Needless drama


Anyone want to talk about the 0.000045% chance that Heatley becomes an Oiler? Kidding. We believe that horse has been beaten to death. Instead let’s talk about something that hasn’t been mentioned once by the sports media in the past two months: this business of the Coyotes and Jim Balsillie.

This Jim Balsillie v Gary Bettman thing is starting to piss us off. So much media coverage, so much bad blood though all that has really happened is that an uber rich potential owner appeared out of thin air and tried to purchase an NHL team that by all accounts is twelve shades of screwed. How dare he have the nerve right?

If for no other reason than to write article 1,459,604 on the subject we will also run the scenario past our brain banana and boil it down to a gelatinous concentration of what we think needs conversation. And hey – gelatinous goo is often delicious.

Things we will ignore

1. The Canada – US angle

We will leave this hornets nest alone and just say that passionate hockey fans live on both sides of the border and somehow bringing patriotism into the issue will not further any sort of debate or fix the situation.

2. The fact the Coyotes used to be the Jets

Yeah our very own brother lives in Winnipeg and basically considered going on a murderous rampage when the Jets left town. Fast forward a couple decades and the team could potentially return to Canada. But it ain’t returning to Winnipeg and Teemu Selanne won’t be returning in the early years of a sterling career. The damage has been done in the ‘Peg and it doesn’t seem to look like they are next in line for a franchise.

3. The idea that Phoenix somehow doesn’t have fans

This is probably the most annoying angle some people are taking on this whole issue. Of course Phoenix has hockey fans. Tens of thousands of them. It’s just that they have a couple other things to worry about these days – an economy in freefall, local industry crumbling to dust, house prices dropping faster than Chris Brown album sales and state services coming to a halt. You will have to forgive the city of Glendale/Phoenix if a good many of its residents decide to save their money for things like “food” and “car payments” not watching the likes of Enver Lisin and Daniel Winnik light the world on fire en route to another losing season.

4. That a lot of people don’t like Gary Bettman though he has toiled long and hard in the name of the NHL

Yeah yeah, tons of people don’t like Gary Bettman – but overall we do.  So let’s just leave the hatred of Uncle Gary that exists in some sets aside for the moment.

5. The economy is in the crapper

Fact: the North American economy is in the crapper. For the purposes of this debate let’s leave that alone too. You can’t move a hockey team solely on the basis that Phoenix is having economic troubles and is losing money – or you could make a case to move 10 or 11 teams in the NHL.

Things that enrage us completely

1. In the NHL there are a boat load of shady owners

We don’t have the energy nor do you have the time to discuss all the shady crap owners in the NHL have done in the history of the league. From ripping off players and pension funds, to numerous white collar crimes, jail time, bankruptcy, that dude in Buffalo that did something really bad, Pocklington dang near going to jail if it weren’t for Slats. Let’s just leave it at “the NHL has allowed a lot of shady folks into the owners suites provided they play by league rules. This lax screening process has been bad for the game, league stability in general and has doubtlessly scared off other potential owners of NHL teams.” How does a screening system that admits Oren Koules exclude Jim Balsillie exactly?

2. You are only as strong as your weakest link

Remember when you played Atom hockey and you had that super out of shape kid on your team who insisted on playing super long shifts even though people were going around him with alarming frequency? Remember how your Coach insisted that Fatso McOutofshape get equal ice time because you were “all on the same team?”

Same thing in a series of franchises like the NHL. You think a solid owner like Mike Illich is impressed having to sit back and watch all this drama unfolding with Balsillie and all these other owners that are having trouble? He owns the team in Detroit for heaven’s sakes. You know Detroit right – it’s the City that has lost over 50% of its population since the 1950s and has many sections that resemble Berlin after WWII? Yeah, the Detroit that is also in the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in as many years and has most of its team signed through the year 2020? The team that in theory should be one of your weakest links? Think the owner of that team wants to see his investment cut in value because you can only sell a team to someone that has successfully courted Gary Bettman?

Phoenix has also been hit hard by the economic clusterfuck that has become the US in the past 18 months. Is this their fault? No. Are the long term prospects for the area looking up? Hardly. Is there any reason to think that a team that has by some accounts lost upwards of $70 million and is playing to a third full barn is going to be able to turn it around any time soon on the strength of some local Phoenix owner?


So why force the issue? Thowing up a bunch of financial barriers only to keep the team in a down market and be bought by much less financially sound owners than Jim Balsillie is terrible for franchise owners and is just bad business.

We repeat: bad business.

3. Gary Bettman thinks he can somehow trump bankruptcy law with NHL bylaws.

Bankruptcy laws in the US are crazy powerful. Just ask anyone who has a defective product lawsuit with Chrysler in the US right now. Because of the impending bankruptcy of the company, a judge has ruled that Chrysler has no obligations to pay anyone that has a lawsuit or is receiving payments from Chrysler as compensation for injuries that have resulted from defective Chrysler cars and trucks. This means people who have had their backs broken, legs severed or a myriad of other horrific injuries will receive absolutely nothing by way of compensation due to a bankruptcy court ruling. This is serious stuff, bankruptcy court — all they set out to do is restructure things and recoup as much lost money as possible. It matters little who gets screwed over in the process.

Creditors be damned, they are going to get their pound of flesh in these here bankruptcy courts. And yet our friend Gary Bettman is having lawyers stand before a judge and say, “Well yes, technically the Coyotes are millions of dollars in debt. But rather than repaying these people we ask that you play hockey fan for a moment and consider the impact of moving the Coyotes to Canada and having everyone repaid. Wouldn’t that be bad?” If a bankruptcy court won’t help someone who has been severely injured as a result of the negligence of Chrysler, why on earth are they listening to byzantine NHL bylaws like Section 68-3J/4k2395 of the NHL Code of Governance which states:

“No person or persons shall do anything relating to the NHL unless Gary David Merle Bettman has expressly ok’d the transaction.”

Know what matters in bankruptcy court? Recovering investor money. But the NHL seems to think it is about the obligations of a franchise to play by league rules. That might be the case in good times but when you have declared bankruptcy nothing else matters except repaying creditors to the largest extent possible.

You would rather see millions of creditor dollars go unpaid in Phoenix because you don’t like the white knight that has offered to allow a good company man like Jerry Moyes to recoup his investment? You would rather send a message to NHL owners that their investment is treated this carelessly by NHL brass who aren’t there when a hail Mary investor materializes out of nowhere and offers a potential break even scenario to a man — who like many NHL owners — has taken an absolute bath on his investment?

This could cost you your job Gary. Be careful.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Fatso McOutofshape wrote:

    but my Mom said I was one of the best players on the team….if she lied about that, I wonder if she also lied about my “Glandular Problem.” I need a McFlurry to calm my nerves…

    You son of a bitch. You cost us Minor Hockey Week when I was eleven. WHY DID YOU INSIST ON SUCH LONG SHIFTS?

    @ Ender the Dragon:

    I like all that diversion related talk.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Chester Copperpot wrote:

    If Balsillie is gets his team I believe a dangerous precident is set. What’s stopping a and wealthy kazoollionaire from out bidding the Molson Brothers & Celine Dion and moving the Habs to Old Glory, Texas?

    About 2 or 3 million misguided (but not insolvent) Habs fans across North America. The bottom line is that everyone in this world wants to make money and even rich boys who like shiny toys have to look at the price tag when there's 9 digits involved. If a franchise is making money where it is, ther'll be someone who has an interest in keeping it there. It won't be until the day that someone can prove (or is willing to gable huge) that the Habs can make more money in Old Glory that the team would become the Texas Canadiens.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ Ender the Dragon:

    I wonder if Clark Gable would support the Texas Canadiens.

    "Ah man, Texas just traded Koivu!"
    "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    Did you hear about this Dany Heatley trade rumor?

    *wins prize for the 15,439,039 mention of Heatley on the OilersNation in the past 72 hours*

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ RV Sheets Queen:
    Thanks for totally being a legitimate person and totally not a bot designed to make people click on your name.
    Spam is FTL.
    This kind of shows a little loop-hole in your moderation, if i paste a link to hxxp:// i get moderated, but as long as i put it in my "website" for my name, I dont get moderated. Would be cool if we could register username (still keep it optional though) in order to get an account that has less moderation.

    ohh right.. on topic.. uhh..
    NM, god i'm bored at work… FRIIIDAAAYYY 😛

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ DK0:

    I know I have been saying this for ever but an upgraded version 4 of the Nations is being built. If anyone is interested in giving us some input on proposed changes feel free to email me at

    Getting some opinions might prevent stupid ideas from being developed.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ Wanye Gretz:
    Oooooh! Ooooooh! Idea! Right here!

    E-D-I-T B-U-T-T-O-N

    Evil login requirements and all.

    That idea, she's a keeper, Wanye. You can even take the credit; I won't tell.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    David S wrote:

    Friday office beers FTW!

    DAMN YOU!!! Our company got bought out by this huge american company and now theres 500% more goddamn red tape to do anything and alcohol is not allowed in the office at all. This place has been painted Mr. Bean style except using an explosive can of weaksauce.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Librarian Mike wrote:

    How about the ability for avatars and profiles since you’re taking suggestions

    And fan boards Pt deux is born. Maybe we could link in Tom Gilbert's blog too.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    David S wrote:

    Librarian Mike wrote:

    How about the ability for avatars and profiles since you’re taking suggestions

    And fan boards Pt deux is born. Maybe we could link in Tom Gilbert’s blog too.

    Love tom gilberts blog!!

    We are in a recession, people are suffering financially all over the place, but guess what?

    Tom gilbert just bought 15 new pairs of shoes!!!

    Every blog he writes is: "blah blah blah. 5 pairs of shoes…..blha blah blah… need to travel with two bags so I can shop. ……blah blah blah…….."

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I don't have a problem with Tom Gilbert. He seems like a decent guy. But man does his blog attract the 14 year-old crowd. If we get avatars and profiles, this nice respectable site will become inundated by "hockeygurl101" types. Not lookin' forward to that day.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    not that i like gary Bettman what so ever, nor do i think Balsillie is handling this the best way….but ask your selves a question about the whole bankruptcy issue…if the coyotes were losing so much money for so long..why declare now? could it be that Balsillie had alterior motives to skirt NHL rules because he knew that Bettman and the Governers didn't like him? of course it is. all declaring bankruptcy did was allow Balsillie to take the decision out of Bettman's hands, and put it into an "impartial" and "objective" judge's hands. this isn't about money, phoenix, gary moyes, glendale, canada, the u.s.a., or any other reason that people will give you. this is all about a power play between the comish and a billionaire.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    devils advocate wrote:

    this is all about a power play between the comish and a billionaire.

    have to agree. i think the ego clash started when it was made VERY clear that if basille got his team he was going to move it to canada. and i dont think it is so much that bettman doesnt want another canadian team, but its more that he doesnt want to admit that the "market" he tried to target failed. buisness is all about hitting the right market and taking advantage. above all else bettman is a buisness man and those southern U.S. teams was the gamble that would make or break him. admitting he was wrong may be more fatal to his job than fighting this move and making himself look stupid. if he wins, and phoenix stays where it is. he still has a chance to see it flourish. and he looks like he made the right choice. if it moves and does well there (which is almost no doubt) he looks like a complete fool for fighting it so long.

    if he doesnt get phoenix my guess is he will continue to try and scoop a failing team. this isnt going to go away regardless of what happens in the courts.
    i think bettman should cut his losses and see if he can get basille into a team with an agreement that he either wont move them, or he will keep them in the city long enough to see if it can become viable again when the market rebounds.