White Knight Becomes “The Black Knight”?

Yes, my first post is not about the Sens.

I’m still catching up on that, and will be blogging later today.

This one is about the Phoenix saga.

My, how things have changed!

Reinsdorf out, NHL in, and Balsillie still leading with his chin and throwing knock-out punches.

Has his Eugene slagging cooled my enthusiasm for him?


The fact is, the NHL is the one who raised the issue of “character”, not JB, and if they want to start slinging mud, well, fair is fair.

I say to big Mel, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, then complain when you get shot.

Ultimately, as in everything the NHL has done in the process, it is their own reputation that is being dragged through the mud.  The more they try to slag JB, rightly or wrongly, the more JB exposes their own financial, legal, and moral skeletons.

This is the epitome of don’t throw stones at the bull in the glass house, and yet the NHL seems prepared to risk so much, for so little.  You don’t “like” JB, ok, we get it, now, buck up, look at the big picture, and learn to play nice.

We all have to do it, everyday, so why can’t you, ya bunch of spoiled rich kids!

Every NHL owner is looking like a spoiled brat, and JB, at worst, is looking like a hawk…but isn’t being “hawkish” in terms of owning a professional sports team, an enviable quality?  Would you rather have a Ballard or MLSE type who just wants to either play owner, or reap profits, with no real concern for winning?

Like I said, Bettman et al., get over it, and move ahead with an improved NHL. The fact of the matter is,  in 5 years, should JB get the team into S. Ontario, everyone will have forgotten the drama, and wondered why this wasn’t done 15 years ago.

Will JB win?

Honestly, who knows?

But, with Reinsdorf having bowed out, it sure looks like Glendale is unlikely to offer the sort of “deal” necessary to maintain the ‘Yotes in Arizona.

The NHL, with their offer, reminds one of the “Quest For The Holy Grail” Black Knight.  JB keeps swinging his broad sword, and every time he lops ff a limb, the Black Knight insists it os of no concern.  The NHL, after lossing their White Knight in Reinsdorf, has all but said they will personally eat the losses in Phoenix, then at some future date sell the team out of Arizona, leaving Glendale and Moyes high and dry, rather than accept JB into the fold.

So, if I’m Baum, I’ve got to thinking, when (not if) that does occur, will Glendale be better off taking the known JB money now, and moving on with the inevitable, or waiting for a future date, and maybe less money (if any), should the NHL retain ownership, and do an internal selling off of the franchise, or worse, simply contract it, leaving all creditors out in the cold?

There is no doubt, with the new “move now” provision contained within JB’s offer, JB is looking for a knock-out victory.  Either he smells blood, and truly believes he represents the only viable offer on the table, so can ask for almost anything he wants, or he too has become so personally attached with this situation, that he’s willing to risk absolute defeat, in hopes of gaining absolute victory.

I question why JB hasn’t instead made a “one year” offer to Glendale, giving them one year to accept a known “renegotiated” lease agreement, or accept the monies set aside in the purchase agreement as payment for the absolution of future contractual lease obligations.

To me, this would provide Baum with the best of both worlds but, from JB’s perspective, would also leave open the thorny issue of relocation.

But I suspect, all statements by the NHL to the contrary, a renegotiation with Glendale is a moot point, as, in order for the ‘Yotes to be financially viable, as is the purpose of any renegotiation, the new lease agreement would be all but equivalent to the team leaving.  The fact is, the ‘Yotes, in Arizona, can’t work, and any payment for a lease only adds to the losses.  Glendale knows this, Baum knows this, Reinsdorf knew this, the NHL knows this, and JB knows this.

Getting zero dollars, and having the team continue to play in Glendale, is probably worse than having them leave, and getting a few million in return.  Yeah, the citizens will be pissed about the white elephant of an arena, but they’ve likely already accepted that reality.  Keeping the ‘Yotes around though will only keep the issue alive, and ready to once again rear its ugly poilitical head at some future date.

Better to take a few bucks now, and bury the dead, then leave it to rot in the sun, and spread it’s stink, and disease.

Ugly metaphor, but true.

Stay tuned, because Sept. 2nd is going to be pivotal in this lowest common denominator drama.

No matter what happens, the NHL has, in many ways, already lost.  They’ve looked pathetic, smarmy, and dysfunctional.  Hardly the public image any business wants to portray…especially while marginalizing your biggest customer, Canada.



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