Does the fact that Phoenix Coyotes have made the playoffs make this troubled franchise any more attractive to a prospective purchaser?
“It's a testament to [general manager]Don Maloney and [head coach]Dave Tippett and the players that the team has been this competitive and this strong on the ice. It's nice to see for the fans in Arizona. But it's more complicated than just the team's performance. I think it makes it at first blush more attractive, but it's much more complicated from a business and financial standpoint than just how well the team is playing at any particular time.”
Quebec City seems all-go about a new rink with hopes that they might get their team back, as Winnipeg did. Do you feel they have a chance?
“As you know, we try not to move franchises.”
But you did return to Winnipeg. That has worked out well.
“I don't view it as an experiment. I view it as an opportunity to bring a team back to a place that was passionate about its team, about the game. Now, the circumstances are vastly different than they were 15 years ago, and that market is a great success story.”
The league has had to take over the Coyotes, which could put you in an odd position should Phoenix go all the way. After you present the Cup to Coyotes captain Shane Doan, what would have to say to the “owners.”
“Nice to meet you, I hope.”
Hockey Night in Canada has come under strong criticism from various Canadian teams lately. Would the NHL like to see changes?
“We have a very strong partnership with Hockey Night in Canada and our relationship by contract has two years to run. We're not focusing on anything other than their continuing strong coverage of our games.”
Speaking of continued coverage, will there even be hockey next year?
“Sure, why not? We haven't even begun negotiations [with the NHL Players Association]and the [collective bargaining]agreement doesn't expire until Sept. 15. I'm hoping when we sit down and finally get to negotiate that we'll be ready.”
The Vancouver Canucks lost the final last year and Vancouver turned into an ugly riot zone. Is anything being done this year to avoid a repeat?
“First and foremost, it's the responsibility of the city and the police department to make sure that the streets are safe. Obviously, we are, and have been, in regular communication through our security department with law enforcement wherever we play games, so we are assuming based on prior experience that we can hopefully not see a repeat.”