as we move forward in the NHL expansion process. People are going to have access to the real me. A ‘me’ that I try to cover up because it’s too much to bare. I have a problem and it’s called loyalty.

I once had a guy ask me who I thought loved me more, my wife or my dog. I quickly answered my wife to save face with the old lady. He said, “Really, why don’t you locked both up in a trunk for an hour, open it and tell me who is more happy to see you”. Point taken. Problem is when it comes to Las Vegas and the NHL I’m the dog. Actually when it comes to most things. Most of us come to Las Vegas for a new start. To be accepted, to create our own identity, me included, I suppose. I’m not a guy who will ever tell you his accomplishments, but really wants you to recognize them. Not because I want to be talked about and revered by my peers, but because I want to show you how loyal I can be at all cost. Review Journal Gaming writer, Matt Youmans, is tired of me telling him how much I appreciate the leap of faith he gave me that has led to a career.

So when Gary Bettman consistently refrains from giving the city I’m loyal to a mention it disturbs me. Probably because I trusted them first without waiting for them to recognize me. I want them to love Las Vegas the way I do. So when I hear Gary say that we’re not good enough to date yet, it bothers me on another level as evident by my on the spot Twitter response.

So now we wait again, but when you take a step back and think that no one is saying anything the truth is that they have said a lot. What I hear is a special meeting will be called between now and June, before the Awards show in Vegas, to vote on the expansion process. If it doesn’t happen before June I fear I will no longer be the happy dog in the trunk.

Tick Tock, It’s Time To Make a Choice on NHL Expansion

Although there won’t be a vote in NHL expansion this week in Pebble Beach, California, you can bet (maybe I shouldn’t use bet to make Bettman more comfortable) you can surmise that this will be a defining meeting in relation to Las Vegas receiving an expansion team.

However, another development in Florida may have cemented Las Vegas’ entrance into the league. Tuesday, Broward County, ironically on the same day the league will have their BOG meeting, will vote on an $86 million dollar financial package that would ensure that the Florida Panthers will remain in Surprise. The vote is expected to pass. The caveat to the deal is that the Panthers must be guaranteed a future All-Star game and the NHL invest in youth hockey in the area.

With this development the picture has become more clear. As previously written, this has never been a choice about Las Vegas or Quebec. This has always been about the Panthers, Coyotes, and Hurricanes. If these teams do not show stability in their current cities where would you move them if you ate up two potential landing spots with two expansion teams. The terms of the deal solidify that the NHL has been working with the county to get some sort of assurance that the Panthers will remain a resident. This is easy to see because there is no way the Panthers and the county would come up with an All Star Game carrot if the league hasn’t been involved in the discussion all along.

So now the Pathers appear secure in Florida that brings us to the Coyotes and Hurricanes. The Coyotes are right about where they were in attendance last year with the difference being how competitive the Coyotes have been this season. Consistent hockey in the desert will blow some renewed confidence into the fan base because everyone likes to support a winner. Fans in Phoenix need a reason to drive to Glendale.

It’s a different story in Raleigh. The Hurricanes again appear destined for a losing season and are eight points out of a playoff spot as we speak. They fill only 58% of their building and to put that in perspective the Florida Panthers, the next worse, fills 77% of the Jobing.com Arena.

The end result is crystal clear. The Hurricanes are destined to move to Quebec who are more than happy to pay the relocation fee rather than expansion. This would save them approximately $400 million. This is a more attractive option for the Canadian city who’s currency is about even with what it was when the Nordiques left town for Colorado.

The Panthers get to keep the team in Florida with the city of Las Vegas receiving their expansion team at the All-Star break in Nashville.

Hurry Up And Keep Waiting

We’ve already discussed the term hurry up and wait in a prior post, but I thought it was necessary to bring it back up and alter it slightly to… hurry up and keep waiting.

First, there has been some rumors that the league is waiting for Seattle to get their affairs in order. I’m sorry but wasn’t there an expansion deadline in August that all cities who were interested in a franchise could take part in? Everyone declined to pony up the $10 million application fee except Quebec and Las Vegas. However, this apparently came as shock to the league who appears to be dragging their feet until the cities they want to date can knock on the expansion door. I’m sure Seattle is a nice city, but they were so against hockey that the wording for a new arena clearly stated that it would be NBA or nothing to get a shovel in the dirt. Perhaps the league should have lowered their ridiculous expansion fee number of $500 million to have attracted more attention.

I want to say this one more time. The league must be very careful how it handles this situation because once a market full of people, who feel very secure that they can go on without a league who doesn’t want them, gets the feeling that they are being used as bait to get other cities to bid they will turn their backs forever. If you drop the ball on this, Adam Silver will be in this town faster than you can deny that Justin Bieber is Canadian. Unfortunately, they will leave a scar that won’t easily be healed. We already feel like Bettman is dating us because his dream girl won’t talk with him.

I like to deal with facts and the facts have always been, how could the league possibly grant expansion teams when teams like the Panthers, Hurricanes, and Coyotes are on a thin sheet of ice in their own end. Where would these teams go if you used Las Vegas and Quebec for expansion markets? Here lies the true problem.

Make no mistake about it, Gary, Las Vegas wants you but we don’t need you to solidify us as a community. Perhaps you need to feel loved and needed and that’s why you make us hurry up and waiting.

Hurry Up And Wait

There were many in the military that used to use the term ‘hurry up and wait’. I never knew what that meant, mostly because I was late for most things, so it just was just hurry up for me.

That phrase floated through my mind as we wait for the National Hockey League to make a decision on expansion. Now the date for a yes or no is the first week of December… unless it’s not.

I have to admit the process is tiresome without any real pats-on-the-back from the league. This courtship can’t be all about wanting the spend the rest of our lives with them, it has to be a give and take like in any relationship. I understand that this is different but I rack my brain trying to remember a positive comment from the league without it looking like it hurt as the words trickled from their mouths.

It feels like the prom all over again. You know, ask a girl to the prom and then wait as she weighs her options or receives a better one. I’ve said it before, if the league says no then it will be very hard for me to look at their product for a long time. We have bent over backwards to accommodate a league who is asking way too much to enter their fraternity.

The fact that they are waiting until December is not good news for Las Vegas or Quebec.

What if Arizona, Carolina, and the Panthers get off to horrible starts? This will surely mean a further dip in attendance which would ensure that life in those cities would be on borrowed time.

When the NHL says, “we have work to do,” that just means we have to wait and see if these franchises can stand on their own. If not, than how can we justify expansion when we’ll ultimately need a home for these teams or be in a position of contraction.

I really want to trust the process, but this is nothing like the process that the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, or Nashville had to endure. In fact, the Predators goal of 10,000 season tickets sold wasn’t met and they still got a team.

The Foley group has sold almost 14,000 and still the NHL doesn’t know. The Creator was asked if the city of Las Vegas was “serious about their league,” which is ridiculous in itself.

I’m glad I wasn’t sitting next to The Creator in one of those meetings, because the first thing I would have said is, “Are YOU serious about Las Vegas?”

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