Gary Bettman gets a lot of heat for the NHL's failed expansion franchise in Atlanta and the struggling franchise in Phoenix. But the addition of franchises in Minnesota and Nashville were two of the best decisions Bettman has made as commissioner.
When the North Stars left Minnesota for Dallas, fans in one of the greatest hockey states in the United States were beyond devastated. When the NHL brought hockey back to Minnesota seven years later, it was a time for rejoicing.
The Xcel Energy Arena is one of the NHL's most beautiful arenas both inside and out. The Wild are moving toward becoming a successful team in the Western Conference and local support is amazing.
In Nashville, which entered the NHL in 1998, the community really has come to embrace hockey. The fans there take hockey seriously, and there are tons of traditions that have been started by fans in the Nationwide Arena.
The Predators are also a team that is on the rise, and when a team wins, it only makes things better for the local economy.
Overall, these two expansions added great teams to the Western Conference, and they should be exciting to watch once the 2012-13 season gets underway.