Here is an interesting perspective from Atlanta.
Jeff Schultz; AJC.COM — This is how it ends: With the weasel of a commissioner not stepping foot in the city, with another season passing without a playoff game, with a lying ownership group maintaining it did all it could to save a franchise that in reality it spent most of seven years wrecking.
Atlanta has lost an NHL expansion team to a Canadian outpost for the second time. The Thrashers are going to Winnipeg just like the Flames went to Calgary in 1980. A noon press conference today is expected to make this long, slow death official.
This isn’t about the fans or the market or certainly Gary Bettman’s fictional “covenant” with fans, which I believe he left in the same sock drawer with his conscience. It’s about greed and abandonment, plain and simple. It’s about a disingenuous ownership group, which had long lost any semblance of credibility, serving up fans swill and gruel and then wondering why the turnstiles sleep at night.
They’ll tell you they care. They don’t. They’re walking away with a fat check. While you mourn the loss of a franchise, they’re waving goodbye with one middle finger.
The NHL is leaving a city that never really was given a chance. It’s going back to a city that it left 15 years ago and that has grown by about 60,000 people and a couple of doughnut shops since. They will be discussing this decision one day at business schools, right after the sections on Charles Ponzi and Enron.