NASHVILLE -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman got a firsthand look Wednesday at the convention center being built near Bridgestone Arena -- a facility that would be a big part of the city's push to host an All-Star Game.
The massive convention center, which extends for several city blocks, is under construction directly behind Bridgestone Arena and adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame -- and which stretches for several city blocks.
"It looks nice," he said in a meeting with the media prior to the Predators' playoff opener against Detroit. "Very impressive looking. Big, very big."
Bettman said he expected to meet later in the evening with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
"We're going to come with an All-Star Game," he said. "I can't give you a year yet. I'm sure Mayor Dean, who I'll see later tonight, will be pitching it again. We will be coming with an All-Star Game. It's just a question of lining up the stars and making sure we're on the right time frame."
The new convention center would be a centerpiece of All-Star Weekend.
"The convention center is an essential element," Bettman said. "We hold our Fan Fest there, a number of our receptions, for those of you who were in Ottawa this year for the All-Star Game, saw the terrific use we made of their convention center, so we're excited about the prospects and it looks like that is going to be a wonderful facility."
Bettman also said the League is still talking with potential buyers of the NHL-owned Phoenix Coyotes, but that there's no timeline for a sale.
"We're continuing to work on it," he said. "I know the [Glendale City] Council met last night and we're continuing to talk to prospective purchasers who are in various stages of seeing if they can get it done and at the same time reach an agreement with the city."
The Phoenix Business Journal reported that the council discussed three bidders and identified former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison as moving closer to buying the team and keeping it its current home of Jobing.com Arena.
However, Bettman did not want to discuss any particular group.
"I don't think it serves a constructive purpose to discuss the specifics of who may be doing what," he said. "There is activity ongoing on a variety of fronts and I think we need to let it play out without outside interference."
Author: John Manasso | NHL.com Correspondent