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Gary Bettman Says Rumors Thrashers Are Moving Are Unfounded; Ownership Says No Progress On Sale

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been more or less emphatic that the rumors surrounding the impending move of the Atlanta Thrashers are unfounded. It has been, however, emphatic denial emphasized with very few refuting facts. Roughly, it's been a glorified "no comment"

Speaking before a playoff game between the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks, Bettman stated:

"I'm not sure why these stories are starting, but I'm not going to weigh in on something that is purely speculative and made up," Bettman said. "The fact of the matter is, we're focused on making Phoenix work, and that's where we're directing our attention right now."

Ok, then. Basically, Bettman's stating that they're only going to work on one broken franchise at a time, which isn't exactly news. It is, though, better than him admitting they'll move if they don't find investors. On that front, no news isn't exactly good news, but that's the impression both owner Michael Gearon Jr. and Team President Don Waddell give in respects to people interested in buying the team. The doom and gloom that's implied in the interview with the AJC's Tim Tucker is in direct contrast to the optimism of John Kincade and his Balkan. While Kindade reports that the Balkan's interes in the Hawks, Thrashers, and Philips Arena, Tucker passes on word that people are still in the "preliminary interest" phase of investing. Gearon reiterates the importance of finding an owner as soon as possible, and then mentions how much it would be a shame if the team left: "You sometimes don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it." If truer words were spoken regarding the Atlanta Spirit's opinion of the Thrashers, I haven't seen any.

Don Waddell mentions to Tucker that there are two out of town investors who want to purchase just the Thrashers and keep them put, but that's as far as Waddell's statement goes. No news is good news, but sometimes – when no news feeds into speculative rumors and the possibility of bad news – it's unwelcome.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.