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Crosby backs NHL expansion: ‘Quebec City is the one that sticks out for sure’

Mar 11, 2013, 11:44 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby Getty Images

Sidney Crosby is in favor of the National Hockey League growing by two teams.

With news that realignment is in the final stages of completion — the NHL’s Board of Governors votes this week — the topic of expansion is gaining traction, mostly in response to the league’s proposal for imbalanced conferences (the Eastern Conference would have 16 teams, the West 14.)

No. 87 is definitely on board with adding a pair of clubs.

“It’s only two more teams. I don’t see it as that big an issue,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The league’s found a way to stay competitive with 30. It can do 32.”

As for where to go?

“Quebec City is the one that sticks out for sure,” he said. “I’ve played in Quebec. I know the city, and I know how much passion they have for hockey. And obviously, with having a team there before and the rivalry with Montreal, I think it would be awesome.”

Crosby does have several ties to Quebec. He played two years of junior hockey for QMJHL Rimouski and his father, Troy, was selected by Montreal in the late stages of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

Crosby also cited Seattle and Toronto as potential landing spots for the NHL, two areas that have been rumored as targets for quite some time.

(According to the Trib’s Dejan Kovacevic, the Penguins captain is “really into” the topic of NHL expansion.)

The NHL hasn’t expanded since the 2000-01 season, when Columbus and Minnesota joined as the league’s 29th and 30th teams.

The only move of significance since then came in 2011-12, when the Atlanta Thrashers were relocated to Winnipeg — the first time an NHL franchise had moved since the Hartford Whalers relocated to Carolina in 1997.


NHLPA approves realignment

With expected return of NBA, Seattle’s NHL chances improve

  1. tfaltin - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Does a team in Quebec City mean the East can give Detroit back to the West to balance out the conferences again? We’ll keep Columbus.

  2. hy3rid28 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    as a flyers fan i absolutely HATEEE to agree with anything crosby says… but (ahh this hurts) he’s right. the nhl needs more big market team and canada is the place the look

    • greenmtnboy31 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      This is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard a hockey player say in a long time and that’s not easy. Expansion is the last thing the NHL needs and the fact that Crosby would advocate for it while Florida and Phoenix can’t sell seats, indicates one of two things; Crosby is a complete idiot or the symptons from his multiple concussions are worse than initially thought. The east already has two teams more than the west after realignment, but he’s advocating for more teams in the east; DUMB! The league should be eliminating a minimum of two teams not adding any. Get rid of Florida, Phoenix, Columbus, NY Islanders. I’m sure Toronto would love to have an NHL team, but relocate an existing team rather than adding another loser team.

      • crosberries - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Yes you are right Crosby is hoping for two more teams in the east raising it to 18 teams to 14 west teams. Your hatred for him is blindingly stupid in your case

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        green, I agree with a couple of your points about moving teams vs expansion, but you earned my down-thumb with your rudeness. Grownups disagree with others’ opinions but refrain from name-calling.

      • greenmtnboy31 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        Well golly gee, I’m all broken up that I got a thumbs down because a dingaling like nothanksimdriving123 thinks I was rude. Should I have to apologize for clearly stating the facts, whether you agree with a couple of my points or not? Here’s a clue; I could give a sh!t whether you agree or whether you like it or not.

        I’ve never stated that I hate Sydney Crosby, but when he makes a complete dumb statement like he did, then he needs to get called out on it. This is one of the problems nowadays, when someone like Crosby says something dumb like this, then we should call him out on it.

        Was the point you were agreeing on that Toronto would love to have an NHL team or that Crosby is a complete idiot for suggesting expansion? It’s a rhetorical question, because I really could not care less what you think.

      • magicrat13 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        nice diatribe from someone who does not care about a “thumb down”…

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        ^^ There it is.

      • 52nites - Mar 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        what a jerk

      • greenmtnboy31 - Mar 11, 2013 at 7:54 PM

        I have to agree with 52nites, Crosby is not only a jerk; he’s the biggest whiner and flopper in the league.

  3. mclovinhockey - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Yeah let’s expand to Toronto area like Hamilton and QC so it will be 18 teams in the east!

    Well thought out by the NHL indeed.

    Oh and thank god the reason the league just had a lock out was not because we have too many teams that lose money every year like the devils, islanders, panthers, lightning, stars and coyotes, so pretty much if we expand anyplace south of the boarder like Seattle we will be in more financial trouble.

    • bmscalise - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Seattle would be a perfect place for relocation or expansion. It’s actually in the West, for starters. The town is already getting a new arena. And even if you didn’t think people in Seattle would fill up the rink (an assumption that is questionable), folks in the Vancouver area would come across the border for cheaper tickets in a heartbeat.

  4. phillyphannn83 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Maybe he should research the reason he’s with the club he is with before he proclaims the league can support more teams.

    • bmscalise - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      You mean the franchise that proves that the salary cap system allows for the success of mid-size markets, as opposed to destroying them? Not sure what your point it.

      • phillyphannn83 - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        No I mean the franchise that single-handedly caused the ’04 lockout because their fanbase was non-existant and couldn’t support them so they were going bankrupt and about to relocate to Kansas City. The league stepped in and, along with Mario, saved the franchise from bankruptcy and gave them a little boost by having a faux, closed-door, secret lottery where they only determined picks 2-28 because pick 1 was GIVEN to the team that was in dire need of something/someone to create their fan base which, as was mentioned previously, was non-existant. Too hard to follow?? Take off your black and yellow glasses and you’ll see clearer.

      • drunk4thliners - Mar 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        Wow. Such bitterness and outright malice. I’m more inclined to think it was less conspiracy than you think. Your jealousy bleeds orange and black.

      • mmmpierogi - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        @ phillyphannnn83

        Hate to break the news to you, but a non-existent fanbase had little to do with it.

        Pens attendance rates have hung around the likes of similarly sized and larger markets (e.g., Toronto, NJ, Boston, Chicago) over the past 15 years. When attendance rates were lower, they weren’t unpredictably low given the size of the market and the team’s performance at the time; attendance rates vary with team performance all over the league, not just in Pittsburgh. Add to the fact that the Pens had the third smallest arena by capacity in the league when the Igloo closed. Other issues (including mismanagement dating back to the 90’s) had as much or more to do with the franchise problems as anything.

        At least give the appearance that you’re somewhat educated if you’re going to run your mouth.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 12, 2013 at 7:49 AM

      Relax, Phillyphannn83, it looks like the Flyers are headed for a few #1 picks in the next few years…

  5. cameltoews - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I don’t think expansion is what this game needs right now. Just as they stated above there are too many teams losing money. Is there enough talent to field another two teams? I think the blue jackets, oilers, and panthers could use more talent.

    • buckyblackhawk - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Oilers need more talent?

  6. cameltoews - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I’m not trying to watch a bunch of garbage teams play.

    • zetaone - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Well if you pay for GCL, that’s what the NHL wants. What with their blacking out every single good game that’s broadcast by NHL Network and NBCSN daily. They want to nickle and dime you for more money.

      Yeah thanks NHL, I pay $160 to not be able to watch Pens vs Flyers or Bruins vs. Lightning or Hawks vs anyone. Thanks for allowing me to watch Panthers vs Jets though. Appreciate it.

      • erbaker67 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        Have to agree with this. Uverse does not have NHL Network. I was under the impression that games on NHL Network would still be on GCL. It is what it is but on topic, I also agree that expansion is not what the league needs.

      • buckyblackhawk - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        I was quite surprised as well when I got the NHL package and the NHLN games were blacked out. Didn’t make much sense, I had thought I had paid the NHL…thus getting the NHL Network games.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:11 PM


        There’s is nothing like getting Blackhawks games blacked out because it’s “local,” even though non Chicago-market subscribers can’t get Blackhawks games on WGN America.

      • buckyblackhawk - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:30 PM


        I am just happy Wild games are considered “local” games and are blacked out in Wisco.

  7. holeecowman - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    i am so relieved that cindy the queen has approved this, NOT. i wonder i he talked to eva about it first.

    • miketoasty - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      Please type in English, I understand that some people come here from other places, but in general, if the articles are in English you should also post comments in English.

  8. davidsmj22 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Real glad to hear that Cindy approves. The NHL wouldn’t do it if Cindy had a problem with it. Don’t understand why his opinions on everything and anything are considered “top” stories.

    • miketoasty - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      God forbid a player give his opinion on any subject other than playing the game. Oh, and probably because he is the best player in the game at this time, and also the face of the league.

      Also, who said it was a top story? I wouldn’t consider half the things posted on this site as top stories, but I do like to read whats going on around the NHL beyond just the top stories.

      • magicrat13 - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        i am not a crosby fan….but will admit he is the best player in the league and is the face of the game…that being said, i am not sure expansion is right for the nhl at this time….but again, have no issue with him expressing his viewpoint…

      • greenmtnboy31 - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        Best player in the game? I thought we were talking about Crosby? When did the conversation jump to Steven Stampkos or Pavel Datsyuk? Crosby isn’t even the best player on his own team.

  9. steelpenbucs87 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    While I think Quebec and Toronto (and maybe even Seattle) would be able to support hockey teams, I think the idea of expansion is short-sighted at this juncture.

    Sure, two new teams in those cities would draw, especially initially, but it would have a negative effect on the game as a whole as the talent pool would be further diluted. Not only would these expansion teams be made up of a rag-tag group of guys, but then you’re looking at 1-2 guys on each of the other squads moving up the pecking order into a position that they wouldn’t have been otherwise – ie. everyone gets a bit weaker.

    The NHL is a league where Tyler Kennedy, Tanner Glass, and Derryk Engelland get playing time on a GOOD team. This alone should be a reason not to expand.

  10. oquintero99 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    A better solution would be contraction/relocation.

    Quebec and the Toronto area (maybe Seattle) would be great cities to have an NHL team. Phoenix, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils seemed to be struggling financially. The Stars and Lightning have had better numbers this season as far as attendance.

    • cweez2 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      True, but the difference is money. The league gets a $50-80 million expansion fee for each team.

      I think the real sleeper in this is Houston. It’s the largest US city without a NHL team. It has the other “big 3” (NFL, NBA, MLB). I’d put money (what little I have) on a relocation of PHX or FL there. Essentially an equivalent market size swap, to appease NBC.

      • 52nites - Mar 11, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        expansion makes no sense. Houston and Seattle ripe for western RELOCATION.

  11. multiplemiggs - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Seattle amd Portland, OR. Done. They’ll have the fan base there no need to worry . Seattle needs and arena. Kansas City has one but the theres no fan base. Too many Canadian teams. Quebec City cant even agree to get a new arena either. Canadians dont like that? Then too damn bad go watch your OHL or one of the other thousand leagues you guys have up there.

    • matrixtrilogy - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      Quebec City cant even agree to get a new arena either. ?? So why is the new arena under construction ?

    • sfbookreviews - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

      “Quebec City cant even agree to get a new arena either”

      Three seconds on google would have stopped you from spouting pure ignorance. Talk about lazy.

  12. 5hole26 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    crosby should be the commish. he owns the league as it is he knows everything that is good for hockey. open your ears ppl and listen to him!!

  13. nhstateline - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    This and this explain the whole Canadian market thing really nicely. I mean I’m happy Sid has personal experience and an opinion but these guys have a model and data, that’s better.

  14. csilojohnson - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    I don’t see why this is news. On the Pens app, sure. Not national news though.
    Go Pens!!

  15. President Charles Logan - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    expanding on an already watered down diluted product?? awesome!

  16. shortsxit34 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Competitive with 30 teams? Wasn’t it not too long ago that we had a lockout because half the teams were hemoraging money? Oh yeah, that was this year…

    And that doesn’t even begin to include the thought of further watering down the talent with another 46 players. I’d rather see the team contract by 2 teams.

  17. blomfeld - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Given that he’s reading from a prepared script …

    you do have to cut the man some slack. But having said that, it sure would be interesting to hear what Crosby “really” thinks about expansion, eh? The entire lockout travesty was driven by the fact that 2/3 of the NHL’s existing teams were losing money. Yet here we are not even two months later and all that’s been fixed and it’s time to start growing again? While I agree that Quebec, Seattle and a second Toronto team make sense, that should nonetheless be realized through relocation, not expansion.

  18. gbar22 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Players must not understand geography too well as toronto and Quebec city are eastern time zone markets and the open spots are in the west and if all this obnoxious realignment was done to save on travel then they don’t work at all.

  19. gbar22 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    And as for the idiots bashing the devils they have sold out all but 2 games this season and turned a profit last year. Get a clue.

    • valoisvipers - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      gbar22 Where is this coming from? No one has mention the Devils.As for the Devils turning a profit last year, well maybe going deep in the playoffs was the money maker there.

  20. arejaye57 - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM


  21. jaredphi - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Where’s the love for Portland, OR?

    They even have a stadium already that can be used. The NBA’s Trailblazers….

  22. ducksk - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Hey, jealous, stupid Sid haters. Please get over the fact he is the face and voice of league, has been and will be, and has earned the right to be. He knows the game and the business side of the NHL. Someday the details will show his hand in ending the lockout. You may hate the fact he is not on your team, too bad. He is a true capt and winner. Who should we hear from? Ovie? Gireau? They are 2 of the worst captains, and what they say about the league matters to no one outside of dc or Philly. Right on Sid, right on.

  23. ducksk - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    From the great one, who maybe saved
    the whole game back in the day. It wasn’t the broad street bullies or the Russian 5. Thanks, mr. Gretzky, you will always be the greatest ever. Takes one to know one.

    By Joe Yerdon Mar 10, 2013, 10:13 AM CDT
    Gretzky calls Crosby the “best all-around player in the game”

  24. ussportsfanuk - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Well Sidney Crosby is right, Quebec does seem to be the stand out option for a team. It is a shame however that the new NHL realignment plan doesn’t make it that easy for a team to fit in to the new Eastern Conference which already has extra teams.

    Some may think it wasn’t possible to sort out a plan that improved the current situation whilst still leaving room for expansion or relocation, well I think I managed it on my blog and I also managed to keep the rivalries so people wouldn’t be missing the Red Wings vs Blackhawks and Chicago wouldn’t have to put up with only having 10 games against Original Six rivals!

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