For the first time in my life the Stanley Cup playoffs have mattered little. The suspense surrounding the future of the Phoenix Coyotes has been too much of a distraction. I’m not sure if I have even watched a full playoff game since Jim Balsillie made his $212.5M bid to purchase and relocate my foster children to Hamilton. I have even been too distracted to update my blog! So since it has been nearly two weeks since my last entry, this entry will act as an overall summary of current affairs in the hockey world.
Since my last entry on May 19th, Judge Redfield T. Baum ordered both parties (the National Hockey League and Jerry Moyes) into mediation to determine ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes. When the court reconvened on May 27th, Judge Baum placed the ‘Yotes legally into the hands of Jerry Moyes! Ding, ding, ding! And Round 1 goes to Jim Balsillie! Also, Baum ordered that the relocation hearing be moved up from June 22nd to June 9th in keeping with Balsillie’s June 30th expiration date on his generous offer.
Since my last entry on May 19th, both sides have been busy rallying support from big name factions. The League has turned out support from the other three major leagues: NBA, MLB, and NFL. Naturally, the other major leagues would be concerned with a respect for the “rules” and would want full control of who owns and moves their teams, and thus, a Balsillie victory would surely make them soil their panties. On the other side of the spectrum, the Balsillie camp has rallied support from two major Canadian household heavy weights, Labatt Breweries and Home Hardware. Within days of announcing support for MakeItSeven.ca, Labatt released television commercials promoting the website.
Since my last entry on May 19th, Bettman and the League have maintained that their resistance of the Hamilton relocation is not out of spite or stubbornness, but out of a defense of the principles and rules involved. The League has also thrown clichéd contradictions toward the media suggesting on the one hand that Phoenix was not in trouble, and on the other that they are in trouble, but that the team is fixable. The League has thus decided to ignore the fact that the Coyotes have never won a playoff series, have not made the playoffs in seven straight seasons, and that the new talent is not the caliber to suggest a major turnaround in the upcoming season. So, financially, the team will not be relying on the players to turn attendance around. Gretzky, the “Great One” (he gets quotation marks around his nickname as he has fallen out of favour with me since he announced support of the bid to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix), wasn’t even enough of a draw to bring fans to the fabulous Jobing.com Arena. If Gretzky and free booze and $9 tickets can’t do it, nothing can.
Since my last entry on May 19th, the Phoenix Coyotes’ sometimes-fans have maintained that they exist, although Sportsnet has reported that at no time during the court proceedings did a Coyotes jersey make an appearance around the courthouse. I remember thinking to myself, if this happened in Toronto, there would be riots! A sea of blue and white would be blocking all entry points to the courthouse and anarchy would surely ensue, but then I thought, “Oh, wait a minute, this would never happen in Toronto because we actually support our hockey team through thick and thin!” Furthermore, since the bid on May 5th, season ticket renewals for the Coyotes have dropped from $1.5M to $20K! So instead of feeling that sense of urgency to get up and support their team now more than ever, the Coyotes fans have decided to wait and see if they still have a team to support even when their lack of support is the root of the problem. They are practically saying “Oh we don’t really care about the team, we just care about losing our money!” You’d get a refund, duh! The worst part is, if these proceedings are dragged out through the summer with appeals and all of that, then the Coyotes will have even fewer supporters by the time September rolls around, not more!
Since my last entry on May 19th, the Balsillie camp has moved forward with plans for the $150M total facelift of Copps Coliseum…and it will look niiiiice! Not only will the exterior be beautified, the interior will be upgraded with restaurants, suites, and a higher seating capacity! However, Balsillie has maintained that he is willing to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix for one more year if the scheduling conflict is too much for the League to handle. However, the League will also have to agree to reimburse Balsillie for the losses the team will incur in Glendale in 09-10 – an estimated $45M!
Since my last entry on May 19th, news reporters, sportscasters , and town drunks alike have all argued to death why and why not the Coyotes will work in Hamilton. This is probably the reason I haven’t updated in so long. We KNOW! We know the facts! We know it will work! And we KNOW it’s a long shot! Men are sooo funny, it’s so easy to regurgitate information and it’s so easy to bet against the underdog! But if you haven’t noticed, upsets exist, and when they do happen the payout is sweet!
Since my last entry on May 19th, the NHL playoffs have continued and Detroit and Pittsburgh are meeting in the Cup finals for the second straight year! I need to pause a moment to say, “Neener, neener, neener, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!” My pre-playoff predictions listed a Wings/Pens rematch in the finals (even though at the time I even said, noooo, that can’t be!) So, take THAT, all of you smelly boys with your Bostons and your San Joses! Yesssssss! Too bad I didn’t bet money on it! Oh well, live and learn.
P.S. I predicted the Red Wings in six!
Picture: An artist’s rendering of the New Copps Coliseum!