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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman quells Winnipeg rumors

4:20 PM, May 19, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was quick to dispel rumors of a deal that would send the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.

Speaking with radio hosts of TEAM 1040 in Vancouver during Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Bettman was asked for any updates on the "Thrashers situation".

"Not that I'm aware of," he replied.

Bettman has panned rampant media speculation that began when the Phoenix Coyotes were expected to move.

"There has been so much speculation. If you go back a month ago how many people in your line of work the Coyotes are going to Winnipeg. And we're looking at that going where's that coming from. It's made up," Bettman said. "And obviously it didn't happen. And the minute the Coyotes made it clear they were staying in Glendale well now we're on to Atlanta."

Names continue to surface over who might be willing to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. Names have included former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine, hip hop artist Lil Jon, a venture capitalist from Detroit and countless faceless groups of owners.

But no name has been more reported on than True North Sports and Entertainment who have been trying to return hockey to Winnipeg for years.

"There is no deal to move [the Thrashers] right now," Bettman said. "Everything that's being said is made up or sheer speculation. The fact of the matter is I don't want people's expectations good or bad raised or lowered. If there's something that's going to happen at the appropriate time we'll make an announcement."

Still, Bettman stopped short of rulling out a move. "I never say never to anything. But in order for that to happen there would have to be a deal between True North and the Thrashers owners and I tell you there is no such deal right now."

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