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Category: NHL-Talk

All The Legal Talk

from Shannon Kari of the National Post,

The National Hockey League moved swiftly last week in declaring that it had taken control of the Phoenix Coyotes from Jerry Moyes and that he had no right to file for bankruptcy protection or sell the team to Jim Balsillie.

More documents in support of the league’s position will be filed Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in advance of a hearing in Phoenix on May 19.

But despite its firm public statements, the NHL has admitted in another court case that the powers of professional sports leagues are not that clear.

The right to impose league-wide rules on everything from team Web sites to who can buy a sports franchise is a legal “morass” that is “mired in ambiguity and confusion,” NHL lawyers wrote in a U.S. Supreme Court brief in January.

continued

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Lessons Not Learned

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Based on what has happened with Phoenix, the NHL should have learned three key lessons:

1. There is no benefit to be derived by intentionally shielding public eyes from the economic troubles of individual teams.

Bettman and his lieutenants are by nature either secretive or very protective. But it eats at the credibility of NHL leadership when, after months of blunt denials, the Coyotes prove to be swimming in precisely the overflowing pool of red ink that many reports suggested….

2. Treating the players’ union as a minor irritant rather than a true partner isn’t a productive strategy.

NHLPA head Paul Kelly can deny it all he wants, but the union knew what Balsillie was up to and was supportive. The last straw for Kelly was probably going to the GMs meetings in Naples, Fla., in March and having his presentation summarily dismissed.

read on

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Potential Owners For Coyotes

from TSN,

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly admits that Jim Balsillie’s bid for the Phoenix Coyotes caught league officials by surprise and says there have been multiple offers to keep the team in Arizona.

Speaking on XM Radio’s NHL Home Ice on Friday, Daly said the league had been working with Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes on potential ownership options right up until the team filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.

continued and if you wish to listen to the interview with the guys on Hockey This Morning on XM204, click here...

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Evening Line

“Mr. Balsillie is acting, again, in total disregard of any rules, or any structure. . . . I would be very surprised if the board would look favourably on the way that Mr. Balsillie has conducted himself in this instance.”

“He makes his own decisions and he’s making a decision that this is the way he wants to get into the National Hockey League. We don’t usually like to pick fights, but we end them.”

-NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on Jim Balsillie.  More from the CP via TSN.

added 11:129pm, from Paul Waldie and David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

The group backing Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie’s bid for the Phoenix Coyotes unleashed its sharpest attack yet on the National Hockey League, alleging in a lawsuit that the league is operating like an “illegal cartel” by blocking Mr. Balsillie’s effort to move the Coyotes to Hamilton.

“The NHL is excluding competition and restraining trade in [the United States and Canada] through the application of unreasonable restrictions in its constitution and bylaws, which are preventing the relocation of the Coyotes from Phoenix, Ariz., to Hamilton, Ont.,” said the lawsuit filed Thursday in Phoenix.

continued

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  Tags: bill+daly, jim+balsillie

Starting To Heat Up

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

PHOENIX – The bankruptcy hearing that will determine the future of the NHL in Phoenix and Hamilton hadn’t even commenced Thursday when more motions were filed, showing the bad blood that exists between the two sides.

Lawyers representing Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes disputed the NHL’s claim that Moyes had been removed from all positions of authority and said the NHL was violating the proceedings by attempting to appear in court as “owners” of the club….

It’s also clear from the court filings earlier in the week that Balsillie and Moyes intend to fight tooth and nail — using every legal avenue possible — to complete the sale and move the franchise north where it would most likely play the 2009-10 season in Copps Coliseum.

The NHL is doing what it can to stop the sale, and prevent Balsillie from completing his long-awaited dream of bringing a seventh NHL franchise to Canada, one close to his home in Waterloo, headquarters of RIM.

more

added 2:34pm, from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,

No matter how tempting it might be to blame NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for the mess that is currently the Phoenix Coyotes, it wouldn’t be right to do so.

There are two primary villains in this saga and neither one is named Bettman.

continued

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The NHL Is Selling The Game

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Many have marvelled this week at the terrific playoff series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, and with good reason.

There are stars and characters galore on these two entertaining, well-managed and well-coached teams, and clearly these are two cities which are passionately behind their clubs.

But if the same logic had been applied to the Caps and Penguins a few years ago that many are now urging must be applied to the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes, neither team would be in their current city.

Would the NHL be better for it? Probably not.

Folks, this is why it’s important during this ongoing debate over the future of the Coyotes not to be distracted by extraneous, irrelevant issues.

This, you see, isn’t about popularity contests between Gary Bettman and Jim Balsillie or meaningless website gimmicks….

This is about a business, the NHL, that sells professional hockey. So let’s get a few facts straight.

read on

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Bettman Under Pressure

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

It was Bettman, sources have said, who went to Moyes on Tuesday and presented a conditional offer from Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf that would have paid down a portion of the team’s indebtedness as long as Moyes walked away.

Moyes walked, all right. He went right to Balsillie and finalized a $212.5-million (U.S.) transaction — with another $17-million for bridge financing — that would ensure every creditor got paid. That has put Bettman between a rock and a cactus, and those in the know say he’s not happy about it.

The thing is: That unhappiness is certain to spread among the owners, some of whom have begun to question Bettman’s handiwork, along with his vision. For example: His decision to have NHL games broadcast in the United States on Versus has been a spectacular dud, despite claims to rising viewership. His decision to keep teams in their current marketplaces no matter how much money they lose has created all manner of stress and strain throughout the league.

“Bettman’s smart,” a source said, “but he’s under tremendous pressure, maybe the most he’s ever felt.”

more

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Time To Shrink The League

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province via the Calgary Herald,

The Coyotes have now been in the desert for 13 years, they’ve gone through owners the way some people go through cellphones and the situation has never been worse than it is now.

A similar story exists in Florida, Tampa Bay, Long Island and Atlanta. Those stories have also become one of the league’s talking points, which is why you see Bettman giving the same implausible answers to the same tired questions every time he holds a news conference.

And to what end? If the NHL has proven anything over the last decade, it’s proven it doesn’t work as a 30-team entity.

But think of what a 26-team league would look like. Think of the concentration of talent. Think of the product on the ice. Now think of the game being played in markets that cared about hockey and, while you’re at it, think of the revenues that league would generate.

more

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Balsillie Continues To Get It Wrong

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Jim Balsillie is well on his way to becoming the dumbest, most stubborn, successful entrepreneur around.

How else to explain his latest hockey outburst—his clumsy, all-too-public attempt to bully the National Hockey League into allowing him to purchase the now-bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes franchise and move it to southern Ontario.

If all he is attempting here is to find his name in the headlines, he is certainly accomplishing that.

But if he honestly believes he can pull an end-run on commissioner Gary Bettman, secure an NHL franchise, move it, and use a public website to drum up support for a seventh Canadian franchise, then he is either getting terrible advice or he is simply fond of banging his head against the wall. Because that’s all he can accomplish here. This is a war he may not be able to win.

continued

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  Tags: jim+balsillie

NHL Statement On Phoenix Coyotes Situation

NEW YORK - National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued the following statement regarding the Phoenix Coyotes:

“We have just become aware of today’s Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes.  We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing.  We have removed Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club.  The League will appear and proceed before the Bankruptcy Court in the best interests of all of the Club’s constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the League’s 29 other Member Clubs.”


If this is all news to you, check out an earlier KK post.

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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