Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill Simmons of ESPN,
You can’t call hockey’s resurgence a comeback, because it hasn’t fundamentally changed. We changed. Twice. Hockey didn’t fit 10 years ago; now it does. I love having the NHL back in my life, even if it means dealing with Jacobs the Skinflint again. The sport is breathtaking to watch. The players are more brilliant than ever; games look gorgeous in HD. And like old times, all scores are settled on the ice.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy hearing will commence at roughly 1pm Pacific, with no guarantee a ruling on this matter will be made by Judge Redfield Baum today.
However, with or without a ruling there is a good chance that the Arizona court will provide enough feedback throughout the day to give a strong indication as to which way the appointed Judge is leaning.
There are four key motions to be addressed today.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
It’s a bully pulpit his fellow sports commissioners wish they had. Every Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hosts his own private klatch on The NHL Hour on Sirius XM Radio. For the most part, Bettman has played harmless interlocutor on his program, hockey’s version of Art Linkletter asking, “Don’t players say the darnedest things?”
But with Jim Balsillie at the door, Bettman has used the unfettered radio access to talk over the heads of conventional media to fans. Bettman plays the reasonable fixer, the man who only wants solutions, not conflict in Phoenix….
While Bettman has told listeners in the fireside chats why Balsillie is a queue-jumping opportunist, he hasn’t said how Jerry Reinsdorf — his white knight in the desert — will succeed in Phoenix where others have failed miserably.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If the first two rounds of the playoffs have been a showcase for the NHL’s greatest young players—start with Crosby and Ovechkin, go directly to Evgeni Malkin, then to Eric Staal, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews—it also has exposed the folly of Gary Bettman’s love affair with Versus and the grudge he carries against ESPN.
It has exposed the NHL’s empty approach to a television strategy, even as Bettman risks dislocating his shoulders in patting himself on the back for his league’s innovative approach to blacking itself out.
The commissioner may have been justified in not taking ESPN’s crumbs coming out of the lockout. He may have been justified placing the league’s immediate future into the hands of Versus, owned by Ed Snider’s Comcast, by the way.
But Bettman was not justified in granting Versus a contract that included unilateral options for the network to retain exclusivity through 2010-11—a six-year commitment as crippling in its own way as the Rangers’ six-year commitment to Wade Redden.
more plus other hockey topics…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• So here’s how it works in Mr. Bettman’s NHL. You falsify documents, you defraud banks, you run shell games with financial institutions, you fake having money, and if you do it well enough, they make you chairman of the board of governors, as Bruce McNall was. Reading the details of the Boots Del Biaggio guilty plea for fraud reads like McNall Lite. Phony documents, a Ponzi scheme, and stealing from the bank his own father started, and to think, Bettman wants nothing to do with BlackBerry king Balsillie, who has real money, when under his watch as commissioner five different NHL owners have gone to jail or are about to go to jail.
• Johan Franzen of the Wings has scored 21 goals in his past 27 playoff games, which are all-time kind of numbers: Rocket Richard once scored 19 goals in 20 playoff games over two seasons.
more hockey notes…
from Record News Services,
Last night, Balsillie’s latest filings in response to some strong words earlier in the week from the NHL appeared to include that kind of logical, meet-you-halfway solution. In his court documents, Balsillie offered to keep the Coyotes in Arizona for one more season if the league will let him buy the team for $212.5 million (U.S.).
Not so fast.
Balsillie’s offer was made on condition the relocation of the team gets approved and that the NHL would pick up all the losses, which may have amounted to $45 million this season.
Well, the NHL’s never going to accept that. The other 29 teams would never countenance such a deal. And Balsillie knows it.
•How do you explain the Western Conference Finals featuring two teams east of the Mississippi?
• I am starting to get my ‘day clock’ adjusted. Those late games played on the west coast sure threw my body clock into a funk the last two weeks.
• Any one moment from the first two rounds that you will go into your long-term memory bank?
• Those of us in the USA will be watching most of the games on Versus during the Conference Finals. The one thing I want to see go away is that darn commercial bar that appears on the bottom right of the screen during play (see an example in the video).
Any suggestions you have, please leave a comment. This is not a post about knocking Versus but to make suggestions to improve their broadcast.
from Curtis Eichelberger of Bloomberg,
Research in Motion Ltd. Co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Balsillie’s effort to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Ontario may endanger the stability of all U.S. sports leagues, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said….
“You can not have a stable league if franchises can be uprooted at the blink of an eye on a personal whim,” Bettman said in an interview at league offices in New York. “It is up to the partners to decide who would be a good partner.”...
Bettman said he would only consider moving the team to another city if he can’t find a buyer, which is unlikely.
He said he understands how much Canadians love hockey, although more research has to be done before deciding whether Hamilton, a city of about 500,000 some 40 miles from Toronto.
“It’s not anything we’ve looked at, and before you make a decision that will involve hundreds of millions of dollars, that is something that is going to have to be studied,” he said. “It’s the reason we have relocation procedures.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
“I’ve spent well over five years on this and more millions than anyone will know,” said Balsillie, who spent an hour Thursday with writers and editors of the Toronto Star and Hamilton Spectator. “It started out as fun, but segued right into who I really am.”
Balsillie made no apologies for trying to purchase the Coyotes and move them to Hamilton through bankruptcy proceedings, after being rebuffed twice in his efforts to buy other teams.
“There was no front door to get this team here. I looked. I checked every which way. I’m so inside in every which way. I know a lot of these owners,” said Balsillie.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org