Some quick links and discussion points for a quiet Tuesday night. Plenty to talk about including the highlights of a Burke media scrum at the grand opening of the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence (MCHE), the GM’s speak out on the Phil Kessel situation and the possibility of an offer sheet, rookie tournament video highlights and the latest developments in the ongoing Phoenix Coyotes ownership drama.
Hang in there folks, we’re almost into September…
The Globe and Mail has got a very interestingÂ article up discussing the latest developments in the ongoing battle between Jim Balsillie and the NHL. At the very centre of whole controversy could be an antitrust lawsuit filed by Balsillie if he feels he can prove that the NHL was acting to protect the position of the Toronto Maple Leafs, rather than the league as a whole. If it is shown that the Maple Leafs have the right to veto such a move (and it’s speculated that the Leafs organization believes that’s the case), then that would be in violation of the antitrust law, and thus illegal.
The Toronto Star reports that the Leafs may get very little if any money at all in compensation if a new team should enter the Soutern Ontario market, a belief certainly contrary to the speculated territorial rights reaching astronomical figures as high as hundreds of millions of dollars. The article quotes findings from a recent economic investigation in saying that Leafs fans could expect lower ticket prices, but demand would likely still be high enough to sustain the sellouts.
And now a question to all the readers, particularly the ones in or around the Hamilton area: Do you support the notion of another NHL franchise in Southern Ontario, and would you consider switching and/or splitting allegiances?
There is a lot going on Â around the league these days. Â Â Rumours about Kaberle and potential deals abound, a Kessel signing is no longer imminent, Heatley is still a Senator, and the NHL remains hot over the Hossa contract. Â Oh, and did I mention the league still has a bounty on the head of Jim Balsillie?
All of these stories have been playing out for months now, and none appear headed toward a resolution prior to the start of the new season. Â Â It is safe to assume that despite the vast quantity of reporting devoted to these stories throughout the offseason, each will continue to dominate the headlines on days where the box scores do not.
Hitting the links bright and early on a Thursday morning: Jim Balsillie and the city of Hamilton get new life, Kadri’s WJC tryout experience, an update on the Justin Pogge situation, Leafs sign a young defenseman, a mid-summer recap of the offseason festivities, and the Marlies coaching staff announced.
Judge Redfield T. Baum has ruled that Jim Balisillie cannot use bankruptcy law to force his purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes.Â Â The judge has also ruled that the NHL’s relocation requirements do not violate anti-trust legislation.
The interview between league Commissioner, Gary Bettman, on Toronto radio station, FAN590 segment “The Game Plan” featuring Doug Maclean and Jack Armstrong, was a first hand look at the battle the relocation to Hamilton has become. Stating that after Jim Balsillie’s attempts at hijacking the Nashville Predators to Hamilton, the commish indicated he sat down with the billionaire outlining what it would take to become an NHL owner.
Well, well, well.
In the non-surprise of the century, Jim Balsillie put in an offer on the recently-bankrupted Phoenix Coyotes before the ink had even dried on the bankruptcy papers.Â Â Â With a condition, of course:Â that he would have the right to move the team to Southern Ontario.
It’s not so much the offer that is of note – it’s been rumoured for months that he was targeting the franchise – but the timing of it is quite intriguing.Â Â Could there be some legs to those rumours of a second team in the GTA after all?
This proposed offer to purchase the struggling Phoenix Coyotes by Jim Balsillie may be a better possibility this time around. It may seem impossible to fathom another NHL club so close to its flagship franchise, the Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres, but it’s not jurisdiction that’s at the heart of the issue here.
It’s the salary cap, revenue and a return to the dead puck era.
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly was on HockeyCentral At Noon today, and among other topics he briefly discussed the possibility of a second NHL team coming to Toronto.
When asked why Toronto has not been seriously considered to date as a home for another franchise, despite the enormous fan base and subsequent opportunity to succeed financially, Kelly suggested that MLSE was not the source of resistance.
Just six months ago many a grapevine was carrying rumor of NHL expansion while I lamented the integrity of a revenue bound salary cap. Even into the new season few had foreseen the sheer gravity of the global economic downturn and its impact on jobs, housing, businesses and every facet of life down to sport. Now as international markets stutter into a depression that many an analyst believe could change the face of modern capitalism forever, the NHL seems to remain steadfast in addressing itâ€™s minor successes as opposed to itâ€™s crippling and potentially devastating financial model.
After chasing down the Pittsburgh Penguins, making a substantial offer for a failing market team, and whispers of supporting the Buffalo Sabres, it looks as if Jim Balsillie may in fact receive the green light on a new buzzing project in the greatest hockey market in the world.