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Gary Bettman claims there’s a third group interested in Coyotes

Vancouver Canucks v Phoenix Coyotes

of the Vancouver Canucks of the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Arena on March 8, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.

Christian Petersen

The Phoenix Coyotes’ ownership situation has morphed into a humorless version of “Groundhog Day.” If you’re anything like me, you glance at each development with one of Bill Murray’s patented beaten-down facial expressions.

At least this latest bit of news is positive as Gary Bettman claims that there’s a third group interested in possibly purchasing the Coyotes, according to the Associated Press. The non-shadowy groups include one featuring former San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison and one headed by often-mentioned Chicago power broker Jerry Reinsdorf.

Unfortunately, amid that vague optimism, there was this disconcerting bit:

“We’re going to try to avoid a move of the Coyotes, but if we don’t sell the club, I’m not sure that this won’t be the last season here,” Bettman said.

Usually when things really start to pick up in these situations, you begin hearing about the good kind of deadlines. (Example: “Interested teams need to submit their bids by Date X.”) Instead, this situation doesn’t include much talk beyond Bettman’s worries that the team might have to relocate if something doesn’t get done this season.

It feels like we’ve been through this drill before, but Bettman going on the record with his doubts makes it seem like a real answer will surface soon enough.