Another NHL season begins tonight and Portland is not involved. When the puck drops in Chicago, Portland and the greater US Pacific Northwest will still be a minor-league hockey entity. It was so very close to being so very different.
According to various reports published in The Oregonian, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, and NBC Sports' Pro Hockey Talk, Paul Allen was ready to make a $200 million dollar bid for the struggling Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Portland and the renamed Moda Center, before Phoenix struck an 11th hour arena deal to keep the team in Arizona.
Looking back, Portland barely missed out on its third major pro sports franchise. With an arena, a rich owner, and infrastructure set up for the Trail Blazers, an NHL team could start play in the Rose City tomorrow.
But it didn't happen, and as close as the NHL got, that's as far away as it is on the dawn of the 2013-2014 season. It's a familiar tale: First it was the Penguins that almost snowballed int...