The Stars were not an expansion team, of course. The Minnesota North Stars were, though. Back in 1967-68, the NHL expanded from the "original" six teams to twelve, adding Pittsburgh, Philly, Minnesota, St. Louis, Oakland (*seal barking noises*) and Los Angeles. I have to think the rest of the league groaned when the two California teams were announced, considering the relative discomfort involved in air travel back in the late sixties. It's probably pretty similar to how New Jersey and Buffalo feel about their annual trips back West. "Wait, can planes even go that far??"
Expansion nowadays means much less for the daily lives of most players; getting from Tampa Bay to British Columbia just means a slightly longer period of time spent napping on a La-Z-Boy with the Travelocity gnome standing guard overhead. Nonetheless, it is significant that the NHL is moving pretty clearly in a direction that will end with both Las Vegas and Seattle having their own (new) franchises within the next couple of years.
If progress continues, the early target date to open the privately funded arena in Tukwila, which is just south of Seattle, is the fall of 2017.
Ray Bartoszek, a former oil trader and co-founder of RLB Holdings, is spearheading the effort, shifting his focus to building a Tukwila arena after plans to buy the Arizona Coyotes and move them to Seattle fell through in 2013. He has partnered with basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell, former Seattle SuperSonics captain Fred Brown and former MulvannyG2 CEO Jerry Lee -- instrumental in land acquisition -- to bring an arena to the Seattle area.
"This is the very early stage," Bartoszek said when reached by ESPN.com. "It's a routine request in the early stages of a potential real estate project."
The city of Tukwila said in a statement Monday that it was reviewing the zoning code letter and emphasized that -- while supportive of building a multipurpose arena -- "there are many steps ahead for this project."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has consistently stated that Seattle would be a strong hockey market and that its biggest hurdle is the lack of an arena. He's stressed that the league is not in a formal expansion process and that the NHL Board of Governors will make the final decision regarding expansion plans.
Fun fact: this won't be the first team in Seattle. In fact, it won't even be the first expansion team in Seattle, because remember the Seattle Metropolitans? They won the Stanley Cup 98 years ago, in case you forgot.
Look, everyone has an idea about where the NHL should (or shouldn't) expand. Florida and Glendale don't look all that great right now, and it's hard not to reminisce about some halcyon days when half the country rooted for the Bruins because there were only like four American teams. Oh, that's funny, I just coughed up bile. Weird. Anyway, yes, expansion. Might as well give it a shot, because clearly Gary Bettman will put a team in the middle of the Northwest Territory or one of the arbitrary geographical regions in Risk so long as you've got $500 million to pony up. Hard to fault him for that, but let's go ahead and fault him anyway. Don't forget to boo when he awards the Cup in June!
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Still would like to see another team in Texas, too. Three basketball teams, two football, two baseball...methinks sports do all right down here, folks.
Tyler Seguin on Jim Nill asking him to join team Canada for the IIHF Worlds: "Yeah, it's kind of hard to turn down your own GM." [DMN]
If you want some *WOOP WOOP* trade speculation, here are three defensemen that the Stars really probably won't acquire this summer, and thank goodness (for two of them, at least). [Hockey Writers]
Rick Gosselin didn't mince words when asked how good John Klingberg is. [DMN]
Esa Lindell and Jyrki Jokipakka are going to Worlds for Finland, per Mark Stepneski. (Enroth and Klingberg are going for Sweden too, per the same delightful person.) [Twitter]
Despite Petr Mrazek making one of the most incredible (and lucky) saves you will ever see, the Red Wings fell to the Lightning. Game seven will be in Tampa Bay on Wednesday. [NHL]
The other high-flying offense of the East was finally eliminated as well, as the Islanders fell in game seven to the Trotzian Capitals, which sounds like a pretty communist name to my tiny brain. John Tavares had zero shots, and the Islanders only had 11 shots total. That ain't gonna get the job done, boys. [NHL]
Norris Trophy finalists have been announced, and Drew Doughty should probably definitely win, but I dunno, he might not because PLAYOFFS, right? Subban and Karlsson fill out the complement of nominees. [THN]
We can now be told that Shea Weber's mysterious "not ACL" injury that held him out of the majority of the first round was a "subluxed kneecap." If you want to know what joint subluxation is, click this. If you want to read the Predators' official release, then go to [the Predators' Website]
Do you want to be the very model of a Modern Major General [Manager]? Then you need to be a ruthless, souless robot, James Mirtle says. I am paraphrasing. [Globe and Mail]
I had a lot of fun digging through this: War on Ice finally has a preliminary version of their "one number" ranking of player contributions since 2005. Mike Ribeiro was pretty good for Dallas, in case you forgot. [War on Ice]
Finally, why don't you read about a rattlesnake rodeo that is a very big event for a small town in Alabama? It is exactly what it sounds like, except sort of different. Rattlesnakes, though. [Grantland]