Daily Faceoff has a story about the Quebec provincial government's desire to see the return of the Quebec Nordiques.
In the story, Quebec Premier Francois Leagault says he "spoke with [Mr. Bettman], and we have meetings with him in the coming months. You have to look at who is ready to invest. We have an amphitheater in Quebec that has already been built. We are in the process of making contact with Mr. Bettman. We are looking at what we need to bring back the Nordiques. I think we are capable of having a second team in Quebec.”
This is what I call opportunism politics, a frequently used ploy in Quebec in particular. Legault doesn't have a buyer lined up, but he has the slimmest of open windows to tug on the hearts of the Nordiques faithful while making headlines and say "hey look me, I'm trying to do something cool for Quebec."
The slim open window is the Arizona Coyotes situation. They don't have an arena deal lined up for next year. If they fail to get one in Phoenix in the next few months, they will have to relocate. That might be the best idea for everyone involved in the desert disaster known as the Coyotes, but Quebec would not be the NHL's first choice.
That would be the hockey hotbed of Houston, Texas. Okay, hotbed no, but, like Quebec, it has a state of the art arena ready to move into, and, like Quebec, is the home of a former WHA powerhouse. But, perhaps more importantly, Houston is the 4th largest television market in North America, and likely would find interested financial contributors.
The odds of the Quebec Nordiques ever returning to the NHL are miniscule.
I can't see the NHL ever expanding there. It just doesn't grow the business. The NHL already has hockey fans there. Putting a team there doesn't really increase that.
What the NHL does need is a location in its pocket that it can turn to in the case of emergency. That's how Winnipeg got the Jets back when the Atlanta Thrashers failed. The difference there was the Jets had the ownership group ready and in place, and patiently played Gary Bettman's game until the opportunity came available.
That is the only way the Nordiques return. But so long as Houston also exists as an option, it is unlikely, especially without an ownership group.
But that won't stop Quebec politicians from playing this game of grabbing easy headlines and tugging on heartstrings time and time again.