NHL commish talks expansion

Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, speaks during a NHL Upfront for media...

Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, speaks during a NHL Upfront for media buyers and the advertising community Tuesday February 4, 2014. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:36 PM ET

ST. PAUL, MINN. - Go west, NHL.

The question is when will it happen?

With talk of an expansion team in Seattle growing louder, which could help alleviate the unbalance of teams with 16 in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the Western Conference, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday it’s far too premature for people to be assuming hockey fans will be able to take their lattes to a game in the Pacific Northwest.

“You don’t expand just for symmetry,” Bettman insisted between periods of the Calgary Flames-Minnesota Wild game. “The three things you look at when you expand are — market, arena, and, most importantly, ownership.

“The fact is we’re unbalanced because that’s our geography. When we did the realignment, we have everybody in the Eastern time-zone in the East. That’s better for rivalries, better for travel … It includes the fact every team plays in every building now.

“If we expand, it’s because we decided it’s the right reasons to expand.”


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