Is Thrashers Deal Done Or Not?

“An agreement to sell the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group which plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital is done.”




Right? I mean done is done correct?

“As fans celebrated and players wondered where they would be living next season, deal makers continued work late Friday on a complicated transaction that would bring a National Hockey League franchise to Winnipeg for the first time in a generation.”

So, not so done?

I’m confused.

If a deal is done, it’s done. When a story appears on the cover of the Globe and Mail saying it’s done, that means to me that i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Done is done. Brunt didn’t put a numerical indicator on his done; he doesn’t have a scale that tells us it may be done. To quote the scene from The Princess Bride- “he’s only MOSTLY dead”…. done is done and dead is dead.

“Atlanta Spirit, LLC and True North Sports & Entertainment are negotiating the sale and transfer of the Atlanta Thrashers, though the complex deal involving several parties in both countries had yet to be finalized. Lawyers were planning to work through the weekend. A previously planned news conference for Tuesday in Winnipeg may now be delayed, sources say.”

That, my friends isn’t done. Yet to be finalized IS NOT “done”.

Will it get done? Is it done? Should it be done? I have no clue. I do know one thing, still being negotiated isn’t done. Not even using Bill Clinton’s definitions is being negotiated done.

More later

Brunt’s story is here

Today’s updated story is here



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Lee (Oakville)
May 21, 2011 12:14 pm

In my opinion it is becoming more and more obvious that Brunt’s scoop of a “done deal” was premature. This leads to a number of additional points:

1. Individuals that argue that the deal is “done” because it is inevitable that the move to Winnipeg will happen have no idea how complicated business negotiations can be, especially when the purchase price is $160MM and there are many competing interests.

2. Those that say that the deal was stalled because the NHL wants to control the agenda are simply apologists for Brunt and the G&M. I cannot envision the NHL alienating a new partner (Thomson) by making the G&M look bad.

3. TSN, and essentially every other reputable media outlet, was absolutely correct when they reported that the deal was not done. Their steadfast refusal to jump on the bandwagon when their sources said otherwise is to be commended.

4. I was shocked by how many individuals stated they believed the story just because it was from Brunt. No one is above reproach and no one is always 100% right.

May 21, 2011 12:27 pm

Well…Brunt did say, there might be more I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed. Also that the BOG may still have to approve.

So I think his story was that the Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg (a few formalities notwithstanding), not necessarily that the deal was fully finalized.

That’s my guess, anyway.

May 21, 2011 12:30 pm

Having said that – I’m going on what I heard Brunt say on the radio. He may not have put it that way in his original article.

May 21, 2011 12:47 pm

I think there were a lot of people jumping over several reputable reporters just for correctly saying “the deal isn’t done yet” – Damian Cox was being obnoxious about it on Twitter. Simmons was being smug too. Simmons has been wrong several times before – not sure why he insisits on being so smug when these issues arise. Cox? We all remember Pat Burns


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May 21, 2011 2:41 pm

I will belive this will get done…. Brunt will be proven correct as he stateed press conferance just might not happen on Tuesday… TSN is just a lap dog for the NHL…and will do and say anything in there power just to say they “you heard it here first”…

May 21, 2011 3:29 pm
Reply to  mario

Mario: your missing the point. Brunt didn’t write that it WOULD get done. Brunt wrote that it WAS DONE. It’s really that simple. It was either done when he said it was done or it wasn’t. The Globe is reporting today that the negotiations are still getting done. If that is the case, which is what every other outlet is reporting then Brunt’s story is factually incorrect. If Brunt’s story is factually incorrect then really what his story? His story didn’t say this deal will get done. If it said that then you would be right, if it eventually got done Brunt would be proven correct.

That isn’t what happened here.

For those saying that Brunt was saying that on the radio, that’s immaterial. He wrote the story that the deal was done. His paper is now saying it isn’t done.

For what it’s worth, Jim Lang put on his twitter account today that he couldn’t believe TSN was still denying the truth of Brunt’s story. Ooops! That tweet has since been deleted.


May 21, 2011 3:59 pm

TSM: All very good points…I stand corrected…Brunt is a very good writer and we will have to give him a muligen on this one…..but I still think TSN is yes man to the NHL..must be a long weekend thing… have a good one..enjoy and look forward to all your blogs…

May 21, 2011 4:00 pm

Let me preface by saying I like Brunt’s work a lot, but no one is bullet proof. I read his book about Bobby Orr a few years ago. A really great book (all fans should read it). However I found it let Alan Eagleson off the hook rather easily and made Orr look less than symapthetic in his dealings with Eagleson. (That was highly questionable to me from reading the papers). As I read the credits at the end ofthe text, it mentioned that Eagleson cooperated with collecting material and info for the book’s content and Orr effectively did not cooperate. Thus the somewhat tilted perspective. Not untruths at all, just not completely “unbiased” in my opinion.

Footnote: That summer after I read the book, my buddy was playing tennis at a club near the Lake and mentioned that he had seen Eagleson and Brunt having drinks at the clubhouse more than once. The penny kind of dropped for me there. I am not making

If you listen to PTS, Eagleson is obviously a chum of Bobcat’s – and I would assume Brunt’s too…

Brunt’s a wonderful writer – I lost a little bit of respect reading that portion of his book about eagleson. He seems to have jumped the gun here on the Winnipeg thing and has been called on it. It’s not a done deal

May 21, 2011 4:25 pm

I’m kind of getting silly with semantics here, but…

Brunt wrote: “An agreement to sell the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group which plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital is done.”

So he said an agreement is done.

Does that mean that TNSE and Atlanta spirit agree to sell/buy the Thrashers, but are ironing out formalities in the paperwork? Is ‘agreement to sell the team’ the same things as ‘the deal is officially complete’? I have a feeling that’s what Brunt was going for.

But, yeah, if it requires that much explanation then maybe his story was premature.

May 21, 2011 4:27 pm

For example, you might have an agreement to buy a house before you have officially completed all the paperwork and made the official transaction.

May 21, 2011 5:11 pm

Bottom line is, Brunt’s story was wrong, and the TSN guys were right. The deal is not done, and the Globe itself says that the negotiations are continuing. How can it be done if they’re still negotiating?

Bob McKenzie to me is the gold standard of reporters. I remember during the last strike, there was all this talk that it was over and the season was going to resume. I think the Hockey News and the Globe both said it. McKenzie said that not only was the lockout not over, but it was highly unlikely to be a season.

I’ll believe the Thrashers are moving when Bob McKenzie says they are.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
May 21, 2011 7:36 pm


May 21, 2011 9:37 pm

If you listen carefully to Brunt, basically his scoop can be paraphrased as “I guaruntee Atlanta will be moving to Winnipeg”. Saying the “deal is done” is probably not to be taken literally…to paraphrase brunt himself when asked about if the deal was actually finished or in talks:

“depends what you consider done, there
will still be papers to sign months from now for example, but the deal is finalized and there will be an announcemet next week”

personally i’d only see him as wrong if winnipeg somehow doesn’t get the team at all…highly unlikely I think we all agree?

I wouldn’t put it past GB to not attend presser out of spite or something…if not changing date.

May 21, 2011 10:32 pm

Sorry, I disagree. When you say something is done and it’s not, you are wrong, period.

If a deal gets done later this week, he can’t claim he had it first any more than the people who reported Pat Burns death too soon can say they did.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
May 22, 2011 8:45 am

I see both sides of this story, it is very intriguing. I am sure Brunt’s sources indicated to him its gonna happen we have an agreement etc… How detailed their information was is a grey area. Detailed enough however, for him to say Tuesday was the announcement etc…. But he knew that this deal was going to happen.

TSN on the other hand, I suspect as a result of their closeness to the NHL were not going to report on the deal being done until they were told it is done. I think everybody knew prior to Brunt’s report that it looked more than likely to be occurring. But the timing was odd, as he broke it at the same time as a TSN telecast of NHL Game and one with Bettman sitting in the stands. I suspect that with the added radio war between TSN/Sportsnet, Brunt found himself in a spot where he could once again lead Sportsnet with a breaking story and went for it. TSN got their backup and went overboard the other way.

I think both sides have lacked a bit of professionalism in this story.

Funny how a media war has really caused both sides to act different than we are used too. It is great entertainment for us sports lovers.

May 22, 2011 10:14 am

An interesting side note – The Telegram (St. John’s, NL) is reporting that an agreement has been reached for the Manitoba Moose to be relocated to St. John’s and an official announcement is scheduled for Friday (May 27).

Would this arrangement be circulating if the Atlanta to Winnipeg deal wasn’t “done”? Would a Moose to St. John’s announcement be finalized before the Atlanta/Winnipeg move? If anything, I think the Moose to St. John’s deal lends a significant degree of credence to Brunt’s “scoop”.

May 22, 2011 11:46 am

Added observation – I think TSN’s reputation is taking a significant hit on this one. The degree to which TSN continues to go out of it’s way to denounce Blunt’s original piece is amazing and I fear they run the risk of being perceived as a mouthpiece for Bettman and company. You can’t tell us there is no deal in place in one breath and then proceed to break down, in detail, Winnipeg’s potential divisional realignment in another. What I find most insulting is not TSN’s denial of this story, rather it’s the not so subtle inference that there’s no deal in place until TSN tells us there’s a deal in place. Arrogance run amok.

Final thought – I agree with Gerry (Burlington). If you’re a follower of sports media, this is great entertainment.

May 22, 2011 1:30 pm

I think you’re right Gerry – neither outlet is coming off great. Sportsnet looks premature, and TSN is acting pissier and more bitter than I’ve ever seen a network behave before.

The TSN/NHL partnership does add an interesting angle. For example, I went to yesterday, and their in studio expert was Dreger. Does that partnership affect his angle on this story? I really don’t know.

May 22, 2011 1:56 pm

Craig: Well said…Thats just the way TSN operates in trying to pick and dissect to put thier own spin on it… but Brunt could have been a bit more clear on this as well… never the less the deal will get done…

Lee (Oakville)
May 22, 2011 4:05 pm

Interesting discussion, glad we have this forum to share opinions.

I have one last point: Brunt’s initial story indicated that the deal WAS DONE and that a press conference WOULD be held on Tuesday. The deal is in fact not done, as confirmed by the Globe and Mail. No one has ever said that the deal will not get done, only that it was not done as initially reported by Brunt. I am surprised that a journalist of Brunt’s obvious quality would be so unclear in his initial reporting. That is why I still think that his initial “scoop” was premature.

I am also surprised that many journalists, including Cox and Arthur, did not display the required professional curiosity in verifying the story before bowing to Brunt’s deity and accepting the story as fact.

May 22, 2011 5:58 pm

Lee – not to nitpick, and I don’t even necessarily disagree with you..

But – As far as I saw, the article said ‘an agreement was done’. I didn’t see ‘the deal is done’.

Like an example I wrote above, I have an agreement to buy a condo right now – but I haven’t officially closed. The paperwork won’t be completed for a week.

So – I think that’s the potential gray area.

Steve (in Hamilton)
Steve (in Hamilton)
May 22, 2011 6:09 pm

It strikes me that all indications are that the deal is/was effectively done and that this debate amounts to a mere academic exercise in quibbling and sour grapes. On PTS Friday Brunt went into an explanation about how he received the story, and the trajectory of the story seems to indicate that a deal is, in fact, done.

Also Brunt made the point (on Friday) that Bettman likely won’t be there on Tuesday, effectively because he doesn’t like to be upstaged, but that it’s really just a matter of fine-tuning the agreement. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday – Brunt still reported the story and to argue otherwise to play the TSN troll.

Although I don’t like it when Brunt does his gushy “essays,” for the most part he is not an NHL sycophant, while the hockey-gang at TSN clearly are. That is, he is not a one-trick pony, unlike the TSN boys.

The TSN boys are just bitter and jealous, while Brunt seemed to find it rather amusing on Friday.

I find it amusing as well because, ultimately, who cares about this issue? To spend so much time on it is a sign that the apocalypse really should have happened yesterday. 🙂

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
May 22, 2011 6:23 pm

It doesn’t matter if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday – Brunt still reported the story and to argue otherwise to play the TSN troll.

i disagree. anyone could have reported that story, since it seems obvious that a deal is in the works, and should be done quickly since there is a willing buyer and a willing seller.

Brunt went beyond this, and claimed a deal was done and that a press conference date was set. Those are the details that set his story apart. The first half of that no longer seems true, and we’ll see if the second half materializes.

If you’re going to try to break a story ahead of others, then you need to own it if your details aren’t accurate.

Steve (in Hamilton)
Steve (in Hamilton)
May 22, 2011 10:56 pm

And if the team is sold, I think Brunt is still right.

Ultimately, to me, it doesn’t matter about the small details. He reported that the team was set to be sold and, if it is sold in the next few days, he will be proved correct.

Actually, Brunt doesn’t need to do anything. He explained how he received the sources on PTS, and seemed quite up front about that.

Sorry to sound rude about this, but right now it strikes me that people are quibbling about trivial matters.

The real story here, to me, is that most of the reporters biting back at Brunt are in the pay of the NHL, bought and paid for.

May 23, 2011 5:09 pm

Like Steve said the only thing that matters is if they go to Winnipeg. Debating over a word is pretty inconsequential in the big picture. If it gets done Brunt is right and if it doesn;t he is wrong.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x