There were a couple of major announcements in the National Hockey League today including the announcement that the Carolina Hurricanes have reached an agreement to sell the team, and the announcement that the NHL is ready to accept Seattle's application for an expansion franchise.
Sportsnet insider John Shannon is reporting that lost in the shuffle today was Calgary Flames owner Murray Edwards informed the NHL's board of governor's that he was not optimistic about getting a new arena for the Flames in Calgary.
However I believe that if you look closely at the comments made by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman today that the situation in Calgary was very far from being lost in the shuffle, in fact I believe it was near the top of the commissioner's agenda.
I want to focus on three comments in particular form Bettman today, comments that when looked at alone don't seem particularly interesting, but when combined appear to be a clear threat directed at the City of Calgary.
First, TSN insider Darren Dreger reported that Bettman made it clear that the expansion bid from the City of Seattle left open the possibility of relocation.
The three cities that come to mind as potential candidates for relocation are the Arizona Coyotes, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Calgary Flames. While some would include the Florida Panthers on this list it doesn't seem like the NHL has any intention of moving that team at this time.
The following statement comes courtesy of Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman. Friedman reported that Bettman "emphatically" informed him that the Carolina Hurricanes would not be moving despite the sale, which takes them off that list of three teams.
That was quickly followed by TSN insider Pierre LeBrun reporting that Gary Bettman informed him that he continues to work with the Coyotes to secure a new arena deal, and furthermore that they are not a relocation candidate.
So why did Bettman go out of his way to say Seattle was a relocation possibility when it's clear that the two least successful teams in the entire league are not candidates?
Call me crazy but this to me was a clear message from Gary Bettman to the City of Calgary. The intent of which was to let them know that they have until 2020-2021, the date the Seattle arena will be ready, to work out a new arena deal for the Flames or the team will be moved.