There have been many classic showdowns in history. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West, Gargamel and the Smurfs, G.I. Joe and COBRA. Hell, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker as well as Batman and The Joker even managed to do it over the course of two different movies in each series.
It only seems fitting that with today (and tomorrow) being Franchise Auction day in Phoenix that there’s only two bidders left for the team now that Ice Edge Holdings has dropped out of the auction. A real mano y mano showdown in the Old West, fitting of a Spaghetti Western. Of course, in this movie, we’ve got the henchman from Face/Off going up against Billy Barty. That’s the beauty of the NHL, they give rise to the thoughts of many of the greatest talents of Hollywood.
Enough has been made of this ridiculous vendetta-driven (by both sides) duel for the Coyotes already and Balsillie, to his credit, is putting Gary Bettman and his NHL bid in a very bad place as far as public opinion goes. After all, Balsillie raising his offer by $30 million dollars makes even the most casual of NHL fans and non-fans alike wonder what in the blue hell Bettman and the Board of Governors have against a guy so obviously desperate to own an NHL franchise.
Jim Balsillie vs. Gary Bettman… In Hollywood
These wonderings and out-loud thinking I’ve done over and over and over again here and you folks know where I stand. I’m pro-Balsillie as an owner, I am pro-having another team in Canada and I am pro-sticking it to Gary Bettman and making him have to deal with it.
The peril for me is that I am also pro-Phoenix and pro-Coyotes if for no other reason other than the fans that DO care about the team there. The fans are almost always the folks caught in the middle of millionaire in-fighting in sports, Lord knows we know enough about that being the saps that are fans of the NHL. The dedicated thousands in Phoenix have been wrongfully taken for a ride by their gutless puke of a soon-to-be former owner Jerry Moyes. While I don’t blame Moyes for trying to sell the team, the guy has the ability to handle delicate situations about as well as a five year-old wound up on Pixy Stix would handle sitting still.
What sucks most for the fans in Phoenix is that the guy they’ve got to rely on to help them out is the diminutive dictator whose pride and miserable plan for domination of southern culture is on the line with the Coyotes. The same guy who, if he and the NHL do succeed in winning the auction and the courts, is going to spin the team off to someone else to let it be their headache and marketing toy, to someone else that will likely be forced to move in the future no matter how hard they try to make it work in Arizona.
I don’t say that to break out the hyperbole and be a worrywart about the matter, but the NHLs plans if they win don’t exactly look all that sparkling and they’ve left themselves a lot of ways to get the hell out of Dodge.
In other words, the league has no intention of assuming this lease (for obvious reasons) and is apparently using a “transition services agreement” in order to leave it in Moyes’s hands for up to nine months after closing. Prior to the termination of that TSA, the league “may elect in their sole discretion to treat any Glendale contract as an excluded contract” and “the sellers [Moyes] shall be entitled to reject such a contract.”
The issue here for the judge will be that the NHL’s bid could easily become a relocation one by June, 2010, depending on how negotiations go with Glendale. What the league’s really after here is to buy time to find more suitors for the team and put pressure on the city to capitulate to its demands.
So the NHL is stalling so they can hand pick their own future criminal they approve to be owners. After all, if it’s already broken why try to fix it? It’s so much easier to just to throw rocket fuel on a smoldering fire.
The people in charge of the game seem to wonder why the sport gets laughed at. At least with the other three major sports the criminals are on the field easily deposed of and not in the owners box where they continue making everything more corrupt and broken.
It’s far too late/early for me to let this nonsense get me riled up and thankfully the festivities in Phoenix operate on western time. If you’re not on Twitter, first of all why not? Secondly sign up immediately so you can follow along with those who will be in attendance on Thursday and Friday for the auction and hearings. For what it’s worth, CBC’s Tom Harrington reported on Twitter last night that Friday will be the day to be there as both Balsillie and Bettman will testify and be cross-examined. What I wouldn’t give to witness this.
Here’s a list of the folks to follow in the next two days (if you’re not already):
@JeffMarek – Jeff Marek is a CBC sports reporter offering solid straight-forward reports with a slight bent for Balsillie.
@reporterchris – Chris Johnston is a reporter for The Canadian Press. You can bet that he’ll also be rooting for Jim Balsillie.
@cbctom – Tom Harrington, another CBC reporter in Phoenix to cover things.
@HKYFN – Larry Halliday, a devout Coyotes fan who has been dedicated to keeping fans on Twitter up to date on things and a true credit to hockey fans in Arizona.
Now you’re all set and if you’re not following me yet, well why don’t you just go ahead and do that already, mmkay?