Speaking with Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson on SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly shed some light on where the league is currently on the expansion process.
We had a good meeting with out executive committee last week in New York. We continue the review and evaluation process. Nothing will be present for votes at this point, we are still a ways away from that. But it’s moving along. -Bill Daly
In other words. Nothing has changed, stop asking me. However, Daly had a bit of trouble answering when asked directly about Las Vegas.
The perception is that if the league had it’s first choice that it would be Las Vegas. Is that accurate? -Rob Simpson
No… I mean… well… you know look. You are getting into kind of where we are in the process. What I, what I, you know, I, I think there are lots of merits to both applications in front of us. -Bill Daly
Now this is interesting. The first word out of his mouth was no. Daly wanted to deflect the question, but then he quickly realized no was not the right answer. So he stuttered his way to the company line answer about “the process.”
Why would he say no, then change his mind? Maybe because no actually should have been yes. Daly knew he could not say yes because that would completely alienate Quebec City, something they aren’t willing to do…yet. But, it’s so obvious that after saying no, his mind instantly told him, wait, hang on, that’s not right.
It’s possible I’m trying to read too much into it, just like we’ve been doing with everything, but to me when someone is asked about Vegas being the front runner, and the answer was “no, wait, I mean…” that means it’s much closer to yes than no.
Daly did go on to say this though.
People thought expansion was a preordained conclusion, it’s never been. It’s always been a process and we’re making a decision that’s important for the long term future of the league.
That’s really the only way Las Vegas doesn’t get a team at this point. If the league doesn’t expand, it’s clearly a disaster for Vegas. But we all know how money hungry this league can be, and they have never gotten this far into the process without it ending in expansion.
Seems unlikely but the league continues to put the seed of doubt out there just in case they change their mind. Which, I’ll be honest, scares the hell out of me.