Next steps for league expansion

Does Colorado have the defense necessary to become a favorite against the Blackhawks? AP Photo/David Zalubowski

First, let me come clean. I wanted to touch on expansion in this mailbag, and as of Thursday afternoon, there wasn't a single question on it in the mailbag. So I turned to Twitter with my expansion request and you guys didn’t disappoint. So, let’s start with expansion. If you have any questions for next week, send them in right here.

Is there anything new going on with expansion rumors? Seems [Bill] Daly and [Commissioner Gary] Bettman are talking about it more than ever these days.

Dustin, East Lansing, Mich.

What about expansion?

Sean, Pittsburgh

So... about this 'expansion' idea?

Jim, Buffalo, N.Y.

Did Mr. Bettman mention Seattle in his expansion remarks?

David Reading, Mount Vernon, Washington

Following the general managers' meetings this week in Florida, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman did his usual meeting with the media who brave the Boca Raton elements to cover those meetings. As usual, he covered a lot of ground from the Olympics to concussions.

While the Olympics were being held, there were reports coming from Seattle that the NHL would have an expansion announcement this season, perhaps as early as in the weeks following the Olympics. Well, we’re currently in that window, so I asked the commissioner whether or not there would be an expansion announcement before the end of the season.

“If there would be, I would doubt it,” Bettman said. “It’s not anything we are contemplating.”

Okay, I could talk about this answer all day because there’s nothing I like more than overanalyzing comments from the commissioner. He’s as smart a person as there is in the game and nothing he says is by accident. Typically, as reporters, you try to avoid yes or no questions because you want the subject you’re interviewing to expand on the topic. In this case, I was deliberately looking for a yes or no answer. Will there be an announcement this season or not? I tried to remove any gray area in this one. Naturally, I was no match for the commissioner, who reinserted all kinds of gray area with his answer: If there would be, I would doubt it.

So you’re saying there’s a chance.

Even the second part of the answer is awesome because, when he says it’s not anything we are contemplating, he probably means expansion. That’s the assumption. He could also mean they’re not contemplating an announcement, which leaves expansion as a possibility.