12 May 2009

Playoffs, Wild GM hunt, Balsillie...

Playoffs...

Two great game 6's last night. Two high-scoring games, one game 7 forced (Pit at Was, Wed), and one of my second round picks are through to the next round (Chicago over Vancouver, 4 to 2).

Two more good ones to night as Carolina and Detroit both seek to vanquish there opponents in game 6's. I know the Pittsburgh-Washington series has got all the hype, but every series has been great to watch, and full of passion. These 8 teams are all playing very hard.

I know I picked the Bruins, and I know many people we're mean to me for simply being a northerner when I lived in North Carolina, but I still find myself pulling for the Hurricanes tonight. And of course I'm pulling for the bouncing of the evil, unholy Ducks.

Wild GM Hunt...

http://www.twincities.com/wild/ci_12298629?nclick_check=1

Accoring to the above article the frontrunners for the Wild's GM position are Penguin's assistant GM Chuck Fletcher, and NBC Analyst Pierre McGuire.

I find myself underimpressed. The Penguins have not hired a decent coach in the last several years and I'm not confident in Fletcher's ability to pick a good candidate to replace Lemaire if he's going by his experiences with the Penguins.

I find McGuire and old school retread based on his attitudes on NBC (but if he's hired here at least I won't have to watch him on TV anymore). I think old school attitude is what really hurt the Wild under Riseborough (not to mention all the injuries that came up suddenly after the season). Maybe he's smarter in the front office than I think, but I don't really see this as a change.

I suppose either of the above most likley represent an improvement over Riseborough, and maybe Fletcher can prove me wrong on the coach thing. Ideally, I can think of better front offices from which to look for candidates. But hopefully we'll find out soon.

Balsillie's back....

With the Coyotes' seeking bankruptcy Canadian Research in Motion executive Jim Balsillie is seeking to purchase the Coyotes for $212.5M with the stipulation that he be able to move the team to Southern Ontario.

Balsille has made similar attempts at the Nashville Predators (2007) and Pittsbrugh Penguins (2005).

Here are the details: http://www.canada.com/Business/Balsillie+bids+bankrupt+Phoenix+Coyotes/1566656/story.html

The NHL is challening Coyotes' owner Jerry Moyes' ability to declare bankruptcy after accepting financing from the leauge last October to stay afloat. The league is claming that Moyes' surrendered the right to sell the team. This court case will prove very interesting. Did Moyes' surrender his position to the rest of the league? If the court rules he did the Coyote's are probably safe in Phoenix for now. If the court rules otherwise, and rules that the court can compel the league to allow the relocation of the franchise because bankruptcy requires the team be sold to the highest bidder, then it seems the team is heading north.

I speculate the plan is probably to park the team at Copps' Coliseum in Hamilton, ON (40 mi from Toronto) until Balsille can build a new arena. The problem is Hamilton lies within a 70mi radius of both Toronto and Buffalo, where they would have to waive their rights to that territory. If Balsille builds a new arena near Kitchener, ON (where Research in Motion is headquartered) he finds himself out of both trade areas, but still within 40mi of nearby Hamilton.

But for now we're waiting to hear how the judge rules on who has the right to sell the Coyotes.

From a good for the NHL standpoint I'm pretty torn on this one. The attendance in Phoenix is third worst in the league this season. Still Phoenix is the 12th largest US television markets which helps me see why the NHL wants to hold on here (as opposed to Nashville being the 33rd and pretty easy to give up in my opinion). I think it's ultimatly good for the league if the Coyotes were somewhere they could make a profit, and Southern Ontario seems to be a safe bet, however, when they negotiate TV deals in a copule years, it would probably look better if they still had Phoenix in their list of US cities.

In general the comeptition for the entertainment dollar is growing in the US. And markets the size of Phoenix, and for that matter Minneapolis/St. Paul are going to have trouble supporting franchises in all 4 major sports (Seattle is of a similar size and couldn't support 3). Maybe the NHL needs to look for more US markets that currently have only one or two teams (Seattle, Kansas City) even if their smaller. Instead of trying to take gate in mid-sized markets from 3 better established franchises.

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