Monday, March 26, 2012

Quebec Fallout: What the Hell is Going On Out Here?

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern. Separated at birth?
I was harsh on ruling Gary Bettman a "failure" when it comes to the possible move of the Phoenix Coyotes (or some mystery franchise -- I'm looking at you Dallas) to Quebec City.  Two franchises relocating to cities that have lost teams earlier in your tenure does not necessarily make you a failure.  Nor does one lockout (now two, that may be a problem).  I'll admit, that's a harse assessment.  Bettman has transformed the NHL into a multi-billion dollar industry by spreading the sport to other markets and through TV rights deals.  Plus, he confesses to his mistakes.  I guess that's a good thing, even from a fan's standpoint.  But, I come from an American perspective.  Canadians do not want him to take hockey away from its homeland and place it in the desert or the beach.  Which makes sense, more or less, because although I would like to see more Canadian MLB teams it's hard to imagine the outrage if, say, the Rays moved up north. (By the way, just for fun, I searched "What are good things Gary Bettman has done for hockey?" into Google.  Not a lot of positive reviews came up.  Just FYI.)

Perhaps, though, much of the fuel of my anger comes from this assumption that the Coyotes are already on their way to Quebec.  An assumption, of course.

From the CBC:
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was asked on Sunday whether the possibility of the struggling Phoenix Coyotes being relocated to Quebec City was strengthened by the announcement on Sunday. 
"No, there's nothing new here," Daly wrote in an e-mail.
The same Bill Daly that denied any deal was done less than a month ago.  Damn, Daly sounds like one tough hombre.  Do not cross that man.

His response makes sense, though.  The NHL is not going to tip its hand, nor outright say "Oh heck, yeah, that changes everything!"  No, they are playing the game just like everyone else in this situation.  Quebecor, that crazy Saskatoon guy, any and all of the Coyotes possible owners.  Everybody.  What we know is that the NHL is doing everything they can (or have done everything they could for the past three years) to keep the Coyotes at Arena.  Meanwhile, Quebec City and Seattle are building arenas and assembling owner-type people in hopes of getting a wayward franchise.  In reality, Mayflower moving trucks are not converging on Glendale, Arizona as you read this.  Possibly...

And that's where it gets confusing.

Earlier this week we heard about the NHL's "Plan B", their probable contingency plan for the Coyotes if all ownership candidates fall through.  In that contingency plan, the NHL will likely relocate the team to one of three cities: Seattle, Quebec City, or Kansas City.

From PucKChaser:
Kansas City was mentioned as a “in the mix”, but no one has ever explained why. 
That is the money statement, right there.  Quebec makes sense because of what we have seen from Quebecor and the new arena, etc.  Seattle makes sense because of their possible arena deal, and a possible owner attached to said arena.  Kansas City makes sense because of... is it still because of the Sprint Center?  Or AEG?  Barbecue...?  Something does not add up.

Easy answer:  The NHL is full of crap.
Fun answer: We are not being told everything, and the rabbit hole goes much much deeper than we know.  Kansas City, Seattle, and Quebec City.  Those three cities, not any others.  Apparently, they have more significance than Las Vegas or Saskatoon in this case.  We just do not know exactly why.  Obviously, though, the NHL must be on speaking terms with these cities.  Therefore, Bill Daly's comments do not hold much truth.  Then again, they do.  The NHL could care less about new arenas.  Also, not only has the NHL not sold the Coyotes, they have a Plan B.  But, a new Quebec or Seattle arena will not sway that opinion.  What about the owners.  Pierre-Karl Peladeau and Quebecor in Quebec.  Christopher Hansen et al. in Seattle.  Who in Kansas City?  Mystery guy?  Has AEG found someone and nobody knows.  Not likely.  But, what strange goings-on, indeed.

The only thing that might have some truth is that the NHL operates like the Knights Templar, guarding secrets and leaking (possibly) faulty information to keep us all guessing.
Playing with the King of Hearts, knowing it ain't really smart.

No comments:

Post a Comment