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Bettman: Islanders sale fetches 'lots of interest,' but no 'firm decision to sell' by Wang

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Gary Bettman re-iterates the talking points.

Paraphrased: Lots of people want this team, so make a good offer won't you?
Paraphrased: Lots of people want this team, so make a good offer won't you?
Bruce Bennett

The latest news in the New York Islanders sale saga is that there is no news at all, but lots of talking points designed to keep the question open and the bids coming.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman re-iterated that owner Charles Wang has received "lots of interest" for his Brooklyn-bound club, "but he hasn't made a firm decision to sell."

In other words: Make him an offer he won't refuse, and tell your friends the same.

As quoted by Newsday after speaking at The Associated Press Sports Editors commissioners meetings in Manhattan, Bettman naturally would yield no specific details on any potential bidders or interest-expressers. But he again jabbed at Nassau County for losing the club after a 20-year pursuit of a new building and said the lease the Islanders have signed to play in Brooklyn's Barclays Center will help the bottom line:

"The economics will change for the club," Bettman said. "He's got one of the most onerous leases in the worst building in the league," referring to Nassau Coliseum. "And that has a dramatic, negative economic impact. So, by moving to Barclays, the team will be in a far different economic position."

Previous reports have pegged Wang's valuation of the club in sales talks at around $370 million, factoring guaranteed revenues as part of the 25-year agreement to play at Barclays.

In his role as a league partner to Wang and a commissioner with incentive to keep franchise valuations as high as possible, you can bet Bettman will continue to publicly say just enough to convey that interest in, and value of, the club is high, without giving any particulars about how imminent a transaction might be.