by Forechecker on 09/30/08 at 12:07 AM ET
When the words first crept across my computer screen, I thought it was a flashback to the summer of 2007. “Jim Balsillie is closing in on a deal to purchase the NHL’s Nashville Predators,” ran the first sentence of the article from Sportsnet. According to a report by Bob McCown on the Fan590 in Toronto, the Blackberry Kid is tantalizingly close to announcing a deal to buy out the Predators’ local ownership, with the obvious intent of moving them from Nashville to his lair in Hamilton, Ontario.
Except for the part about it being total fantasy, it makes for a pretty enticing story. I guess they have to have something to get excited about in Toronto as the regular season approaches. After all, it’s not like Ron Wilson is all that fired up about the local team’s chances this year!
John Glennon at the Tennessean does a fine job eviscerating this latest outbreak of Loonie-ness directed at the Predators, including some prime quotes such as this from David Freeman, leader of the local ownership group:
“I can guarantee you he’s not in discussions to buy the Predators because I’ve never even spoken to the gentleman. The club is obviously not for sale.”
Then there’s Balsillie’s representative Richard Rodier:
“There is not a scintilla of truth to that rumor… Furthermore, we have never had any contact with Mr. Freeman or any of his partners or any of his representatives regarding the subject matter of this story. The Predators are firmly in the hands of Mr. Freeman and his partners and will remain so until they decide otherwise.”
Look, I can understand how in these uncertain economic times, this high-tech executive would want to take a flight to quality and put his funds behind a hockey team in Nashville. Theory and conjecture are fine, but it takes more than the fevered ravings of a Toronto sports radio jock to make deals happen. Yeesh, with mainstream media outlets acting like this, it’s no wonder the hockey blogosphere is doing so well these days.
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