Yet another sad day for the NHL in Jim Balsillie's ridiculous saga of trying to move a franchise to Hamilton.
And especially during the Stanley Cup playoff Semi-Finals.
If this jerk Balsillie was any real hockey fan, as he claims, he'd wait to make a bid on any team if the team came up available, and not cause a distraction to the league during the playoffs.
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the fact that there's someone willing to continually stick their neck out to get out franchises back in Canada. Hamilton has deserved one for years!
And I couldn't give two turds and a popcorn fart about whether it "infringes" on the stinkin' Leafs' territory or not. The competition of having another rival team in that area would be sick!
And so would teams in Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Halifax or back in Quebec City and Winnipeg—but not like this; not this way. Not by making a mockery of the acquisition of the franchise under the guise of bankruptcy and attempting to pull another fast one on the league.
The fact of the matter is that the last two attempts he's made, with Nashville and now with Phoenix, have been trying to relocate a Western Conference team to the Eastern Conference, which honestly can't be done due to divisional restructuring that would have to occur. Any armchair GM or owner with even half a brain in his head could figure that out, and this guy's a co-CEO of a major Canadian corporation, yet he can't see the bigger picture here?
If anything, and if they have to relocate, send them back to Winnipeg where they belong and should have never left in the first place, and bump Colorado down to the Pacific Division.
Otherwise we'll have yet another Western Conference team that should be playing in the East like Detroit, Columbus, and Nashville. If there was another team looking to relocate from the Eastern Conference to the West, then fine, but as it sits with the new revenue-sharing initiative, that's just simply not the case at all.
Balsillie and his backers need to pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize this, instead of being on this one track to get a team in Hamilton at all costs. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Period. Get it through your thick skulls already!
I'd personally love to see it happen that Hamilton gets an NHL franchise that it so richly deserves, but not at the expense of the leagues integrity or our beloved Stanley Cup playoffs.
I would rather focus on hockey, but this really bugs the crap out of me for some reason. At this rate, they might as well move Columbus to Seattle, Nashville to Victoria, Phoenix back to Winnipeg, Atlanta to Portland, let Balsillie take over Florida and move them to Hamilton, then put the Red Wings over in the East!
At least that way you have actual Western and Eastern Conferences.
Seems ridiculous doesn't it? But so did the Commissioner, Gary "The Wunderkind" Bettman's thought that it would be a super idea to have franchises in the "hockey hotbeds" of Nashville, Columbus, Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, and Tampa—let alone Phoenix, Anaheim, and San Jose and off-set any balance the league had before the more recent expansions.
But so too does Balisillie's idea that he can move any franchise he purchases to Hamilton on a whim. It took the Jets about a year or two of talking before finally left Winnipeg. And if you look at any other league, it's like pulling teeth to move any franchise from any city, like in the NBA when Michael Heisley "decided" to move the Grizzlies from Vancouver to Memphis—or in the NFL when Al Davis moved the Raiders from Oakland to L.A., only to have them move back to Oakland not long after
Yet I think Balsillie really takes the cake here. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that he'd get any approval to move the Penguins to Hamilton. The Pittsburgh fans would have him lynched in the streets before he even got to Hamilton! True story. They're as rabid for the Pens down there as they are for the Steelers or the Pirates, and I dare him to try and move the Steelers!
With Nashville, he would've faced the same obstacles you now face with trying to move Phoenix. In my mind, the biggest flaw in his logic here is not the actual relocation of the franchise to Hamilton, but it's that he hasn't thought about the restructuring the league or even the process of it. This move would further mess up what's already pretty messed up already, with Detroit, Nashville, and Columbus all being teams that should be in the Eastern Conference already. His one-track focus on getting a franchise in Hamilton is completely short-sighted and totally selfish.
He doesn't seem to see the negative impact it's already caused and the further detriment it will cause as these idiotic court proceedings progress. At the end of the day, he still won't have a franchise after this entire hoopla and media circus he's created, because I highly doubt that any owner or anyone on the board of governors would approve bringing him into the fold or the relocation of any Balsillie-backed proposal now.
Not because he doesn't have the money or because he doesn't have the passion for it... It'll be his character in his underhanded and questionable ways of attempting to acquire three different franchises with the sole purpose of moving them.
I hate to say it—but this time I have to side with Mr. "Wunderkind" Bettman and fight this sorry excuse for a potential owner. We've already got one crazy in Long Island in the form of Charles Wang, but at least Mr. Wang is fun, quirky and you can actually laugh at some of the things he does.
But there's nothing funny nor is there any excuse for Mr. Balsillie's actions in taking away from the game in this manner with these less than amicable tactics. It's playoff time for crying out loud, not the offseason, when business is to be discussed in detail. We want to see the Cup being awarded to the most-worthy team, not some blowhard millionaire making a fool of himself in the name of hockey who doesn't know the first thing about hockey business etiquette.
So, I say, "Keep It Six"—for now. At least until such time as the KHL folds and we can get more than one Canadian franchise across the board and get a larger talent pool.
Until then, I hope Mr. Balsillie *cough* stupid *cough* can be content raking in millions of dollars with his crappy cellphones and leave these teams in the capable hands of people who genuinely care for the game itself, and not just for corporate gain, personal posturing, and ego stroking.