Friday, August 28, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: The _____ Coyotes

It's a few days after the deadline for potential buyers to submit bids for the embattled Phoenix Coyotes franchise and ironically, the focus in the "The Battle of Glendale" has been all about relocation.

The reason I find it ironic is because all the talk on that front is coming from the NHL, the very league that said, time and again, that they are committed to keeping hockey in Arizona.

Basically, ever since Blackberry boss Jim Balsillie started talking about buying the team and moving it to Hamilton, that was the NHL's company line - they would make it work in (the failing hockey market) of Phoenix.

Oh, how quickly things can change!

When the league placed its bid for the franchise on Tuesday, The Canadian Press reported they "would avoid a sticky issue still facing the case by accepting the existing lease to play in Glendale" - but only for the upcoming season.

On Thursday, more strong hints from the NHL that the Coyotes could soon be hitting the road:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said if they win the auction and they're not able to come to an agreement on a lease with the city of Glendale, they would be forced to turn to a buyer to move the team elsewhere. In fact, The Globe and Mail reports that the league's bid to purchase the team specifically mentions that it's open to relocation.

Daly said he thinks they've got to get the lease situation resolved, or not, by the end of 2009.

Here's what I think: basically the NHL is open to the Phoenix Coyotes being relocated, as long as it's not Gary Bettman's archrival Jim Balsillie doing the relocating.

Isn't it interesting that the NHL doesn't bother to mention their commitment to keeping hockey in Phoenix when it comes down to bidding for the team, when that was their main concern for every other bidder up until Tuesday afternoon?

This story just keeps getting better, doesn't it?

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