NHL Week in Review (November 12-18)

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Expansion seems to be all of the talk in professional sports these days with almost every major professional league looking at new markets.

The MLB continues to talk about expansion sending a message to Montreal while the NFL revealed their plans for their newest relocation to Las Vegas.

Hockey has been right in the mix throughout all of this talk as they are enjoying the fruits of the first professional team in Vegas with the Golden Knights in the midst of their first season.

When the Knights were announced as the newest NHL team in the league the message was pretty clear as the league was not going to settle at one expansion franchise.

The league was uneven and the western conference needed one more team to fit everything together.

It was always assumed that the league was going to add another team but nobody knew how quickly they would do it or where they would go.

The seemingly obvious choice was Quebec City, who had paid the fee to submit a proposal alongside Vegas for expansion.

They have a brand new stadium that was made for a professional team and are a city with a pretty high demand for a team since the Nordiques left.

To many, it is a no-brainer to bring a team back after the success of Winnipeg’s return to a new environment around the NHL.

The problem is that the NHL is not that interested in another team in the east no matter how taylor made it is.

The league is looking for a western team to even out the league and add that final piece to the west.

It is clear that the league is looking for a western city to put their team and this week the image seemed to get clearer about where that western team could be.

Rumours began to rise about the league talking to a group in Houston about bringing a second team to Texas.

That group turned out to be the same group that owns the Houston Rockets making things a lot more interesting.

The ownership group has experience in managing a professional team with an arena that can be retrofitted for hockey.

It is just about everything that the league would want in a new expansion team making the speculation increase.

Both the league and the ownership group revealed that they were in talks about expansion but that their talks are very new.

There is no decision on the expansion to Houston and there is no real talk about the expansion to a second team in Texas.

The rumours about Houston took many by surprise for a number of reasons as the NHL has already apparently talked to groups in Seattle about expansion.

Many believed that a deal with Seattle would be a big one as there has been a lot of interest in an NBA franchise returning to the city as well.

A new arena would bring hockey to the Northwest for the first time but could also be a big selling point to bringing basketball back.

The NHL now seems to have two interested parties for the job but neither is really the greatest spot.

Seattle has never really been considered a hockey hotbed as the Seattle has not had the top attendance in the WHL with the Thunderbirds.hockey-sidebar

Nobody really knows how well they will accept an NHL team and so there is a lot of unknown when it comes to Seattle.

Then there is Houston which is certainly not a traditional market but the NHL has loved those non-traditional markets like Vegas.

Dallas has not been the best team in terms of making money and added another team in a state that has never really been a place that has embraced hockey.

The NHL has a decision to make but for many, the decision isn’t really the big story as some believe that the story about Houston is just another tactic from the NHL brass.

The league has been hoping that Calgary and Ottawa to build new stadiums that can better suit the league.

Both have seen plenty of resistance as Calgary is the home of the government leading the way in not funding stadiums.

Ottawa has not seen any movement on moving their stadium closer to downtown and following the trend of everyone in professional sports.

The revealing of the talks with Houston could just be a chance for the NHL to put pressure on these teams to get a new stadium deal in place or risk being moved.

With options about where the next NHL team could be located the NHL now has munition to say that there are more than enough places for teams to move.

If these stadiums don’t get built the NHL could look at moving teams although there are far better teams that could be moved, say Phoenix or Florida.

Either way, the NHL is continuing to look at new places whether it be expansion or relocation as the league continues to grow and the debate about where they should go will always be a heated one.

 

Overtime

GM Meetings Begin

The NHL is making a bit of a historical statement this week as the GM Meetings begin as they host the 2017 version of the meetings in Montreal at the Windsor Hotel. The significance of that is that in 1917 five representatives of hockey teams met in the same hotel to create a new league known as the NHL. In the 100 years, a lot has changed but the NHL remains as the talks this year will go over rule changes and other aspects affecting the game while tipping the cap to the first regime.

Some Relief in the Desert

The Vegas Golden Knights have been an incredible story this year as the expansion franchise has been surprisingly great this year. They haven’t gone through the season without some growing pains though as they have seen an abnormal amount of injuries to their goaltenders. They have lost their starter and their back-up as well as their AHL starter leaving them with effectively their fourth-string goalie. There could be some relief though as the Knights activated Malcolm Subban bringing back their second goalie.

Gudas Suspension

It has been a debate throughout the week after Radko Gudas slashed Mathieu Perreault in the back of the neck during Philadelphia’s game against Winnipeg. A suspension has yet to be handed down but that hasn’t stopped the debate about whether or not he deserved a suspension. Some claim that the slash was clearly intentional after getting into a bit of a tie-up with Perreault. Others claim that it looks more like an accident after he seemed to be off balance and brought his stick down more to gain his balance although the NHL will decide soon what they believe.

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