National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman admitted that he “picked teams out of a hat” when determining the league’s new realignment plan.
“How else would Tampa Bay and Vancouver get in the same division?” Bettman mused in an interview with the NHL Network. “Besides, who the hell in this league is smart enough to actually come up with something logical?”
“We did luck out with a few team placements,” Bettman said. “The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will play together, but it’s too bad the Islanders will be with the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets.”
According to Bettman, future league expansion was a consideration when the plan was formulated. “If we add cities like Memphis or Omaha, we’ll think a bit harder as to where they would fit. In any event, we’ll try to get them within six or seven hundred miles of the next closest teams.”
When asked by the network’s Bill Pidto about how he decided on a “hat pick,” Bettman shrugged.
“The process wasn’t much different than when we decided on the lockout. Heads lockout, tails play hockey.”