Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shouldn't Toronto get a first team first?

Try. The. Veal.

David Shoats has managed to do the impossible. He's taken the attention away from Brian Burke today, as the Leafs Ducks GM makes his only visit to the city this season. Instead, the puckheads are a flappin' about the possibility of a second NHL (must. resist. joke) team in T.O.

It's mostly anonymous source said this, unnamed official suggested that, but Shoats reports that Jim Balsillie would be rewarded an expansion team in Toronto after he helped to restore financial stability to the Nashvilles.

The team would be in Toronto, not Hamilton or Kitchener or whatever empty field RIM-man could find that was one-mile outside of the Leafs' territory.

Hamilton is a little too minor league it would seem and way too close to the Buffalo Sabers season ticket base.

There is already way too much being said about this. It's clear to anyone with functioning cognitive abilities that you could probably put 10 NHL teams in Southern Ontario and their attendance rank would be 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,10,13 and 14.

The problem, of course, is that "functioning cognitive abilities" is not a prerequisite for working in hockey. The ability to dig hard in the corners is considered far more important in hockey management circles than "think" is, actually. NHL head office is either made up of Americans who got mixed up when they went to send their resume to David Stern, or Canadians who are scared of their own country.

So, don't bet on it happening. Las Vegas, maybe, but Toronto will see another Stanley Cup championship before it sees another team.

14 comments:

Jordie Dwyer said...

A Stanley Cup???
I'd bet on a second southern Ontario team before I'd bet on that...

Mike said...

Actually it probably IS a safer bet to choose another team before another Leafs Cup win :)

sager said...

Better to do it before Eugene Melynk moves the Senators there.

[/we all know it can happen]

Andrew Bucholtz said...

But then how would he get his MLS team? Don't tell me Toronto needs a second franchise in that league as well...

Dennis Prouse said...

Neate - Melnyk owns the building in Ottawa, and it is nicely profitable. That is your guarantee that the Senators aren't going anywhere. If he tried to move the team, he would be stuck with a white elephant of a building in Ottawa. Why would he do that to himself? Eugene gets to be the big fish in a relatively small pond in Ottawa, and I get the sense he rather likes that.

Anonymous said...

Can we all start guessing what the new team would be called?

Toronto Hockey Team.... (poking fun at Queens here)

Duane Rollins said...

I'll go with Thrashers...

Mike said...

While it SHOULD be the Toronto Condo's (if you want to reflect the city that's probably the best name!), I'm pulling for Dark Knights, as that movie was pretty popular this summer ;)

sager said...

How about the GTA Golden Geese ...

(as in Mr. Balsillie is the golden goose.)

@ Andrew, Dennis: Obviously, the Sennies are solid here ... gentle teasing, gentlemen. I was trying to make light of the fact that Mr. Melnyk has been very assertive at making the Sennies a very good viewing alternative to the Leafs for Ontario hockey fans ... what's he going to think about having to compete with the Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and another Toronto team.

I know a couple of the hockey hammerheads were already like, "Not happening." They sound like Dick Cheney declaring the Iraqi insurgency to be in the last throes! (Sorry for going there.)

Jim Kelley had this to say on the FAN 590: "(MLSE's) argument to exclude will not hold up in court ... their best option is to be somewhat in control of how it comes to be.

"There are 3 teams in the New York market. None of them have ever gone bankrupt."

Yes, it becomes fashionable to raise the rubric when the Leafs are going through an exceptionally brutal period ... honestly, though, the NHL is in a bad way in the States, and it might have to cross the Rubicon and shake hands with the Devil (Jim Balsillie).

Andrew Bucholtz said...

@Neate: You're quite right that Ottawa's going to be concerned about this as well: that was one of my first reactions when I read the story. This could happen, but Balsillie would have to shell out big bucks to the Leafs, Sens and Sabres to make it so.

(By the way, +1 for using "cross the Rubicon": the Roman history buff in me approves! Alea iacta est, Bettman...)

eyebleaf said...

re: title of post:

zing

Keith Borkowsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordie Dwyer said...

@Dennis...Didn't Melnyk do something horrible to himself with the "other" company he owns, then had to (wink, wink) bail himself out later???

@DR/Neate...How about Army? Because then at least when the mayor talks about bring them in it won't be quite the joke anymore...

Keith Borkowsky said...

There are a couple of reasons adding a team in Canada works. We show up, pay the ticket price and actually enjoy the game.

While the attendance figures in Winnipeg weren't sell-out worthy in the year or two that their departure was considered, there is absolutely no doubt the River City would better the 11,000 announced in Atlanta last week.

If you have to go to Toronto, sure, but they'd need another building. ACC with the Maple Leafs and Raptors certainly cuts down the prime ice times for another tennant. There are enough hockey fans to fill another building.

Kitchener-Waterloo also makes sense. It's far enough MLSE can't cite an infringement on their season-ticket base and is far enough from Buffalo.

As for the name of the team, depends on the one that moves in. (There is no way the NHL should consider expansion when there are so many other franchises in trouble.) If you really want to reflect the culture of the Bettman NHL, sell the naming rights to the team.

I can hear it now. Kitchener-Waterloo Funeral Chapels.com beats the Maple Leafs 3-1 thanks to the line combo of Schaefer, Wellwood and Sundin (sponsored by General Electric — they light your lamp).