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Nordiques : Eric Girard won’t be meeting Gary Bettman this week after all
When will the Nordiques return to the NHL?

The question has been asked many times in recent years. Especially since taxpayers paid $400 million to build an arena in Quebec City capable of hosting a Bettman Tour team.

But the answer is always the same.

“As long as Gary Bettman is in office, …”

You know the rest of the sentence.

Nordiques Finances Minister Eric Girard has met with the NHL commissioner more than once in recent years. In 2022, Girard met Bettman by videoconference, and last May, to promote the league’s interest in the Nordiques’ comeback…

And last May, the Minister even went to the NHL offices in New York to meet Bettman in person.

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the Kings in Quebec City, and Eric Girard announced at the time that he would be meeting Gary Bettman again.

Girard was originally scheduled to spend two days in the Big Apple (Tuesday and Wednesday) because he had to attend a Bloomberg conference. The opportunity was there to speak to the NHL commissioner, but the said trip was ultimately cancelled due to ongoing negotiations with the public sector, as reported in a TVA Sports article:

I stayed here for the financial framework of the negotiations and to assist Mrs. Lebel. That means I won’t be making my trip to New York. – Eric Girard

One step forward, two steps back.

That’s what it’s been like for the past few years, the issue of the Nordiques’ return to Quebec City…

When the announcement was made that the Los Angeles Kings would be hosting two preparatory games at the Centre Vidéotron, Eric Girard was confident that this would help the chances of the Nordiques returning to Quebec City.

But, at the risk of repeating myself, it’s always the same problem at the end of the day.

The NHL may recognize Quebec City’s interest, but American cities will come first under Gary Bettman’s regime, because we know how much the NHL commissioner wants to develop his product south of the border.

It’s been that way for several years, and it’s going to take quite a turnaround for the trend to change. And it’s even harder because no team is expected to move anytime soon.

Especially since the NHL doesn’t seem to be focused on expansion…

Breaking news

– Noah Cates will be out for six to eight weeks.

– The Devils want to wait before thinking about a deal.

– A great opportunity to learn a little more about Rafaël Harvey-Pinard.

– The Senators are very patient with D.J. Smith.

– Nathan MacKinnon knows how to skate fast.

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