Redfield drops a Bomb.


As I’ve said before, everyone has a plan, ’til they get punched in the face.

Bettman, and the NHL just got punched in the face, and now we’ll see if they can take a punch and still stick to the plan.

Today, surprising all involved, Judge Baum moved up the date of the relocation hearing from June 22nd, to June 9th, and has promised a quick ruling. This in itself is a bad omen for the NHL, who wanted to delay the hearing until late August, but when juxtaposed with the fact this ruling came mere hours after Balsillie threatened to withdraw his (and, more importantly, only) purchase offer by the end of June, well, let’s just say it certainly seems Baum is at least interested in having Balsillies offer on the table, and shows that Baum is taking his role of creditor representative seriously. Did I already mention Balsillie is the only one actually offering to buy the team?

Bettman knows his side is on shaky legal ground vis a vis their relocation policies, and for all of the huff and puff of them being the guys who end fights, not start them, they may be reconsidering the prudence of leading with their chin.

There is a lot at stake here, and not just for the NHL.

Every professional sports league is desperate to keep this out of the courts, because a favourable ruling will do nothing to improve their situations, while a negative ruling will send them into a state of chaos.  Basically, they have nothing to gain, but everything to lose.  The status quo, one in which the league surreptitiously manages team locations, works, even if only by the hurdle of costly litigation, and the threat of “bad blood” for anyone willing to challenge it.  But once this threat is called, and challenged, well, lets just say it’s much like Dorothy looking behind the curtain.  The great Oz may be a sham, but so long as nobody looks behind the curtain…everyone remains happy.

Balsillie, and Moyes may not have looked behind the curtain yet, but they’re making their way towards it, and all NA based pro sports leagues are squirming in front of the levers of power.  Their voices are booming, the lights are flashing, the mist is rising, but still Balsillie, and Moyes keep coming.  And like little Toto, Judge R. T. Baum is starting to bark…but as of yet, only he knows what he’s seen behind that curtain.

But, maybe he’s throwing out some hints.  Maybe he’s giving the losing side a chance to blink, before the curtain drops.

So, to use a poker analogy, will Bettman go all in, while holding a pair of pocket two’s, knowing there’s already a potential flush showing, with 2 cards still left to drop?

If he does, he’s got balls of steal, and a brain of stone.

Methinks there are probably some heated discussions taking place among the NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL.  Suddenly the prospect of taking guaranteed money, fixing a problem franchise, and eating a little crow may be looking good about now.

So what will it be Gary…gonna go all in?

GN

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