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Seattle expected to file NHL expansion application soon

32nd team, goalie interference, Islanders' home among topics discussed

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The ownership group interested in bringing an NHL expansion team to Seattle is expected to file its application for expansion shortly.

"The good people in Seattle who are in pursuit potentially of an expansion franchise have told us that they are working on an expansion application and anticipate being ready to file in the not too distant future," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said during his press conference prior to the 2018 GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

A group led by Jerry Bruckheimer, a Hollywood producer, and David Bonderman, a private equity CEO, were authorized to file an application for expansion by the NHL Board of Governors on Dec. 7.

The cost of the team would be $650 million, and Commissioner Bettman said the NHL is looking at only Seattle for possible expansion. The earliest the team could begin playing is the 2020-21 NHL season, when it's expected the renovated arena in Seattle would be ready.

"The timetable in terms of filing an expansion application, doing a season-ticket drive, is largely up to them," Commissioner Bettman said. "We can respond to the extent that we're getting the information on a timely basis, whatever that timetable is, so we can go through the processes that we have to.

"I don't want to project [on a timeline] because then the clock is running and this is more about process than time."

Video: Commissioner Bettman on expansion, overseas games

Commissioner Bettman said he thinks if Seattle were to be granted the 32nd NHL team, he expects it would want the same rules for the NHL Expansion Draft that were granted to the Vegas Golden Knights, who came into the League as the 31st team this season and lead the Western Conference with 68 points through 48 games.

The existing 30 teams had the choice to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters regardless of position and one goalie from being selected in the expansion draft. 

The rules allowed Vegas to select goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward James Neal, who are representing the Golden Knights at 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. 

Vegas also selected leading scorer Jonathan Marchessault (46 points) from the Florida Panthers and leading goal-scorer William Karlsson (27 goals) from the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were left unprotected. 

"I have no doubt that if there is going to be another expansion team they are going to insist on having the same expansion terms," Commissioner Bettman said. "I think that's crystal clear."


Goalie interference rules discussed

Commissioner Bettman said a group, featuring members of NHL Hockey Operations, officials, coaches and general managers who are here, met Saturday to discuss the goaltender interference rule and reviews in an effort to crystalize the process.

He said the goalie interference rule and review has created a bit of confusion and added that he thinks it's gotten to the point where everybody is overthinking the review.

"The intention, particularly on goaltender interference, was 'Did you miss something?', not 'Can you search for something that might overturn the call,'" Commissioner Bettman said. "I think the consensus in the meeting was really more we need to give a refresher to the officials. Take a good look, but don't search to death. The presumption should be the call on the ice was good unless you have a good reason to overturn it, and you shouldn't have to search for a good reason."

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who was in the meeting about goalie interference, said the people in the room were given a refresher on the language of the rule and its intention. That refresher will be given to every NHL official.

Video: Bettman talks Lightning success at All Star Weekend


Commissioner tours renovated Nassau Coliseum

Commissioner Bettman said he went on a tour of renovated Nassau Coliseum last week because of the possibility of the New York Islanders playing some home games there starting next season until their new arena at Belmont Park is ready.

The Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, from 1972-2015 before they moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They have plans to build an arena in Elmont, but it's not clear how long and how many games they will play at Barclays Center in the interim.

"There are a variety of things that have to be updated, whether it's the locker rooms, training facilities and the like," Commissioner Bettman said. "Nassau Coliseum has been given a nice refresh in terms of the way it looks, but it's still Nassau Coliseum, so anything that may or may not take place there certainly would have to be on a temporary basis."

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