Thrashers, Jets & Moose Oh My

How great is this cartoon from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution?

Stephen Brunt told the Jeff Blair show this morning that he thinks this is really it for the people of Winnipeg, “I think an announcement could come as early as the end of this week or next week”.

There is a ton of information out there, here are a few highlights:

“There is, sort of. The same cluster of fans who loved the Thrashers when they arrived in 1999 love them still, but the franchise has had 12 years to attract a bigger audience and failed. For the zealots, separation would come as a blow. For the rest of us, it would mean little. Because the Thrashers have never sold themselves to us. They haven’t won big enough. They’ve been part of Atlanta, but they’ve never become part of the Atlanta conversation.”

That says it all to me.

“We know that the current ownership of the Thrashers has been trying for a long period of time to try and sell the franchise and they haven’t been able to do it. … If they can’t find local ownership, then we might all have to deal with that. But I know they have tried very hard and I assume that they continue to try very hard.”

Atlanta would be losing an NHL franchise for the second time. The city lost the Flames to Calgary in 1980. An expansion team was awarded to the city on June 25, 1997, named the Thrashers eight months later, to begin play for the 1999-2000 season.”

That from the article that broke the actual news of discussions between Atlanta and Winnipeg.

“However, I would simply caution you to not fall prey to some of the stuff being cranked out of the rumor mill while this saga plays out. And don’t allow your emotions to be yanked up and down whenever you read about “impending announcements” from sources that have no names.

In the end, the outcome of this drama will be directed by not the internet pundits or talking heads on sports shows across North America. Nor will the matter be settled by those cyber-warriors who infiltrate blog sites and debate the merits of Atlanta, Phoenix, Winnipeg or [insert name of city here] as an NHL city.”

An excellent fan perspective.

“It became crystal clear that a number of them couldn’t care less about working in an environment that not only understands the game and is passionate about it, but is a center of popularity for it.

We sat here and listened to pretentious millionaires who play a game for a living whine about their hard knock lives and how they would have to uproot their families and kids, and how Phoenix has such great weather and schools. We even had an up and coming goaltender threaten to return and play hockey in Russia rather than re-sign with a team that was destined to return to Winnipeg.”

Seems the Coyotes desire to stay south ruffled some feathers in Winnipeg

“The NHL, by virtue of allowing these talks and working on a schedule that includes Winnipeg, is prepared to let relocation to Winnipeg happen.

More to the point, commissioner Gary Bettman is OK with it.

Mr. Bettman gets what he wants in the NHL and if you need proof, just have a look at the sideshow in Phoenix. The commissioner wasn’t interested in leaving the desert and he moved heaven and hell to keep the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.

The board of governors have Bettman’s back and his blessing on talks between True North and Atlanta Spirit tells the entire story in terms of the governors. They’ve signed off and any needed massaging of league bylaws is an afterthought.

If True North can give Atlanta Spirit what it wants in short order — this deal will be done and approved and Winnipeg will have its Jets or Falcons or Moose or whatever they end up being called by this fall.”

The Winnipeg perspective that has been all over this story

“The reason Balsillie never succeeded was not because of the money, or the NHL’s supposed fear of going back to Canada. No, the problem was that Balsillie, who tried to purchase the Coyotes through bankruptcy court, never respected the process.

Or rather, he never respected NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.”

Maybe Jim Balsillie should have been spending more time on the planning of the playbooks!

More as news develops-

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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