THRASHERS TO WINNIPEG?

Wanye
May 16 2011 01:07PM

 

"Just when you thought it was going to be the Coyotes moving back to Winnipeg, turns out it might be the Thrashers relocating instead." - Fleet Admiral Wanye von Gretz IV May 16, 2011.

The always observant Citizen of the Nation Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things busted out a Hoorah in the comments section in a Lowetide article today with a link to the following article which was posted about half an hour ago as 'Breaking News' on the Winnipeg Free Press website:

"Atlanta Thrashers beat writer Chris Vivlamore is reporting that True North Sports and Entertainment is in negotiations with the Atlanta Spirit Group to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers. Vivlamore tweeted the following Monday morning.

"I have confirmed that the Atlanta Spirit and True North are in negotiations about sale and relocation of Thrashers. Story to come soon."

True North spokesman Scott Brown told the Free Press "no comment," as did NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when confronted with this report."

EXPERT ANALYSIS

Reams of print and acres of digitial e-ink have been devoted to the woes off the ice in Phoenix in the past couple of years. The fact that the Thrashers could be this close to moving with substantially less fanfare speaks to the dire economic situation in many US markets than the popularity of NHL hockey south of the border.

In many markets it isn't a case of hockey being an unsaleable product to Americans. Instead it has everything to do with the underpinnings of the economy coming undone in many of these cities.

The Georgian unemployment rate hit an all time high in January of 2011 at 10.4%. Considering the suspicious way that the Americans calculate these statistics - removing anyone who has been on the economic sidelines for several quarters in a row from the list of the unemployed - the number of unemployed could be substantially higher.

The long term unemployed has jumped by nearly half in the past year:

"There were 262,700 long-term unemployed Georgians in January -- those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. This marks a 47.1 percent jump over January 2010. The long-term unemployed now account for a record high 54.2 percent of the 484,668 jobless workers in Georgia."

The group that owns the Thrashers, the NBA Hawks and the arena have been piling up massive hockey related losses in recent years.

Says the National Post:

"The Atlanta Spirit group, which also owns the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, has been looking to sell the Thrashers for years, claiming losses of $130 million US since it bought the team in September 2003. A viable local buyer has not yet emerged, sparking speculation that the team could be on the move."

The spotlight of the Canadian media following this story will shift from PHX  and will now fall squarely on ATL. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

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Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#1 number99
May 16 2011, 01:11PM
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Nope

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#2 Scott
May 16 2011, 01:11PM
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When the same company owns the arena and the team, I wonder how much of "extra" costs are included in the Thrashers books to showcase the success of the hawks?

This just helps their cause for trying to get rid of the team. I'm sure rent for the Thrashers was substantially higher than for the Hawks.

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#3 Kent Wilson
May 16 2011, 01:14PM
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*Ahem* JetsNation?

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#5 @Oilanderp
May 16 2011, 01:16PM
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I'm going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that a game played on ice would never really catch on in Georgia, U.S.A..

*thinks about changing his name to Genius*

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#6 Quicksilver ballet
May 16 2011, 01:21PM
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I think they should sit tight for one more year and wait for the Coyotes. Many more ties with that franchise and the fans compared to the Thrashers.

Rather than taking what Bettmen needs to move at this time, True North should wait for their first choice rather than settling for plan B.

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#7 Scott
May 16 2011, 01:21PM
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@Wanye

Agreed,

I should have specified that too. They are no doubt losing money, but I'm sure some creative accounting work has embellished this amount somewhat!

A related thought... What is worse for the NHL, having highly publicized news of teams struggling to survive and the NHL fighting to keep them there, or having a somewhat quiet sale to move the team to Canada?

I figure both are fairly negative, but fighting the inevitable failure just makes the league as a whole a lot worse. If you have to move 3+ teams up to Canada to have success, over time the damage is much less significant.

Outside of ego, does Bettman not realize this?

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#8 Sanintarious
May 16 2011, 01:28PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

I think if the opportunity is there to cash in on a team now, they will take it. Anything could happen by next year and I don't think TN would be too happy if they waited on Phoenix another year just to see them AND Atlanta find new owners.

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#9 9 Inches Uncut
May 16 2011, 01:35PM
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City of Atlanta isn't willing to pay the NHL to keep the team in the city unlike Glendale that seems to think giving the NHL millions to keep a team nobody cares about in Phoenix.

If Glendale wasn't ponying up cash for the Coyotes, you wouldn't see Bettman fighting so hard to keep them there.

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#11 @Oilanderp
May 16 2011, 01:37PM
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During the same period that 10.4% of Georgians were out of work, just over 5% of Manitobans were unemployed. Is there anyone who believes hockey wouldn't be profitable in Winnipeg?

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#12 Ambassador humantorch
May 16 2011, 01:38PM
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Every hockey club is a self portrait of the GM who built it

The Oilers' self portrait: a cross-eyed kid, sitting on a stool facing the corner, wearing a dunce cap.

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#13 baggedmilk
May 16 2011, 01:38PM
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@Wanye

Should we bring in our empties and make an offer?

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#14 Citizen Alpha
May 16 2011, 01:41PM
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Manitoba also has an excellent telecom company. A solid place to relocate a team. *nods sagely*

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#15 @Oilanderp
May 16 2011, 01:42PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Should we bring in our empties and make an offer?

Arena funding problem solved: bottle drive!

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#16 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
May 16 2011, 01:43PM
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The Sad thing if they did move would be that Phoenix owns the "Jets" Name so the new owner would have to buy the rights or come up with a new name. I suspect the latter would be the case as people would come to the rink in either case. I would hope they would stick with the military airplane theme or in some way show a link to the Jets history. It would be cool to have a link to the Avro Arrow or some very Canadian Jet. Will be cool if that rivalry returns they were fun to watch in the playoffs, I miss that!

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#17 Jamie B.
May 16 2011, 01:48PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

*Ahem* JetsNation?

MooseNation.

http://www.sportslogos.net/blog/2011/03/14/making-a-big-moostake-itd-be-moose-not-jets-in-12/

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#18 bleedingoil
May 16 2011, 01:54PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I think they should sit tight for one more year and wait for the Coyotes. Many more ties with that franchise and the fans compared to the Thrashers.

Rather than taking what Bettmen needs to move at this time, True North should wait for their first choice rather than settling for plan B.

Bettman would NEVER let that happen. Once TrueNorth gets their team, plans will be underway to relocate Phoenix....and I bet you they stay south of the border ( Kansas City, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City....) too many more straws to grab first. Oh, he still hasnt announced his attempted purchase of the KHL, the use of a larger and heavier puck, and even a shot clock. This guy needs to go. I could go on and on and on but the NHL is not about Bettman.

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#19 Ambassador humantorch
May 16 2011, 02:09PM
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Oh, he still hasnt announced his attempted purchase of the KHL, the use of a larger and heavier puck, and even a shot clock.

If Bettman institutes a 3 point line, I'm flying to New York myself where my boot will commit a technical foul on his back court if you catch my meaning.

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#20 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
May 16 2011, 02:11PM
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bleedingoil wrote:

Bettman would NEVER let that happen. Once TrueNorth gets their team, plans will be underway to relocate Phoenix....and I bet you they stay south of the border ( Kansas City, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City....) too many more straws to grab first. Oh, he still hasnt announced his attempted purchase of the KHL, the use of a larger and heavier puck, and even a shot clock. This guy needs to go. I could go on and on and on but the NHL is not about Bettman.

Are you serious about the shot clock and heaver puck? Reference?

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#21 Ender
May 16 2011, 02:12PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Should we bring in our empties and make an offer?

Hey, we got Gregor to the Draft and still had money left over for the Stollery. I'm sure if Bingofuel just puts up one of those PayPal things again . . . oh, wait . . . Bingo's off on a wild new adventure. I knew that plan had a flaw somewhere . . .

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#22 mikeecho
May 16 2011, 02:20PM
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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

The Sad thing if they did move would be that Phoenix owns the "Jets" Name so the new owner would have to buy the rights or come up with a new name. I suspect the latter would be the case as people would come to the rink in either case. I would hope they would stick with the military airplane theme or in some way show a link to the Jets history. It would be cool to have a link to the Avro Arrow or some very Canadian Jet. Will be cool if that rivalry returns they were fun to watch in the playoffs, I miss that!

The NHL owns the rights to the Jets name.

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#23 bleedingoil
May 16 2011, 02:38PM
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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

Are you serious about the shot clock and heaver puck? Reference?

just making a funny....flashbacks to glowing pucks, North America vs the World Allstar games, and the bailout fiasco we call Phoenix.

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#24 Matt Henderson
May 16 2011, 02:43PM
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@Ender

That would be Gold!

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#25 TonyT
May 16 2011, 02:58PM
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I'm from Edmonton through and through and I could give a rats ass about the Jets as they would be just another rival to get my hate on for. Everybody harping on Bettman seems to forget that he was at the helm when the Oilers were almost moved to Houston. To the present: the Oilers are here because a BUNCH of local guys scraped to put their money where their mouths were. If Winnipeg had done the same thing they would still have their team, that's hardly Bettman's fault. You want another team in Canada, that's great but at least use facts in your arguements, not just stereopyical jokes because Bettman's American.

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#26 Scott
May 16 2011, 03:05PM
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@TonyT

SO what your saying is, because he assisted your team, it doesn't matter what his track record is elsewhere?

The point is, he picks and chooses how hard to fight to keep certain teams in their locales. IMO its based on how much media fanfare each city gets. Had Balsillie not tried to buy the coyotes, they would already be moved.

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#27 TonyT
May 16 2011, 03:24PM
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@Scott

Did I say that?

All I said was use facts, instead of "I hate Gary Bettman because he came from the NBA or he's American". If you can't stand Bettman because he couldn't find 30 guys to foot the bill for the Jets then say that, don't say he's a moron who's trying to shape the puck into an inflated sphere...I get it's a joke, and I don't think I'm being oversensitive here as it's a pretty common argument and this is the first I've mentioned it. While we see many struggling franchises, who am I to comment who has a right to a team, I'm just fortunate that 30 guys kept my team for me. While Bettman has surely made mistakes he must be making someone happy as he's been at this for close to two decades. Which is something I cannot say for Balsillie.

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#28 Crooked
May 16 2011, 03:27PM
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I'll believe it when Gary Bettman shows up in Winnipeg to announce the franchise relocation, until then, it's just a dream.

It sucks, I was born in Quebec, Nordiques are gone. Raised in Manitoba, Jets are gone. Definitely hoping both Winnipeg and Quebec City get NHL franchises again in the future, just not holding my breath that it'll happen any time soon.

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#29 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 16 2011, 03:29PM
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Scott wrote:

SO what your saying is, because he assisted your team, it doesn't matter what his track record is elsewhere?

The point is, he picks and chooses how hard to fight to keep certain teams in their locales. IMO its based on how much media fanfare each city gets. Had Balsillie not tried to buy the coyotes, they would already be moved.

League wide revenue has consistantly gone up and his bosses (NHL owners) have kept him around so he must be doing something right.

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#30 Zarf
May 16 2011, 03:32PM
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TonyT wrote:

I'm from Edmonton through and through and I could give a rats ass about the Jets as they would be just another rival to get my hate on for. Everybody harping on Bettman seems to forget that he was at the helm when the Oilers were almost moved to Houston. To the present: the Oilers are here because a BUNCH of local guys scraped to put their money where their mouths were. If Winnipeg had done the same thing they would still have their team, that's hardly Bettman's fault. You want another team in Canada, that's great but at least use facts in your arguements, not just stereopyical jokes because Bettman's American.

Well said, sir.

It seems to me that there's been a bit of revisionist history when it comes to the Winnipeg Jets ... and, for that matter, of the Canadian teams, in general.

Twenty-five years ago, the Winnipeg Jets were the enemy. They were in the same division as Edmonton and there was never really any reason to root for them ... other than against Calgary (fortunately for us Oiler fans, the Jets proved to be quite proficient at beating the Flames in the playoffs).

And while I certainly don't begrudge Jets' fans their sentimental attachment to their team, I certainly had none myself.

I think that's a generational thing.

Twenty-five years ago, there was seldom any talk of Canadians pulling for one Canadian team or another in the playoffs. That's mostly because we all hated each other. It was wonderful.

Still, I hope the Jets can come back to Winnipeg. I miss hating them.

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#31 Dean Belanger
May 16 2011, 03:42PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Actually, most of my friends in Winnipeg would rather have the Thrashers instead of the Coyotes.

Fresh start, new name, new jerseys, ect.

I grew up a die hard Jets fan, but to be honest they didn't have the best history...

Kinda like being an Expos fan hey Lowetide?

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#32 Ca$h-Money
May 16 2011, 03:44PM
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@bleedingoil

I hear things like this all the time, so know that you aren't alone, but this point of view on Bettman is ignorant.

Before you get upset, I'm not saying I like the guy or the decisions he's made. I don't like the fact that the NHL is committed to the Southern Expansion. I'm an Alberta boy and I would love for Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec to have franchises, and firmly believe Portland Oregon should have one too.

The point, though, is that my opinion on the guy doesn't matter. His job is not to make me happy, nor would it be the job of any other guy who fills the position when he is gone. His job is making the current owners of the existing NHL franchises happy; by all reports he has done that, because they just signed him to a 4 year contract extension.

You think you have a problem with Bettman, but your real problem is with the collective mindset of the existing group of NHL owners, or at least some large collection of those owners who together have a controlling stake in the management of the league.

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#33 Jim
May 16 2011, 04:01PM
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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

The Sad thing if they did move would be that Phoenix owns the "Jets" Name so the new owner would have to buy the rights or come up with a new name. I suspect the latter would be the case as people would come to the rink in either case. I would hope they would stick with the military airplane theme or in some way show a link to the Jets history. It would be cool to have a link to the Avro Arrow or some very Canadian Jet. Will be cool if that rivalry returns they were fun to watch in the playoffs, I miss that!

Winnipeg has been down the same path too many times and we are hoping ,but won't believe it until a team is actually skating at MTS Centre. Our team was certainly very competitive

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#34 Jim
May 16 2011, 04:01PM
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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

The Sad thing if they did move would be that Phoenix owns the "Jets" Name so the new owner would have to buy the rights or come up with a new name. I suspect the latter would be the case as people would come to the rink in either case. I would hope they would stick with the military airplane theme or in some way show a link to the Jets history. It would be cool to have a link to the Avro Arrow or some very Canadian Jet. Will be cool if that rivalry returns they were fun to watch in the playoffs, I miss that!

Winnipeg has been down the same path too many times and we are hoping ,but won't believe it until a team is actually skating at MTS Centre. Our team was certainly very competitive

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#35 Wax Man Riley
May 16 2011, 04:01PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

MooseNation.

http://www.sportslogos.net/blog/2011/03/14/making-a-big-moostake-itd-be-moose-not-jets-in-12/

Manitoba Moose = worse than Anaheim Mighty Ducks/Ducks

Manitoba Flood = Way better

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#36 Wax Man Riley
May 16 2011, 04:09PM
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Crooked wrote:

I'll believe it when Gary Bettman shows up in Winnipeg to announce the franchise relocation, until then, it's just a dream.

It sucks, I was born in Quebec, Nordiques are gone. Raised in Manitoba, Jets are gone. Definitely hoping both Winnipeg and Quebec City get NHL franchises again in the future, just not holding my breath that it'll happen any time soon.

Ummm... you don't live in Edmonton now do you?

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#37 KB
May 16 2011, 05:02PM
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@Zarf

Agreed, Zarf. I wish nothing but continued failure and misery for all Canadian teams other than the Oilers. I don't ever want thosse teams to relocate or anything like that...I love to hate them.

I simply will not cheer for another Canadian team because these are the teams/fans that will throw it in our face until we win again. I have never bought into this "Canada's team" garbage (the amount of Flames flags flying from cars in Edmonton during their run to the finals made me want to puke).

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#38 dougtheslug
May 16 2011, 05:05PM
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Just a thought, how could the NHL owners possibly be happy with ponying up millions just to keep things running in Phoenix? I mean, those are real dollars coming out of "real' franchises, that is, the ten or so that are actually contributing to NHL coffers. Lets face it, in these economic times support in at least a dozen American franchises is tenuous, and in places like Tampa Bay and San Jose, it may be a mile wide right now, but for sure it is an inch deep. I suspect the high water mark for the NHL was reached a few years ago and what we are witnessing is the tide rolling out. I bet in a year or two, the NHL is going to be grateful there are fans in places like Winnipeg, and Quebec that are willing to shell out dollars for its product.

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#39 dougtheslug
May 16 2011, 05:10PM
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And by the way, I never had any trouble hating ANY team that wasn't the Oilers, no matter what part of the world they came from, although I occasionally have grudging respect for what teams might do against teams I REALLY hate (GO SHARKS!)

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#40 Blue Blooded
May 16 2011, 05:13PM
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"Fleet Admiral Wanye von Gretz IV May 16, 2011" - Awesome.

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#42 russ99
May 16 2011, 05:39PM
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The three most interesting aspects of this story are:

1) If Atlanta moves to Winnipeg, At least 3 divisions need to be realigned.

Here's how I see that changing:

Western Conference: -------------------

Columbus moves into the Atlantic or Southeast.

Minnesota moves into the Central

Winnipeg moves into the Northwest

Eastern Conference: -------------------

If Columbus moves to the Atlantic, a club needs to move from the Atlantic to the Southeast, with no easy answer.

2) Once there's an NHL team back in Winnipeg and Quebec City, where will other teams with severe financial losses threaten to move to?

3) With a slate of games back on with Winnipeg, will that give the Oilers an easier travel schedule, which can show up in the standings?

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#44 bleedingoil
May 16 2011, 05:49PM
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TonyT wrote:

I'm from Edmonton through and through and I could give a rats ass about the Jets as they would be just another rival to get my hate on for. Everybody harping on Bettman seems to forget that he was at the helm when the Oilers were almost moved to Houston. To the present: the Oilers are here because a BUNCH of local guys scraped to put their money where their mouths were. If Winnipeg had done the same thing they would still have their team, that's hardly Bettman's fault. You want another team in Canada, that's great but at least use facts in your arguements, not just stereopyical jokes because Bettman's American.

Check your history.........the fans, city, and province raised millions of dollars (13M I believe). The selling parties could not come to terms with the buying group. The transaction took place without any help from the nhl. Winnipegs average attendance was 13000.........phoenix is 14000. 35000 fans showed up for a rally in 1995 winnipeg........only 200 in phoenix. Winnipeg population is 684000.......glendale is 227000. Phoenix has never made money......ever, and every team in the league is footing the bill.

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#45 fuck off
May 16 2011, 06:11PM
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@russ99

You got one thing wrong: Detroit will be the mover to the East Conference as they have (most often privately) bemoaned being a part of the West for a long time.

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#46 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
May 16 2011, 06:28PM
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@ Zarf

Right on Brother. I agree whole heartedly. If my Oil aren't in it, I can't cheer for a Cdn team, esp one "in-division". A.B.C. ... anybody but Calgary, Canucks, Canadiens,and Centreoftheuniverse (err. the Leafs) We need to get the hate on again. Bring the cup back to Canada...puhlease. The next Canadian team to win the cup will be the Oil.

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#47 mikeecho
May 16 2011, 07:15PM
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@Wanye

All except Hartford, which I believe the city of hartford owns. Hence, why it's impossible to get Whalers merchandise...they don't license any.

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#49 John Chambers
May 16 2011, 08:19PM
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Here's an interesting factoid that I'm surprised hasn't received more press attention, at least in Canada:

Last week the NHL signed and agreement with NBC for their largest-ever TV deal. NBC merged with cable provider ComCast in January, 2011. ComCast has a major presence in Phoenix, and given the invention of a certain devices known as the internet and the PVR, sporting events have become a much more attractive property to television providers. Hence, NBC is likely heavily interested in keeping an NHL team in Phoneix.

Atlanta is Time Warner Cable country. Moving a US based team to Canada isn't optimal for NBC, but moving one from Atlanta instead of Phoenix is far less undesirable.

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#50 Team Hall
May 16 2011, 08:48PM
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I prefer Manitoba Mounties, Manitoba Flood, or even Manitoba Moose to the Jets. A little more original and applicable. I always hated the Thrashers name. What is a "thrasher" anyways? Did anyone ever know? It's too generic.

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