There is mounting pressure to be applied to the apple cart of the NHL
Careful! Too much pressure on the cart, and the apples will spill onto the ground!
There are mounting forces that are quietly surfacing, one by one.
First, the NHLPA cleans house.
Then, the Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB) shows they have not been sleeping and are ready to pounce when the moment is right.
All that is required now is for the judge in the Phoenix Coyotes case to open the Canadian papers and read he has more support behind his potential league shattering decision than he may already know.
What may be disturbing Judge Baum in exercising the ‘right decision’ is the worry that it would become a mockery – that it would not be enforceable to the detriment of the creditors that ‘can be salvaged’.
Is judge Baum fully aware of the power play, and legal tactics that the NHL is ready to effect in a seemingly uncaring manner? You bet he is.
Does he think hockey in Phoenix and in particular Glendale is “dead in the water”. Absolutely.
Judge Baum has repeatedly advised the City of Glendale to start to think rationally and take that generous $50 million offered by Jim Balsillie and PSE. The judge is probably surprised that PSE did not take it off the table when Glendale snubbed their collective noses at the offer.
Now, what the judge needs to know is that he has the support of the taxpayers of Glendale, and now the CCB (Canadian Competition Bureau).
As reported in the Toronto Star:
The Canadian Competition Bureau is keeping an eagle eye on Jim Balsillie’s fight to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, and is ready to swoop in if the Maple Leafs veto the franchise’s move to Hamilton.
“We are seized by the matter, and we are monitoring it very closely,” Richard Taylor, the deputy commissioner of competition, civil matters, told the Star yesterday.
Without a favorable decision for PSE, the allegations of PSE against the monopoly of MLSE (Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment) may be a harder sell.
The case that the NHL has put together has been exactly what the PSE legal team have suggested – using Balsillie’s ‘character’ as a reason to avoid potential trouble from the sleeping giants in Toronto.
How to get around that Leafs organization?
Baum had suggested a long time ago that should Balsillie not be looked at favorably as an owner, it would raise a legal eyebrow. Perhaps he should realize now, more than ever, how true that statement was.
If only someone, somehow could make the judge aware that there are Canadian authorities ready to stand behind him, and the ‘right decision’.
Perhaps the NHLPA and it’s mandate to ensure greater league profitablility should put on a press conference of their own. It’s time for the league to work towards profitability not welfare payments to poorer teams. Ship up or ship out.
‘King Bettman’ may be in for more surprises in the near future from all sides.
Again, let’s hope a judge in Phoenix hears the call.’