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Dreger: Thrashers saga could drag on a bit

Darren Dreger
5/17/2011 11:27:39 AM
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Hockey fans in Winnipeg have devoured every crumb of information that furthers the possibility of the NHL's return to Manitoba, but league sources continue to preach patience and suggest the uncertainty of the Atlanta Thrashers future could drag on through the remainder of the playoffs.

However, there have been ongoing discussions between the Thrashers' parent company - the Atlanta Spirit Group - and Winnipeg's True North and the fact the two sides are negotiating encourages Winnipeg's chances of landing its relocation franchise in time for next season.

Sources confirm a Winnipeg Free Press report that the NHL is working on two schedules for 2011-2012 regular season.

One includes Winnipeg and potential realignment and another that maintains Atlanta's spot in the scheduling matrix.

The NHL remains an integral part of the process, however, until Winnipeg and Atlanta reach an agreement for the sale and purchase of the Thrashers, there's no reason for the league to intervene, other than to continue to do what it can to secure local ownership to keep the team in Atlanta.

As was the case in the Coyotes' saga, there doesn't appear to be any timelines, but True North is eager to get a deal done as soon as possible, while Thrashers ownership is also urgently trying to sell the team and has been for quite some time.

Darren Dreger

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