No disrespect to the fans of those teams, and no disrespect to the ownership who are trying to make it work, however, Bettman had to know it would not be feasible to maintain teams in most of those markets (FLA, Az, TB to name a few). But he went after it for the short term gains (relocation fees, concessions, merchandizing) and said "Screw the fans", which is exactly the same tact he is taking with the CBA.
After the lock-out in 03-04, and the subsequent CBA negotiations he got what the owners wanted - Cap, roll back of salaries - the BIG Two. They said this would fix all that is wrong with the league. 7 yrs later to the day, Bettman is (as per owners request) whining that the BILLIONS the league has made since the last lockout is a sign that NHL may not be feasible to run on current standards set by the last CBA, and the spending of the OWNERS needs to be 'marginalized' or downgraded as salaries are out of whack.
One wonders if there wasn't a conversation with said owners when Wang gave Rick Dipietro the first in a long line of CRAZY contracts? Or Leonidis when he offered Ovie his, or..... you see what I am getting at. The owners did this to themselves. They created a market value on players based on their belief (maybe?) that the contracts were feasible. They are the ones who push salaries up, which in turn brings Agents to quote the obviously ridiculous salaries in 'like' players contracts as a reason for their client to receive the same or more.
Bettman has a plan of his own which is beyond the scope of any other current discussions. I have no doubt that he has plans for NHL in Seattle and other US based cities (which is fine as long as it doesn't water down the product on the ice - which seriously only happens if Seattle is a team who wins out of some other US cities loss- contraction or relocation). Those are the behind closed doors conversations that are left out of the media... and why... without Owners consent do you think this is? Because Bettman has sold ideas to the league which they believe. And why not? When he has brought teams to places -despite their lacking fan base, despite their product on the ice- where for a short while the owner made money. Now he's trying to backpedal out of the last CBA as fast as he can tread water because he knows there was an error in judgement, and more money to be gathered off the backs of the fans.
So for the good of the sport, I think Bettman needs to go.