An attempt to be humorous and logical about the Buffalo Sports Scene.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Fight of the Summer

The now bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes, are going to be fought over this summer. A franchise that hasn't sniffed the Playoffs since 2002. (The Curse of Teppo!) That doesn't have much star power,(yes besides Wayne, though I would love if Darcy could pry Shane Doan away) so it wouldn't look like something to be fought over. But the pissing match between Gary Bettman and Jim Balsillie is going to come to a head this summer. Both sides will smear the other. Over which seems to me like a win win situation for the league. You move a bad business, to a area where it will prosper, making more money for the league and its owners, and with proper management could be a decent team in the league. Rather remaining in a lukewarm market, where they have to give tickets away to get people to come.

You don't open a steakhouse in the middle of a Vegan neighborhood. And you don't move hockey team to the desert. I know Bettman's mission is grow the game in the US. But its okay to concentrate on your strong demographics. Its okay to fail, as long as you tried. I think the NHL needs to pull out in a couple markets to make the game stronger. Of course as a Sabre fan thats a bit hypocritical after the NHL saved the Sabres. But the Sabres had positive history and ran into a problem with the owner. The Coyotes have always been a money pit. Trying to keep them afloat just to have a presence doesn't make sense. (You can say that for the Car companies too) I wouldn't have a problem with straight out folding the team. Of course if you have a guy with cash willing to snap it up and run it, you go with that option first.

The NHL never does the "make sense" solution. Yes it does infringe, possibly, on Detroit, Buffalo and Toronto's regional rights. But the hockey market is strong, it can support another team. You would think people who are Sabre fans would stay Sabre fans, rather then jump ship to the Hamilton/Kitchener/Ontario Coyotes.

Gary Bettman will fight Mr Blackberry every step of the way, especially if they have 30 million into the team. There are many other issues as well. Arena issues, realignment issues, player issues. The NHL won't let Jim Balsillie move the team to S. Ontario if they don't want to, and may suggest another location. Las Vegas or Kansas City. Las Vegas would solve the realignment issue. Kansas City would solve the Arena issue. But if Jim Balsillie doesn't get where he wants to move the team, he probably won't purchase the franchise. Then you are back to square 1. A money pit in the Desert, that no one wants to buy.

The easiest solution is for the NHL to let Balsillie buy the team, please the creditors, and move it where he wants.

But the NHL never opts for the easy solution. So we are going to get a hell of a fight come this summer, where it ends, no one knows. All I know is if I where UFA, the Coyotes isn't a team I look at. And if played on the Coyotes, I hope I don't own any property in the Phoenix area.

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Buffalo, NY, United States
A Stay at home dad, who has more hot takes then your average stay at home dad.