Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reconnect or Relocate?

“We think that the sooner that the world knows that the Coyotes are going to be in Glendale next season, the easier it will be for the club to move forward, interact with its fans, sell tickets, make arrangements for the television broadcasts and the like. As we’ve repeatedly told the court, it is impossible to move this franchise for next season.” - Gary Bettman

Move forward? Gary, you've taken about 30 steps back.

Interact with fans and sell tickets? I've received about 30 emails each from the Kings and the Ducks begging me to purchase ticket packages or attend the Kings' Hockey Fest '09, a three-day interactive promotional extravaganza. There's only 50 days until opening faceoff, how much ground do you really think you can make up?

Make arrangements for television broadcasts? Like hire a new color analyst?

Granted, yesterday saw a small victory in keeping the Dogs in the Desert, with Reinsdorf's deal with the major creditor of the franchise, and their endorsement to the court of Jerry's bid, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

A lot of work, and not much time.

I think just about everyone can come to the realization that the Coyotes will not be re-built overnight, and certainly not within the upcoming season. Just like when we were locked in a stalemate before the 2004-05 season, there was a time where we had to come to grips with the fact that we would not see NHL hockey, (luckily) until next season. And that was well before the middle of February.

Best case scenario, Reinsdorf gets in there, gets his blessing from the NHL Board of Governors, and the Coyotes start the season on-time and properly organized.

Its still pretty much the same crappy team, with the same crappy, "Great" coach, with a lot of promise and not much in the way of results.

Are fans going to flock to this? Hell to the No. Fans want a winner, bottom line. Nobody wants to be a Detroit Lions fan, some people just have no choice. The Coyotes have 13year old roots in Phoenix, not the three-quarters of a century that the Lions have in Detroit.

Even if Jerry jumps in there, authorizes the front office to spend to the Cap, Maloney pulls in some marquee talent in some big trades, and we slide on the slim chance that the 'Yotes make the post.

What then?

Will we then be convinced that hockey can survive in Phoenix?

Even if that pretty picture doesn't happen until the following season, will that be enough to say that the League did the right thing by not relocating the team to a more viable hockey market?

That's not to say that Jim Balsillie should have the keys handed over to him in exchange for his $212.5million offer. Its become obvious that "Balls" could get the League into more trouble in the long run with his blatant disregard for League rules, and struggling fanbases. But if you had to think of cities in North America that would have some success with an NHL team, would Phoenix come to mind? No, we'd probably say Las Vegas before Phoenix. And before Sin City, we would rifle off Portland or Seattle, Winnipeg or Quebec, and of course Hamilton.

Jibble, back from his own personal relocation hiatus, wrote about his indecisiveness on Jimmy-boy as a member of the ol' boys club, and his final decision about him.

"Balsille is an enigma because he clearly has some assets and a passion for the game, and that's never a bad thing, but the way he has handled himself has been less than appealing. Balsille clearly cares about his fictional team, and he'll clearly put his finances and efforts into putting a good team on the ice every year. The NHL needs owners who care about winning and their on-ice product, and Balsille would certainly be one of them. [However,] Basille's attempt to destabalize a franchise and rip them from their city with no regard for the city, fans, or league he's trying to buy into, that has finally turned the tide for good on my opinion of Balsille."

Keeping Balsillie, and his meddling ways out of the League is going to be good for the long run. That's probably the smartest decision the League has made in this situation. But its become clear that the situation in Phoenix is going to get worse before it gets better, and its going to have to in order for Bettman to pull his head out of his ass, and realize that his grand scheme of southern expansion is not working in Arizona.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Great post. Nobody's winning this fight.