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12-19-2012, 07:19 PM
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1997 expansion approval

Just something I've seen across these boards and find puzzling. Why is this expansion not being brought up when discussing the 'blame game' consider the following;

-this came on the 3rd consecutive year a franchise relocated and only 2 years after the last lockout (in which the owners did not get what they wanted) ended. And at the time the canadian dollar was approaching rock bottom with all but Toronto and possibly Montreal in jeopardy.
-the NHL willingly extended the CBA which was deemed to be in the players favour by 4 years AND concurrently added 75 jobs for them without getting a single concession from them (the only concession was reducing roster sized from 24 to 23 but the net result was still more jobs)
-the expansion choices themselves; Atlanta eventually left, Columbus and Nashville are low market teams with Minnesota being mid market
-the league had already grown from 21 to 26 teams within the previous 6 years and more than one third of the current NHL cities did not have a team at the start of the decade (5 via expansion, 4 via relocation)

now consider how things would have gone if the league did not make the ill advised expansion;
-the CBA expires in 2000. It's likely the 2004 lockout either doesn't happen or isn't as nasty.
-with the future CBA's, there wouldn't be as much to fight for. Many believe it's the small market teams causing the lockout and without the expansion, there'd be 3 fewer
-Minnesota and Winnipeg would be viable outlets for failing franchises.
-the overall logistics of having 4 fewer teams would be beneficial; all 4 of those expansion teams were generally lower draws while on the road. And it also added a higher percentage of meaningless games with 4 more teams missing the playoffs every year. And the talent pool would be less watered down

I just question with the players getting blamed for everything wrong with the sport, why is this decision not being brought up when you could easily argue that this expansion was the worst self-inflicted disaster on any sports league?

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