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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Warning! Board of Governors to Meet!

The NHL's Board of Governors will meet today to discuss a few things. Pierre LeBrun, who now writes for ESPN, a surprising step up in quality for the worldwide leader in three sports, highlighted what the Board will focus on. From Pierre:

1. There will obviously be an update on the ownership situation
in Nashville, the league still reeling from the bank fraud charges laid on
part-owner William "Boots" Del Biaggio III. There will also apparently be talk
of "preliminary qualification procedures for ownership transfers." I can only
translate this as meaning the league wants to somehow set more rigid guidelines
for future owners or future franchise sales.

2. Owners will also discuss "new potential franchise markets" from groups who have expressed interest. This is standard at these meetings; it doesn't mean the NHL is
planning to expand any time soon. But there will be the usual update from groups
interested in Las Vegas and Winnipeg, among others.

3. A discussion of the collective bargaining agreement and the players' union. The
NHLPA can opt out of the CBA after this season, although I would be shocked if
the players did.

4. An update on the lack of an international player transfer agreement, the league's talks with the IIHF and the goings-on in Russia.

Obviously, the first three things on this list are of the highest interest to yours truly as they involve subjects that have been addressed ad nauseum here. While Pierre has no seeming angle to his reporting, unlike some folks we're familiar with, I can take what he's outlined here and translate it for what they're actually going to discuss. Let's take it point-by-point:

1. Let's face it, the Nashville situation is getting some pretty sweet General Schultz treatment by most everyone who has been unfortunate enough to get their name tagged along with the franchise sale to a group of Nashville investors and the dubious "Boots" Del Biaggio. The owners say they want to discuss things concerning Nashville and to see how they can avoid these things from happening in the future.

A couple of tips for you guys concerning this. First off, never look a gift horse in the mouth - even if the horse comes from Canada and is desperate to take his new barn back home. The Board and Bettman's refusal to allow Jim Balsillie to buy the Predators is where all this nonsense began in the first place. Balsillie, of course, was radically different than Boots because he both actually has money and was open about his wont to bring the team somewhere else - two things that Boots was not open about.

Hint to future buyers: Don't disclose anything about yourself to the Board, just show up with a reputation for throwing around a lot of money and you're golden. Idiots.

2. I know Pierre made it very clear that discussing other markets and potential means to move to these places are always discussed it makes me wonder what exactly this pack of old farts discusses. You've got a handful of franchises in bad situations currently and at least three areas that are dying to get a team, two of which are in the precious western part of the United States.

I've been critical already about how both the league and prospective owners have pussyfooted around and half-heartedly talked about things to either help address these current failing situations or to do something to fix it.

The problem is that the markets that are in trouble (Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville) are all prominent American cities and highly viable professional sports markets. Some places have clauses written into their deals that make it impossible for them to go anywhere else (Phoenix). The other three, however, are key to Herr Bettman's proliferation plan. Vacating any of those cities to go to Las Vegas, Kansas City or anywhere in Canada would be a step down in the eyes of the suits and to most everyone else as well, regardless of how sweet the package would be in Kansas City.

Those cities aren't answers for what plagues the NHL with the ones that are lagging behind, but if expansion is the talk that comes up most often, that's foolish to a degree so high science can't come up with it and would signal a huge financial problem amongst the owners because expanding the NHL again would mean these greedy morons are out to pick up a check from expansion fees once again. I just pray that LeBrun is right and this is just typical idle chatter and nothing of any substance.

3. There is NO WAY the NHLPA opts out of this Collective Bargaining Agreement but the first owner that mentions the CBA will likely be subjected to a severe spanking. If the owners talk about anything concerning this that doesn't involve lots of four-letter words and venom over about how "those darn kids" got one over on them again, I'd be shocked. If anything, this could become a brainstorming session on how to better formulate a plan to ruin the league with an even longer work stoppage.

Basically this is setting up to be a league-wide gnashing of teeth and bitchfest. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for this just to soak in the heaps of ridiculousness that get thrown around amongst these Mensa failures.

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