Is Atlanta To Winnipeg Really Done?

There are those of you out there who will say that Stephen Brunt was right, that he broke this story. But I digress.

Like they say in the world of American football, “On any given Tuesday.”

Brunt, to his credit does the story right today:

“Just a technicality, that – like the ones lawyers have been ironing out for the past week and a half, after the owners of the Atlanta Thrashers agreed to sell their team to Mark Chipman and David Thomson, whose family company is controlling shareholder of the Globe and Mail.. ”

Damn technicalities right, they f everything up all the time.

“On May 20, the Atlanta owners and the potential Winnipeg owners agreed on a term sheet and framework for the sale, and stakeholders were put on alert to expect a press conference the following Tuesday. Some of those directly involved in the deal were prepared to declare it done.”

Clearly, one of those “directly involved” was giddy enough to call Brunt & “declare it done”.


Now pay attention because all you need to know is in the next paragraph from Brunt:

“But when that story went public, and Winnipeggers immediately began dancing in the streets, others became nervous, because t’s remained to be crossed and i’s dotted – and if there’s one thing a potential NHL owner isn’t supposed to do, it is cause the league and its commissioner embarrassment, or duress, or create public confusion as to who is in charge of the process. ”

T’s weren’t crosed and I’s weren’t dotted. Sorry, but done isn’t done until they are, or in sports talk, until the Fat Lady has sung.

So, today is the day. Done is mostly done, all that is missing is the board of governors vote. Hard to believe they couldn’t jump on a conference call to speed this up but….again I digress.

The harsh reality is that the Thrashers haven’t had a chance at survival for years. The minute the Atlanta Spirit had this franchise forced upon them the moving trucks should have been called. Their failure to make the post season this year was the ultimate death blow. Every single reliable person I spoke with who looked at the books said no one in their right mind would touch this deal. Everyone who did with an interest at keeping them in Atlanta turned out to be as I was told, not more than a tire kicker. Will that white knight appear before the BOG meeting? Never say never I guess.

I will try to prepare a best of coverage story for you tonight on all the coverage.

Meanwhile, without question the BEST, and I mean BEST story I have read on the whole Jets, Thrashers and Moose oh my story comes from Puck Daddy over at Yahoo!. A phenomenal timeline of stories on the exodus from Winnipeg to the return. A must read for those into the whole business of sports thing. You can read it here.

There is lots going on with Toronto Sports Media. So far just talk and plans. Hopefully good, or at least interesting news to share soon.

Have a great Tuesday, while I suffer in the dentists chair.



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Kevin A.
May 31, 2011 11:17 am

“T’s weren’t crosed and I’s weren’t dotted. Sorry, but done isn’t done until they are, or in sports talk, until the Fat Lady has sung.
So, today is the day. Done is mostly done, all that is missing is the board of governors vote.”

So, by the same logic, today’s announcement will not be official. The deal will not be done. All the t’s will not be crossed, and all the i’s will not be dotted.

Lee (Oakville)
May 31, 2011 11:27 am

Interesting to see how Stephen Brunt has now qualified his original “scoop” to account for the realities of the situation. It should not be forgotten that every reputable news source (New York Times, ESPN, all Winnipeg, Atlanta and Toronto dailies, and even the G&M the day after the scoop) indicated that the deal was NOT done. Brunt has now confirmed this. To attack TSN as the sole detractor is wrong and ignores the true sequence of events.

A couple of other thoughts:

1. This whole Thrashers-to-Winnipeg story is indicative as to how illiterate most/all sports journalists are to the business of sports. In the real world one would instantly lose credibility if they were to trumpet a deal as done and it tok another 10 days to finalize.

2. The support Brunt has received from his cronies at The Fan (especially Cox and McCown) is embarassing. Cox’s public fellating of Brunt is indicative of his usual disregard of facts and reality of the timeline and business realities.

Steve (in Hamilton)
Steve (in Hamilton)
May 31, 2011 12:40 pm

Get real boys – Brunt got a tip, reported it, then spoke about how he got the story.

He hasn’t been taking shots at other figures in this, although many have taken their best shots at him.

For the most part, sports journalism isn’t real journalism – but Brunt is the closest we’ve got to a jounalist who does reporting/opinion, and who isn’t bought and paid for by a brand or league. TSN – Dreger et al. – are the Mary Harts of hockey media: their reports are based on propping up the system; they are, in essence, entertainment reporters.

Even when Brunt makes an error, I will take him (and his class) over the approach of others any day. The “evolution” of sports media is not always such a positive thing.

Al from Burlington
Al from Burlington
May 31, 2011 1:22 pm

Bettman sure looked pissed off at the press conference, and that he wished he was anywhere else rather than Winnipeg

May 31, 2011 1:22 pm

Brunt might have been a little premature, but I thought TSN (and Dreger’s in particular) reaction to Brunt’s story was laughable. Like a kid who had his ball stlolen.

Phil S
Phil S
May 31, 2011 1:28 pm

Brunt had the story 1st. Dreger et all are just bitter they weren’t the one’s to break it. As stated above, they are bought and sold by the NHL and will never ask a real tough question…such as…”Um…Gary, if Winnipeg is part and parcel of the heart and soul of the game which is Canada, why won’t you allow a 2nd team in the largest market in Canada?”

It will be a cold day in hell before we ever hear that asked.

Hockey journalists are a joke. An embarrassment to the word journalism. Witness Millard’s MR.BETTMAN today…please give a break. This joke of a commissioner followed an expansion strategy that has been an abject failure and has created hockey markets that will not support anything but a Stanley Cup winner. Bettman needs to be called out on all of this but it will never happen. And as much as McCown is a little too comfy in his dottage, there’s a reason Bettman won’t go on Prime Time anymore. Because he knows he’ll get REAL questions from him and Brunt. And they will ask FOLLOW UP question. Unlike the joke of a hockey media.

Phil S
Phil S
May 31, 2011 1:40 pm

Further to my point…

Bettman was just interviewed and actually said the following…and none of the so called journalists made a peep to call him on it.

“There were people expressing the opinion that somehow we came here as a last resort…that’s absolutely not true. There were LOTS of places we could have come to, but this is the place we wanted to be.”


They had to cut back to the studio to Brunt to get the truth. He said Bettman needed to be hooked up to a polygraph machine…in other words, he is a liar.

Unbelievable. And these same “journalists” cry foul when Brunt scooped them on the biggest story in Canadian hockey this decade.

Not really very much of a surprise.

May 31, 2011 1:47 pm

Brunt deserves priase. He said it was a done deal and it was, fine it happened a week later, but the wheels were than in motion for it to happen, and it did. How many were wrong saying Phoenix was as good as gone, lets applaud the guy who actually got it correct

I think Brady deserves some love as well, his conversation with a Thrashers player that he put out was the first I heard that the Thrashers players were really thinking it might happen.

I don’t think there will ever be a second team here, it would destroy the Sabres (who just got a commitment from a new owner) and MLSE wouldn’t want them around, IMO not really concerned about the Leafs but what it would do to the Raptors.

May 31, 2011 2:05 pm

Steve (In Hamilton) – I’m in complete agreement with your take. Most days, sports columns read like opinion pieces. As well they should. Sports is in the business of entertaining and an extension of the entertainment industry. Just like every other aspect of the entertainment business, the people covering the events have been given larger and larger pulpits from which to showcase their opinions in one fashion or another. And I’m fine with that premise because I appreciate differing viewpoints. If I want facts, I’ll stick to the boxscores and summaries.

In regards to Bettman – has there ever been a leader who looked more uncomfortable representing his party’s interests? And I’m not referring specifically to the Winnipeg situation (although that’s a doozy to be certain) but his approach in general. The phony bravado he continues to display is hard to swallow even for the average NHL fan . I understand the need to control the message/direction but his approach is in dire need of a makeover.

May 31, 2011 7:55 pm

Was anybody really surprised that a presser wasn’t called on the Tues that Brunt reported it would be? The NHL wanted to control the message and that was there way of saving face. Maybe that is a sign of how influential the Brunts of the world really are.

Less than 12 parsecs
Less than 12 parsecs
May 31, 2011 10:03 pm

TSM, not sure there’s much point in being such a stickler on use of the word “done.” Brunt’s explanation was something like this: the deal was “done” between True North and Atlanta Spirit, but then NHL negotiation – which they’d both figured was about “dotting the i’s” – became more intense, with surprise things like relocation fee coming up.

And technically, as Kevin says, B of G still hasn’t approved. It ain’t “done” yet.

Until we get more of the inside story over the next few months, it’s hard to point fingers. But do we need to point fingers?

May 31, 2011 10:04 pm

Columns are opinion pieces by definition. Sports and non sports.

Online Marketing Consultant
June 3, 2011 1:39 am

Always felt a kinship with the other non-traditionals like y’all, Florida, Tampa, and Nashville. To see y’alls team taken away so unceremoniously is depressing for Southern hockey fans everywhere. My condolences.

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