Sunday, July 13, 2008

3 years after the lockout, right back where we started from

The latest on the Boots Del Biaggio debacle makes it feel like the NHL's been taken all the way back to the mid- to late '90s.

It's the whole package: Roguish ownership, the prospect of yet another expansion no one asked for -- unless the team is being placed in Canada, then we'd all be for it -- and maybe even alternate jerseys. Ticket prices, as ever, remain almost beyond the reach of what any honest person can afford, but that goes without saying.

The Boots bombshell from this morning is that he basically tried to woo investors in the Nashville Predators by assuring them that the team could be moved -- which, if that's true, makes Gary Bettman pleading ignorance over the whole matter look even more abject. Greater minds have already pointed out that the revelations over these shenanigans only cover up something that might even be more scandalous:

"Included in the Nashville Group's projection of the team financials going out to 2011-2012 is a footnote alongside the team revenue estimate for the 2010-2011 season which says, 'Assumes a $15.0 million expansion fee received.' Gentlemen, start your speculation!" -- The Forechecker
Damn. At 15 mil a team, that works out to $450 million US in expansion fees -- probably two new teams. Adding expansion teams in a league where a good-sized handful of U.S.-based teams are really struggling -- with the way the U.S. economy is going, even the Pittsburgh Penguins, coming off a Stanley Cup final run, aren't on too sure a footing -- is really grating.

Del Biaggio investors want answers (Brandon Bailey and Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News; via Mirtle)
Del Biaggio planned to seize, move team; Local owner says contract protected Preds (Brad Schrade, The Tennessean)
Forget the Del Biaggio drama, is NHL expansion on the horizon? (Dirk Hoag, The Forechecker)
Truth about Boots Del Biaggio: He was ready to move Preds (Puck Daddy)

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