If Pigs Could Fly They Would Have Flight Attendants

“Ultimately, if it makes sense from a league perspective, I’m sure it will happen. But that doesn’t mean that’s any time in the foreseeable future,”

Pardon the expression, but no shit sherlock! The “it” in question happens to be in this case a second team in southern Ontario. However, given the quote from Bill Daly, the “it” may as well have been mars. Seriously, what has Daly said here that is the least bit newsworthy? Oh, I know, that the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t have any say in the matter as it relates to a second team in their backyard. This too is hardly news, as the league has voiced that opinion earlier this summer when they were becoming more and more likely to be the proud new owners of your Phoenix Coyotes.

Daly is a lot of things, and dumb isn’t one of them. The league has taken quite a bit of flack for being “anti-Canadian” over the least couple of months. Jim Balsillie, the guy who didn’t like to attend his own pep-rallies, was very successful in stirring the league vs. Canada pot. No matter how many times Bettman or anyone else from the league said it wasn’t a Canada issue, the Make It Seven guys were sure to hit the hockey is Canada’s game sentiment. You know that Daily and Bettman for that matter knew this would be a topic at the Burke run/sponsored sports event in Toronto. There is no chance that the answer provided by Daily wasn’t thought over a head of time. The reality is, he didn’t say anything.

“If the league ever comes to us and says: ‘Look guys, it’s time,’ and makes the case, then we’ve got to listen,”

Neither did Brian Burke either.Of course there is no reason for the Toronto Maple Leafs to comment until there is an issue. Why get into a pissing match with the league on an issue like this until their is an issue. There is no conflict here. Furthermore, all Burke has said is that if they come to us we will listen. What has Burke committed the Leafs to exactly? Nothing. In order for the statement to be the least likely to be true, it’s starts with the premise that the league actually would come to Burke’s Leafs.

Take a look at the headline in this morning’s STAR:

“Leafs would not oppose second NHL team for T.O.”


“The Maple Leafs are not opposed to a second NHL team setting up shop in the Greater Toronto Area.”


That isn’t what Burke said. READ the quote! It says, if they came to us and it made sense we would listen. Nowhere does it say, we would agree, nor does it say we wouldn’t fight it! What a crock of shit. It’s no wonder sports executives may have a hard time with the MSM in this town. Burke’s quote couldn’t be clearer. The interpretation of it in the Star appears to be totally misleading.

Compare to the headline in the Sun:

“Burke: Leafs will never say ‘never’ regarding second team”


“The Maple Leafs aren’t warm to the idea of a second team in their yard, but that doesn’t mean they and the NHL can’t see the day coming. ”

That certainly seems to be case of responsible journalism to me, at least as compared to the Star.

There is one refreshing part of this story which will be the MAJOR topic of conversation for the next couple of days I am sure by the MSM, and that is that at least for right now, Brian Burke appears to be the Toronto Maple Leafs spokesman, replacing Richard Peddie. Granted I am not in Toronto at this time, I am not seeing one quote or comment by the man who loves the mic. All the focus from the Leafs is shining where it should shine and that is on Brian Burke. That is a very nice change.

“It remains our intention to get Wayne paid because he’s owed some money,” he told Tony Ambrogio of Sportsnet. “He has about US$8- or US$9-million that he’s earned in deferred money. That will be the first chunk we want him to get paid for.”

More shocking revelations from Bettman’s right hand man. Seems pretty simple to me, the greatest ambassador the game has ever had is due a large chunk of cash by the team currently owned by the league and the league says it intends on paying him what it owes him. What it most likely means is how can we get #99 to continue to be our ambassador given what we have put him through over the last couple of months. The reality is, given that the team was put through the bankruptcy process I am not entirely sure that the NHL can just write a check to Gretzky in that he was a creditor. In any event, the guy fulfilled his end of the bargain and he should get paid. I have to assume that when Daly is referring to “chunks” he is referring to the fact that Gretzky is owed $8-9m for work he has already completed- the deferred money, and was due other monies for work to be done prior to him quitting his coaching gig. The issue on the second chunk would be determined on the language in 99’s coaching contract and whether or not Gretzky’s legal team would try to suggest that Gretzky was essentially fired (in legal terms) and had no choice but to quit. I can’t imagine the league wanting to go down the litigation route with Gretzky.

So, all in all another non-story to engulf our sports lives. The truth of the matter is not much was said here. Nothing new, nothing shocking and no nothing appears to be imminent.

The one interesting NHL news piece today was that Donald Fehr of MLB fame has agreed to assist the NHLPA in it’s search for a new leader to be added to the payroll and to evaluate their current constitution. I think that I am most likely alone on this one, but I think that getting someone of Fehr’s ilk involved in the NHLPA is probably a good thing for the game. The players are going to have a voice so it may as well be be based upon a foundation that makes some sense. Fehr served his constituents very well at MLBPA, under his guidance the players were able to ride out numerous storms and the problems that many of us see in MLB these days are the doing of their commissioner. Besides, how long can it be until Chelios or someone else starts stabbing this guy in the back at 4am? I mean come on, it’s the NHLPA 🙂



quotes came from here, here and here

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