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Expansion talk continues at Board of Governors

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The exploration into the feasibility of NHL expansion continued Monday at the Board of Governors meeting here. However, a deadline for an expansion decision has yet to be established.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said it remains a possibility that the League could expand in time for the 2017-18 season, but issued no promises it will happen.

"The Board will need to vote at such point in time that we decide there is something to put to the Board to vote on, which will be after the Executive Committee begins and finishes its deliberations and is prepared to make a recommendation," Commissioner Bettman said. "We haven't set a date. We're not on a timetable."

The Executive Committee of the Board met for approximately three hours Monday morning to discuss the applications from Las Vegas and Quebec City. It heard extensive presentations from representatives of the two markets during a meeting in New York before the season began.

The expansion discussion was brought to the main body for an update on where the the process stands.

"I think overwhelmingly, we were at 99 percent in terms of the information they needed and wanted," Commissioner Bettman said.

The next step, according to Bettman, will have the Executive Committee begin deliberations to determine if it's worth proceeding with the expansion process. No timetable has been set for those deliberations.

"Will they do that in the foreseeable future? Yes," Commissioner Bettman said. "Will it be in the next couple of weeks or the next couple of months? Maybe, but we haven't set a date for the next meeting. I think the holidays and the time of the year causes us to reflect on what makes sense with everybody's calendars."

The mechanics of a potential expansion draft and the position of any new teams in the NHL Draft are among the issues that will have to be settled if expansion is recommended.

"And within that there are a lot of sub-issues that have to be addressed in terms of not only the terms, how many can you protect, how many do you have to draft, how does the salary cap implicate all that?" Commissioner Bettman said. "There are a number of these things. That's after you get past the point do we want to expand? Are these the right markets? Are these the right applicants? Are we comfortable with the arena? I mean, the list goes on and on. It's an important, significant business decision and it's being treated in a business like way."

Commissioner Bettman also confirmed that Las Vegas and Quebec City are the only two markets being considered in this expansion process.

"I've seen the articles speculating that things have slowed down to wait for somebody else or somewhere else to apply; those stories are categorically untrue," he said. "We're going to go through this process, complete this process one way or the other, and that's what it will be. If we decide in another point in time to reopen expansion, and I'm not saying we would, that's a subsequent decision. This process is this process for these two applicants, period."

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