Thursday Sports Review-Birth OF TSM & Drunk Gilmour? BYE BYE MONSTER?

What a strange collection of articles in today’s papers. Seriously, the good, the bad and ugly.

In case you weren’t sure, Bill Lnkhoff cemented his place in mediocrity with could easily be the dumbest article written in a Toronto paper, um, ever. Here’s the headline: “Greed-driven MLSEL doesn’t deserve a single penny” Excuse me? Let’s dissect this. Name one legitimate business that isn’t greed driven? There isn’t a legitimate business out there that isn’t in the business of making money. Don’t give me this crap that doesn’t mean they are greedy. The suits at MLSE are in the business to make money. No different than anyone else in business. As for the fact that they don’t deserve a penny…That’s just plain stupid. If the guy wanted to make the argument that they aren’t entitled to x, whatever x is I could live with that. To say they don’t deserve a penny shows how far removed from reality Lankhoff is. Seriously, it’s the type of moronic statement that I would expect Bill Watters to utter when he first took to the airwaves. Now, I know what your going to say, it’s just the headline and he didn’t write that. So we look in the article and find it’s worse than the headline:

“This is the money Balsillie would have to pay to compensate Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and, to a lesser extent, the Buffalo Sabres and the league. It’s blood money. Some might argue legalized extortion. And, in the end, fans will pay — and MLSEL will pad its bottom line, which is what it does best.”

Every other sports team that has it’s territory encroached upon has received some “blood money”. Does that make them undeserving or greedy????????? NO jackass!

“This extra stipend would be on top of the $212.5 million Ballsillie would pay Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes for the franchise and it doesn’t include renovations to Copps Coliseum, marketing, advertising, moving or payroll costs. Balsillie may be able to afford all that. But to meet costs, his ticket prices aren’t going to be much cheaper than the ones that people who visit my rec room can’t afford now to watch MLSEL’s teams. In other words, even if they don’t own the team, MLSEL will still be putting the squeeze on your wallet. Is it any wonder that ordinary NHL fans feel disconnected? ”

No really, someone wake me up. This guy can’t be this out to lunch can he???? You can’t expect to move in to someone else’s territory and not have to pay for that right. It’s the way business works in, ummmm REALITY!!!

“Other than the sultans of Bay St., the days when it was possible for someone to take their family to a Leafs game ended about the same time the team paraded the Stanley Cup to city hall. Not that there has been a lot to see since MLSEL and the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund took control of sports in this city. MLSEL is to sports what the Titanic was to shipping. It makes lots of money, it’s full of all the beautiful people — and it always ends up dead in the water.”

Now you see, this is the type of comment that made me start this site. What does one issue have to do with the other? MLSE subscribes to this tiny theory called supply versus demand. They charge for a ticket what the market will bear. What that has to do with their success or lack their of on the ice is not the least bit relevant in this type of article. Is this dipstick really trying to make the argument that because they aren’t successful on the ice they shouldn’t be allowed ANYTHING when someone squats on their rights?????? Really?????????? So because Lankhoff’s a really bad writer I can go build a smaller house on his property and move in and not pay him anything?????? It’s a stretech, but reallly not that much different. I mean just because he owns the land doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to live on it too right?????? AND how dare he ask for any penalty,m he’s a shitty writer!

“That this business — and it is business more than it is a sports enterprise — needs protection money after it has pillaged the local populace is an utter abomination. It is not MLSEL that needs protection from Baum. It’s southern Ontario hockey fans. They have had to watch a franchise that was once a national icon degenerate into a corporate logo for selling everything from concerts to condos. The hockey? Abysmal. And, that’s being polite.”

With all due respect to some of the writers who have done a very good job covering business related stories over the year, THIS IS WHY SPORTS WRITERS SHOULDN’T COVER BUSINESS STORIES. What we in Southern Ontario need is protection from this shitty type of work. We aren’t stupid used car dealers from those sterotypical 70’s movies!

There’s more in his article but I won’t put you through it. It’s utter crap. It’s old, it’s tired and everything that is wrong with reporting in this town from a sports media perspective. For every advance that guys like Blair, Arthur, Cox, Brunt, Mcgran have made, a dipstick like this who is stuck in the old Archie Bunker/Bill Watters days of yester-decade of reporting with their head firmly in their ass. If you want to read it, or wipe your ass with it after taking a dump, here is Lankhoff’s shitpile.

In case you weren’t sure, that was the ugly….

In the same paper, Steve Simmons has a good review of where things stand in the desert:

“Judge Baum indicated he didn’t need to be an expert to determine that an NHL franchise in Hamilton was worth more than an NHL franchise in Glendale, Ariz. But he also made it clear that the league must be compensated for franchise movement: This is where Balsillie and his campaign to have seven hockey teams in Canada comes in to play. Would he pay $25 million, the number the Los Angeles Kings were compensated when the Anaheim Ducks came into the NHL? Would he pay the complex amount that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the New Jersey Devils paid when infringing upon the territory of the New York Rangers, Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers? Daly wouldn’t put a figure on that, but said it was double the price of the franchise at that time: In fairness, the Colorado Rockies, before moving to New Jersey, were worth next to nothing. Or is the number the $100 million that’s been kicking around? ”

That’s a great summation. The judge has said that a reasonable relocation fee is to be expected. The amount of the fee is the question. What is reasonable and to whom? Nowhere, and I mean nowhere did the issue of indemnification get raised. I’ve said this too many times, if Balsillie were asked 6 months ago if he would pay 312m USD for a team in Hamilton the answer would be yes. Keep that in mind. Would he pay 412m USD for that??? I don’t know. Would he pay 412m to play in the GTA? I think the answer would be yes. The mere fact that this is being debated shows you the inroads he has made. Will he win, I have no clue. At least this Sun writer can stay on point without being a total socialist! Simmons is here

Damien Cox has a similar piece that is right on the money in my mind. In law school they taught us to tell clients 2 things, the law aint cheap and a deal struck with the opposition ahead of litigation is usually better than the outcome by a judge.

“Stuck with a $212 million (U.S.) bid from Balsillie in one hand and nothing in the other except promises from the NHL, Baum isn’t left with many choices. He can only try to bring the buyer and the seller together in a way that best benefits the creditors. This is the awkward chain of events, one might guess, that Balsillie and his people were always counting on, having seen the Coyotes’ financials. But getting it to this point and getting the Coyotes to Copps Coliseum aren’t quite the same thing, are they? For starters, there’s this concept of a relocation fee. What was left unclear after Tuesday’s hearing was whether the judge believed or understood that fee would include territorial indemnification of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, although the league believes the two would be separate. So we could be talking a lot more than $100 million here, folks. As well, once the judge actually rules on something, which he has studiously avoided doing since he started hearing this case, it seems certain that if that ruling is not to the liking of the NHL, the league will immediately appeal. So as much as Balsillie wanted to crow yesterday that a team in Hamilton was “one step closer,” left unsaid was that it still might be 1,000 steps away from actually happening. Behind all of this lurks the spectre of the Leafs and how they would respond to having a team in Hamilton foisted upon them without their explicit permission. But with it now seeming abundantly clear that there will one day soon be another NHL team in southern Ontario, the Leafs might start wanting to consider that a franchise in Hamilton would be more agreeable to their interests than one in Vaughan or Downsview or some other GTA location. The NHL lost control of the Phoenix situation long ago and it has proved to be both damaging and embarrassing to the league. The Leafs might want to make the best deal they can now, rather than wait for events to deliver something less to their liking.”

Hamilton sounds a hell of a lot better to me if I am MLSE than Downsview! It may be a better idea to get a deal done this way after all. I don’t think they want to make a deal anywhere but it is good food for thought. Damien’s story is here

Not on the topic, but Damien did a homerun today on the subject of Danny The Teammate Killer Heatley:

“Talk to Dany Heatley once and you understand you’re not talking to a MENSA candidate. That’s okay. As probably more a few coaches have told Heatley along the way: don’t think, it just hurts the team.”

That’s fantastic. No really, that is frreaking FANTASTIC!!!

“I get the part where he doesn’t want to live in Ottawa. Neither would I. I get the part where after being allowed to freelance continuously during his years as a heroic Senator he might chafe at the notion of being asked to play a larger team game. Geez, if he’d known he’d have to play in three zones he’d have asked for more money.”

Ummm, am I sensing a tad bit of sarcasm here aren’t I???? BRILLIANT!!! Does he make the Olympic team? I could care less right now…. the damospin is here

Want to see fluff?? Check this article out…

I like this blurb from Kevin McGran’s piece in the Star:

“Relocation is separate from indemnity,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “There may be indemnity fees owing if a franchise were ever located in Hamilton.”

I don’t care what you want to call it Bill. The ball isn’t in your court. It’s in the Judge’s ask for all you can, see what you get. For more on that read McGran’s column here

The one thing you should have picked up during this whole mess in the desert is that there are no shortage of legal experts with varying opinions on the law and what will happen next. David Shoalts dug deep to find someone at Stanford to garner an opinion that same issue, indemnity fees.

“The NHL had better be careful on how much it demands in relocation and indemnification fees for the Phoenix Coyotes to move to Hamilton or it could be left empty-handed after a move is ordered by the courts, says an expert in sports economics and law from Stanford University. Roger Noll, an economics professor at Stanford, said Thursday that indemnification fees, which would be paid to teams when another team enters its territory, are not allowed under U.S. law. That was proven in the landmark anti-trust case that saw Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis move his NFL team to Los Angeles in 1982 without paying the fee.”

Exactly! You never know what happens when you roll the dice with a judge. If there was sure thing you wouldn’t pay a lawyer to go to court. It’s never simple and it’s never a guarantee.

““I’m sure the NHL knows it’s on legally shaky ground,” Noll said, suggesting Daly’s talk of an indemnification fee was a negotiating ploy. “The NHL wants to get paid something. They want to have something to distribute to the other clubs as a result.” Noll said the previous indemnification fees paid by NHL teams were voluntary because the owners involved did not want to get in a legal fight. John McMullen paid around $35-million, including the purchase price for the franchise, when the Colorado Rockies became the New Jersey Devils in 1982. In fact, the last time an NHL team was placed in another team’s territory, the incoming owner refused to pay an indemnification fee. Michael Eisner, the head of Disney, paid $50-million for the expansion Anaheim Ducks, which was the going rate for expansion teams in 1993. Eisner would not pay anything more, so in the end the NHL gave half of the $50-million to Bruce McNall, who owned the Los Angeles Kings at the time, and called it an indemnification fee.”

Which is exactly why it is laughable for some of the talking heads to be spouting off on what they think is going to happen when they have no friggin Lankhoff, I mean clue.

“The NHL’s problem, Noll said, is that the main responsibility of the bankruptcy judge is to get the highest amount of money possible for the creditors. If the league insists on too much money for a relocation fee, it could have an impact on the auction for the Coyotes, meaning there would be less money for the creditors. “The judge well knows that,” Noll said. “So the NHL is not in a great position.”

Which is precisely why Jim Balsillie’s legal team chose the bankruptcy route!!! Shoalts is here

Still looking for the definition of fluff? Look here

Am I alone in not getting the BOLT attention? Who cares about this guy??? Not I….Sorry Ben Johnson blew it for me. Having said that, how is it the guy who showed up on the front page of all our papers today, got no notice for wearing this t-shirt when he arrived?

I like him a lot better now!

Ummmm, I love the big Lebowski, and I am a Doug Gilmour fan, but can someone tell me just how much Doug had to drink before getting interviewed today? WOW- is this in english??

Lastly, a little birdie tells me that Jonas The Monster Gustavsson is leaning heavily towards joining the Colorado Avalanche. Could that change? Of course. I am told if I was thinking of putting money on it, bet on the Avs getting the Monster. Ya know, maybe I should come up with a rating for my rumours….


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