A few questions about this whole team in Ontario thing

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Let's pretend for a second that Balsillie does get to become the new owner of the Coyotes and as such he gets to moves them. Now what?
  1. Exactly WHERE is he going to put the team? "Southern Ontario" covers a lot of area. Hamilton and Kitchner have been named by various people as potential places, but I haven't heard the guy who wants to buy the team actually say "this is where we're putting the team if we move it". Does he actually have a specific city in mind?
  2. If he puts it within a certain distance of another NHL, I believe he will have to pay money to Maple Leafs and/or Sabres. How much money is that going to eat up? Is that going to hurt the franchise?
  3. If he puts it in Hamilton, what will become of the Hamilton Bulldogs? Yes, I have a vested interest in my Baby Habs. I really don't think Hamilton can support both the Bulldogs AND this hypothetical NHL team. What is going to happen to my Hammies?
  4. Of course putting another team in Ontario seriously messes with the divisions. How is that going to work exactly unless we ship the Islanders or the Thrashers off somewhere else?
  5. Exactly what makes Balsillie think that Southern Ontario needs an NHL team anyway? He says there is an unserved market there. Looking at a map, I see Toronto, Detroit and Buffalo all nearby. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see an unserved market there.
  6. Is this whole Gretzky thing going to be a major sticking point at some time? I seem to be the only person who doesn't think that he should be coaching but apparently someone decided that he is the face of the Coyotes. Will this be a problem in the move? Are we going to be stuck with a lousy coach because he's so heavily involved in the franchise in Phoenix?
Which brings me to a slightly off topic question:

Do we really need 30 teams in the league? Would the league be better off with less but more talented teams set in markets that can support them?


Justin said...

1. When Balsillie tried to buy the Predators, he was actually selling Hamilton Predators tickets through Ticketmaster until Bettman put the kibosh on it all. Plus, I think Hamilton's the only city up there that has a suitable arena.

2. I'm not sure how that works, so I won't guess.

3. I don't see why the city couldn't handle both if Philadelphia can handle the Flyers and the Phantoms with the Hershey Bears and W-B/S Baby Pens within reasonable driving distance.

4. Ah, that's the biggest problem. Unless you move a team, Atlanta, NYI, or Florida being most likely, you'll get stuck with another team like Columbus, Detroit, or Nashville that has to travel crazy distances for a lot of their schedule. That's not just a fatigue problem but a monetary one as well. Of course, it hasn't seemed to hurt Detroit any, and God knows it's not because they're filling up the arena every night.

5. I'm guessing he's tired of seeing Torontonians fill up what's left of the Sabres' arena every night because they can't get/afford tickets to Leafs games. I can understand that. At the same time, that might turn Buffalo into the next Islanders--the red-headed stepchild of the market area.

6. Gretzky is a terrible coach and shouldn't be behind the bench anymore.

Bonus: Yeah, probably. Unfortunately, there's never a good way to contract teams, for a lot of reasons. The biggest sticking point would be the NHLPA, who would never let it happen because they'd basically be cutting 23 jobs per team that gets contracted, pushing guys into the AHL, and those guys would displace people as well who'd end up in the ECHL or worse. Plus, they're backed into a corner with the salary cap. Guys who are third liners now might be marginal NHL'ers in a 26 team league, the sort of guy who gets a lot of frequent flyer miles traveling between the AHL city and the NHL city. Are they still going to get paid third-liner type money? Because they're certainly going to try to get it. If they're under contract, the team won't have a choice other than to pay it or buy them out, and neither option is good.

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