NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined Hockey Night in Canada Radio on Sirius XM hosts Rob Pizzo and Elliotte Friedman on the eve of the regular season Monday, and talked about why he felt the new two-conference, four-division format is more fan-friendly.
"Actually, the No. 1 pro [of the new system]? And this was for the fans as well: Every team in every building at least once which we hadn’t been doing," he said.
Bettman also cited several teams, including the Detroit Red Wings — who moved to the East from the West — as prime examples of squads who would benefit from a lightened travel schedule. But Bettman also reiterated the importance of their fans getting to watch more games earlier on rather than having to stay up late to see West coast contests.
Bettman went on to talk about the idea of possible expansion from 30 teams to a 32-team league, and left open the possibility that down the road something like that could happen.
"I know that there are a number of places that would like to have a team and they’ve expressed that interest," he said. "A lot of it came out of the woodwork when there was speculation the Coyotes were dead in Arizona. So we know there’s a lot of interest there, but we’re not ready to go through a formal expansion process. Will we be at some other point in time? Maybe, but it’s not anything I have a stopwatch on."
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