Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hoserdome 2009: Oh, that court thingy...

The stickiness of a sports business story is usually in inverse proportion to how sticky it is outside. People might have missed the story about a court finding the NHL has been underfunding pensions, especially in Ontario, where it's probably bigger news the LCBO strike has been averted.
"The decision by Ontario Superior Court means the league will have to top up its pension fund by as much as $30 million and may have to make retroactive payments to the widows of deceased players.

"The suit, brought forward last year by the NHL Players' Association, charged that errors in the calculation of pensions for players who died before 1986 meant their widows received as little as 10 per cent of the funds entitled to them."
This does not necessarily go all the way to Gary Bettman and Bill Daly, but it whets the thirst for reading about what depths of malevolence to which a league will sink. Point being, it will be really interesting to see what kind of reception Bettman and/or Daly get on Friday at the NHL draft in Montreal, since it would be his first appearance in Canada since a bankruptcy court dealt a setback to Jim Balsillie's plan to buy the Phoenix Coyotes (which is still very much a going concern).

Meantime (and there is a damned-if-you-do element to this space blogging on hockey on the 24th of June), there are a couple fish to toss out there.

  • Have you heard the one about Dany Heatley being traded to Vancouver for the Daniel and Henrik Sedin? It would not come as a shock, after reading Bruce Garrioch's story, that the Senators might end up getting stuck with Heatley.

  • Ex-Senator Martin Havlat Twittered that he is "only thinking about singing with Chicago."

  • Actual words from an actual FAN 590 caller:
    "Any real Leafs fan knows the only way to get better is to suck."
    Believe it or not, people are already entertaining the idea of finishing dead last and earning the right to draft Taylor Hall No. 1 overall. That would certainly explain why the Leafs would have interest in bringing in ex-Senators Wade Redden and Peter Schaefer: They're planning to tank the season.

  • Further to the point about the fault-finding mission with John Tavares, check out an interview that OHL coach Dave Cameron did with Islanders Point Blank:
    "As a head coach in the OHL, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we over-play our best players. These young men play too much. It is impossible for them or for anyone to go full-out over a 100-game season as a teenager. We ask too much of them. So if anyone - the scouts, the experts, the fans - want to focus on gaps in a young player’s game, there will always be areas to pick apart."
    Meantime, someone actually said Tavares and Victor Hedman might be the same dyad as Alexandre Daigle and Chris Pronger in 1993. That's rough, man. The only common thread there is Daigle and Tavares were both left-handed shots.


Jets Fan said...

Neate, before you become too critical of Bettman being anti-Canadian, perhaps you should take a look at a few of the articles (Montreal Gazette and ESPN) along with a Fan 590 interview last week about a Winnipeg group being in Atlanta with the intention of purchasing the Thrashers and moving them to Manitoba. Apparently this deal was put on hold when the Coyotes situation came up, and there is a possibility the NHL may use Winnipeg as a relocation site for the Coyotes if everything falls through in Arizona. If that is not the case, the reports from these sources as well as a couple in Winnipeg lead me to believe something was close with the Thrashers and may again be in the near future depending on what happens in Phoenix.

If any of those reports are true, perhaps Bettman is not as anti-Canadian as people are making him out to be.

sager said...

No one said Bettman was anti-Canadian. The point went more to the fact he is always booed in Canada and what happened with Balsillie and Hamilton is still very raw. The media was also complicit in making this a motherhood issue first and one about NHL regulations second.

No doubt Winnipeg is in play (although you might want to read this first. Anyway, fair point, but honestly, a lot has to change with the NHL before one can seriously entertain the notion of the Jets skating again (although we're rooting for it).