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Bettman: Expansion repeat possible

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shares the sports world’s amazement at the Vegas Golden Knights’ ability to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.

But if the league adds another team in Seattle in the near future, Bettman expects it to have every opportunity to accomplish the same feat under the same favorable expansion terms given to Vegas.

The commissioner also acknowledged that the Emerald City could secure that expansion team within the year.

The Golden Knights are hosting the Washington Capitals after winning the Western Conference in an inaugural season that “quite simply astonished the sporting world,” Bettman said in his usual state-of-the-league remarks before the Final opened on Monday night.

Sour grapes were understandable among the fans of other NHL teams after Vegas’ incredible ascent to the top of a league with 12 other teams that have never won the Stanley Cup and seven more that haven’t won it in the last 20 years.

The Golden Knights cleverly built this winner with an undeniably generous expansion draft that allowed them to select the likes of franchise goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and many other proven NHL players. Yet Bettman said he has received “no pushback whatsoever” about the favorable expansion draft from the league’s other 30 owners.