Thursday, May 14, 2009

Balsillie season: The NHL's game of Calvinball

Many containers of alcohol should be poured and consumed in James Mirtle's honour for unearthing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's words on when it's time to move a team, from a February interview with Hockey Night in Canada's Jeff Marek:
"The fact is, the biggest litmus test ultimately was nobody wanted to own a team there (referring to Quebec City and Winnipeg in the mid-1990s). And when the marketplace decides that it doesn’t want to own a team there, it has no future."
It seems like something to keep in mind when the NHL is pitching bull and woo about sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf's "underfunded bid" (Jeff Blair, to buy the Phoenix Coyotes so Jim Balsillie can't.

You have to love the NHL's endless game of Calvinball when it comes to keeping a team from relocating to Canada. The double standard is so obvious it barely requires pointing out. Anyway, there's only so much an outside observer can add to the mix. It is hilarious the NHL wants Jerry Reinsdorf as an owner, considering that in his capacity with the Chicago White Sox he was a main culprit in scuttling a World Series and that, with the Chicago Bulls, he deep-sixed a dynasty to prove some point that only mattered to him and economics professors. But I digress.

Stephen Brunt did a honker of a chat the other day that covered a lot of bases, including putting Wayne Gretzky in the crosshairs (which Blair also did in the above-linked column):
"If the Coyotes wind up in bankruptcy and (Gretzky) indeed endorses the alternative offer for the Coyotes (from Jerry Reinsdorf or whomever), would love to know what he's been promised in terms of the teams obligations to him. Gretzky has $22.5-million hanging in the balance here, and as an unsecured creditor, would otherwise have to get in line.
Fun, fun. Five days until the big showdown in an Arizona bankruptcy court.

On when to pull the plug (From The Rink)
NHL helping cash-strapped Coyotes (, Feb. 5, 2009)

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