After Three Strikes, Balsillie Is Up to Bat Again

Martin AverySenior Writer IMay 11, 2009

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 05:  Jim Balsillie Chairman and Co-CEO of Research In Motion and new owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins poses with his Blackberry in a press conference announcing the purchase of the team after the first period at Mellon Arena on October 5, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Jim Balsillie has struck out three times, trying to get another NHL team for Canada, and now he is up to bat again.

It's Jim "BlackBerry" Balsilllie versus Gary "The Count" Bettman on the mound.

Strike One: Balsillie tried to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Strike Two: Balsillie tried to buy the Nashville Predators.

Strike Three: Balsillie talked to Buffalo about buying the Sabres.

Now he's up to bat again. This time he's butting heads with NHL Commissioner Bettman over the Phoenix Coyotes.

It's Balsillie 0 and Bettman 3, but the BlackBerry billionaire is loaded and the NHL Board of Governors has players stranded in at least three franchises in baseball territory.

Who's on first? The Coyotes.

What's on second? The Atlanta Thrashers.

Third base? The Florida Panthers.

Balsillie's pitch is not coming out of left field. He has a deal with the Coyotes owner, but Bettman is playing the part of the cut-off man.

Bettman made a short stop in Toronto earlier this year, to say moving franchises is not part of the game plan for the NHL.

There's no joy in Mudville wihile Balsillie's up to Bettman.

He's waiting for the pitch. He wants to hit it out of the park and bring another NHL team to Canada. That's Ballsillie's field of dreams.

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