First off, I find it strange that the NHL keeps pushing hockey down the throats of markets that they WANT to be in. I am sure in their infinite wisdom, they do research, but it doesn't take a genius to determine that once a franchise leaves to move to another city, why would you think that it will work the second time round. Oh sure, your sitting out there saying what about Minnesota? Well, in all fairness, that's probably the next on the block a few year down the road. They support their team, only if they are successful. Which pretty much includes Tampa Bay, Florida, Dallas, L.A.Kings, Anaheim, Phoenix,....did I miss any? I am sure there are fans in these cities that would totally disagree with me that love their hockey, and I apologize. But how can you sell a product to people that have no inherent knowledge of the game? That's no insult, trust me, I don't understand basketball, and probably never will, because it was never around when I grew up, I never played it, and it wasn't on the TV. There were no pro teams in the area, so I grew up ignorant to the game, and still don't understand it. Probably never will, and I am sure in the southern states, that feeling is prevalent about hockey.
The old monicker, if at first you don't succeed,.. try, try again, is not really a way to run a professional sports league. And to give the Atlanta region the Thrashers expansion was a head scratcher for me. There were cities out there with deep pocketed investors in Canada willing to take in a franchise, and you know it would have been successful. Not to say that I don't understand that opening a burgeoning American market to a sport hoping the flood gates for fans willing to sacrifice dollars to go through the turnstile, as there is dollars to be made with TV rights, and merchandising. But to come and see and learn and understand a sport, when baseball, and football are the Kings, is a pretty tough sell. I know IF I lived in a city with the four major north american sports, I would probably spend all my time and money trying to get NFL tickets.
Now,...to the Jets, (or whatever they may be called in the future)...it would be GREAT to see another team in Winnipeg. Why? I'll give you two reasons:
1) Move either Columbus, or Detroit out of the West conference, and move them to East. Saving much travel time for one of those teams, and the rest in the West
2) The Winnipeg fans a rabid dogs for hockey. I will always remember the intensity of the fans, their collective unity with the same colored shirts and the towels spinning, screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs. Oh sure, this is done all the time in the playoffs, but in the first game of the season? Those people LOVE their hockey, and they deserve another franchise. There was never an empty seat, and a city/arena/lease struggle cost them the Jets the first time. Plain and simple. The owner then couldn't get them out of Winnipeg fast enough after the community wouldn't foot the bill for some of a new arena, so,... Phoenix here we come,...and the NHL helped them pack their bags.
I would like to see the West Canadian coast connection again, with the Oilers, Flames, Canucks, and Jets,...with Minnesota thrown in for good measure, back in one division.
Good times. It's not what the NHL wants, but it will be good for the game.