« Panthers GameDay LIVE! Florida Panthers 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3 (FINAL-SO) | Main | OnFrozenFilm: Pete DeBoer, Chicago Postgame 10/02/09 »

Gary Bettman: Florida is Doing Swell

Bettman HELSINKI -- Gary Bettman was on New York's WFAN today and was asked about the state of hockey in the Sun Belt, specifically Florida, Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

Here's what the NHL commissioner had to say:

Atlanta, the owners have been in litigation for the last 3 years and I think that ill sort itself out.  Nashville is doing OK. 

Florida is in a rebuilding mode and I think that there is a good fan base in South Florida, but when you don’t make the playoffs I think now for eight or nine years it begins to take its toll.

''That is not a market that I really worry about long term because I think if the team starts winning the fans will show.”

Here's Bettman on the Phoenix situation:

On the state of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise:

“Well thankfully the Coyotes are in Phoenix where they belong.  The judge’s ruling while he rejected both bids he did the rejection a little differently for each of us.  For the Balsillie bid that wants to move the club, he said that:  You’re basically done because the league and in fact the owners disapproved you as an owner and as a bankruptcy judge I am not in the position to order you into the league.  So he is done.  In our case he said: From a matter of a bankruptcy court fairness, we are not sure we like the way you structured your bid but you are welcome to come back and try again.  In the interim, the club is being supervised by the court and it is being run by the then current owner, Jerry Moyes and us, which isn’t an ideal situation but I think some of the uncertainty about this season has now been lifted and fans can focus on the fact that the team will certainly be there this season and hopefully beyond because that’s our goal.  The reason we put in our bid was after all the local potential bidders got chased away we wanted to try and get the club out of bankruptcy and try and sell it to somebody that wants to rebuild the club in Phoenix where we think the team can succeed.”

On who will make roster and trade decisions for the Coyotes:

“Donnie Maloney is the General Manager, formerly of the Rangers.  (Host: Do you guys have oversight?)  There is oversight on anything extraordinary, but in terms of day-to-day operations the general manager and the president are running the club as they should be.”

Thanks to WFAN for the transcript.