How To Silence The Leafs In The Balsillie Battle.

Sean PaddisonCorrespondent IMay 16, 2009

This might be a stretch, but what the heck, there are people out there spreading garbage about a Kaberle with Schenn deal, so let's just have some fun shall we?

Let's just say Jim Balsillie wants to leverage The Toronto Maple Leafs out of the picture.

What would it take for him to head the board of directors at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, Inc.?

Now if you consider the fact that Larry Tanenbaum's shares are worth probably pretty close to $200 million. Then if you consider the power that he holds with that level of investment, you see power is not so much in the number of shares you own but in the impact of those shares if they are sold in a fire sale.

Sure the teachers' pension owns over 50 percent, however they are very protective of the value of those shares.

If Tanenbaum were to decide to bail on his shares and sell them for a 25 percent loss, the impact on the teachers' pension value would probably be immediate and deflating.

So let's pretend that Jim B. buys those shares right now off of Tanenbaum for $235 million. Mr. Balsillie could effectively wrestle control of the NHL's most valuable commodity over night.

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Now, there is some serious bargaining power.

Now let's say Jim B. calls the NHL brass in for a meeting. Jim politely exclaims that he'll sell his stake in the Leafs in exchange for permission to bring any NHL team he buys in the future to Ontario.

With Jim as head of the board or at least holding a serious trump card, the Leafs would be silent in terms of fighting against Jim B.

Enter whatever team is eager to have someone to bail them out.

With these tough economic times and paranoid owners thinking about bailing, Jim will probably have more than one team to choose from.

I'm sure this could obviously be pie in the sky wishing, but if Tanenbaum could wrestle control, so too could a billionaire like Balsillie.

Word is he is building some serious alliances inside the NHL.

Another thing is certain, if something like this were to happen, Bettman might have to become a scapegoat in order for the owners to save face.

Aw poor Gary, he's such a gentle Canada-loving soul, I'm weeping deeply at the thought...yeah right!

Well anyways, don't count Jim out, a man with a billion bucks has a lot of powerful friends and a lot of legal clout.

Jim will get a team eventually, the question is who will get crushed in the process.

Time will tell.


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