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For 40 years Canadians have seen the NHL expand into US markets where the locals have little interest in hockey. We understand that in some cases this has been a good thing for hockey, expanding interest in the sport and creating new hockey markets. We also understand that sometimes the local Canadian hockey market couldn’t afford to support the team, as was the case briefly in Winnipeg and Quebec, mainly due to the currency exchange rate. However, hockey markets like Montreal and especially Toronto are starving for additional NHL teams. Toronto could easily support an additional two teams, probably one west of the city and one to the north. NHL Commissioner Gary Betman shut down expansion into Toronto when investors wanted to move the money losing Phoenix Coyotes to Toronto. Betman would rather prop up money losing US teams than add teams in markets where people love hockey and would fill seats in arenas. Yes there are US expansion success stories, such as Nashville, but it’s ridiculous that teams like the Florida Panthers should exist while Toronto has only one NHL team. The city of Toronto is now bigger than the city of Chicago, which has two Major League Baseball teams. If Chicago can support two baseball teams, surely Toronto can support two hockey teams.
Even though Gary Count Chocula Bettman tried to downplay expansion with a litany of caveats, the NHL will almost certainly expand in time for the 17-18 season. In a test season ticket sale in Las Vegas 13,500 seat deposits were collected in a short period of time, which is pretty good. The AEG/MGM partnership could certainly afford the half billion dollar expansion fee and an NHL club as an anchor tenant would help fill the gaps between concerts and big ticket fights at the arena already under construction. In my opinion, Vegas is a done deal so what will the club be called? The Outlaws name is perfect, but taken. Maybe revive the Las Vegas Posse? I think the Las Vegas Vagabonds, Las Vegas Lewd or Degenerate Hookers (Ho's for short. Go Ho's Go) could work. I also think Phoenix will move to Quebec and a second new club will be added. I hear Seattle is in the running, but with an expansion fee of $500M or higher the smart move would be to add a second Toronto club. Thoughts?
A simple proposition: Since Bill C-290 has been overwhelmingly passed by the democratically elected House of Commons but stalled by the unelected Senate, and since C-290 only seeks to repeal a section of the Criminal Code of Canada and does not seek to add or amend any paragraph to the CCC, therefore, should C-290 be defeated or die on the order paper when Stephen Harper has the Governor General prorogue Parliament later this year, then: - would the Prime Minister be justfied of he were to advise the GG to use the Royal Prerogative of Mercy to extend a general amnesty that would grant unconditional immunity from prosecution to any party that may contravene Paragraph 207(4)b of the CCC, either now or in the future? - and if the GG issued such an amnesty, would that amnesty for all intents and purposes have the same legal effects as Bill C-290? I believe the answer to both questions is yes.
Now that hockey is back I feel like pontificating on how we could make the game better. In your opinion, what changes or tweaks would improve the game? I have several ideas but I'll start with two: 1) Division winners should not be guaranteed a top 3 playoff seeding, just a playoff spot. 2) If we're sticking with this conference layout for now then I think the top 3 teams in each conference should be able to choose their first round playoff opponent. First place chooses their preferred opponent in the bottom 4, followed by second and third place. I think it will make the regular season a little more meaningful.