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A big announcement is pending from National Hockey League headquarters today, the DTV Investigation Team has found out, as the NHL will be announcing that the league will not only once again expand, but that a second NHL team will be granted to the Tampa area.
The need for the league to expand became widely apparent after the Tampa Bay Lightning – so far the NHL’s most active team leading up to the trade deadline – acquired so many draft picks in its various transactions, 347 to be exact, that it will have enough players in the system to facilitate an entire other NHL organization in the area. The top name candidate for the team at this point is the Tampa Bay Seconds.
The second team in expansion is still pending, as a return of the Nordiques to Quebec has been approved on the condition that everyone in the entire organization, including the mascot, zamboni drivers, fog horn operator, and ice girls, only speaks French Canadian.
Commissioner Gary Bettman was nearly giddy in regards to the expansion. He had this to say:
“Any time we can bring not only a team to the Southern US, but back to Canada as well is an absolute no-brainer. I mean, in just a few months, we managed to give back the two teams we took from Canada in the first place, and create another team in the South. WINNING!”
Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman was also very excited about the news:
“On the first day on the job here, I said I was adamant about winning a Stanley Cup here in Tampa. I think this clearly proves my determination. With a second team here, I’ve now got twice the chance to do that. One way or the other, we’re bringing the Cup back to the Bay area.”
Despite the management’s optimism over the success of the second team, some of the reaction by Tampa locals was not as supportive. Tampa native Reginald Oldemann offered this:
“What the fucking fuck is hockey? Damn kids.”
Winter resident Richard Head:
“Well, that’s all well and good, but I’ll be rooting for the Nordiques. I’m from Quebec after all.”
Local grandmother Betty Standardton:
“A hockey team? Here in Tampa? I’ve been waiting decades for them to bring hockey to Tampa! My prayers have been answered.”
Teen hockey enthusiast Tom Focker:
“I’ll only support they second team if the first team trades Lecavalier for a goalie and the second team brings back Steve Downie. That’s the only way.”
Despite the initial pessimism of the locals, Yzerman was confident:
“Look, ya know, today maybe we’re not a better pair of teams, but I think down the road the fans will understand the benefits of this decision.”
With realignment still unclear in regards to the upcoming CBA negotiations, as it stands, the NHL plans to have the second Tampa team slot into the Northwest Division, while the Nordiques will play in the Pacific Division during the 2012-2013 season.