The Preds look like they’re staying put, a least for this season until they move to another unviable and ridiculous U.S. destination, most likely Kansas City to become the Born Again Scouts. If not K.C., then Las Vegas - I would make another joke about this, but Adam Proteau beat me to the punch. And Balls-silly (along with Hamilton and really all Canadian fans) gets bent over the NHL’s knee again, for the second time in 6 months. How can Canadian fans come to any other conclusion than Bettman is desperate to keep another franchise out of Canada? He’s already killed two Canadian teams. Plus he managed to have three teams into SoCal, two in Florida and only one in Quebec. Gary, please explain this to me. Right, you’re the Devil. No, that’s giving the little man too much credit…he’s Satan’s Little Helper.
Question: how can Preds' owner Craig Leopold (but really, Satan’s Little Helper) get away with screwing Balls-silly like this? I’m no lawyer (oh, wait…) but isn’t there some sort of anti-trust law that prevents this from happening? Leopold is saying all the legally correct things in the press - no solid offer blah blah blah - but isn’t it obvious that the NHL is blackballing Balls-silly? He made a much higher offer ($60mill will buy Mr. Leopold a lot more of whatever uber-rich assholes probably already have) and had some kind of agreement in place. Although the fact he hasn’t unleashed a Mr. Burns-like battalion of law-smiths may be an indication that I’m completely wrong. I’m sure HF33 can explain this to me.
Legal issues aside, does Satan’s Little Helper really hate the idea of another Canadian team, or does he fear that Balls-silly would become the Mark Cuban of the NHL? The history of SLH’s reign has been to tighten his grip on the NHL’s owners, so there is every indication he bears the main responsibility for keeping Balls-silly out of the NHL. What scares Satan’s Little Helper more, Balls-silly almost certainly bringing whatever NHL team he gets his crackberry-free hand on to Canada, or a maverick owner who has already demonstrated that he won’t play nice and bend over for Bettman? Balls-silly probably earned the second half of our half-assed moniker when he put tickets on sale in Hamilton before he had Leo’s name on the bottom line, but in so doing he has made it clear that he will not toe the NHL party line. And don’t think SLH didn’t take that as a slap to the pitchfork.
This raises an even more fundamental question to all hockey fans, although obviously FHF is not breaking new ground by posing the question: what the f-c-u-k was the lockout for? Increasingly more legit media-types are questioning whether SLH, the lockout’s champion of small market teams, is revealing a more fundamental preoccupation: the almighty dollar. And we’re not even going to get into sky-rocketing salaries here; as I said, that theme has already nearly been beaten to death.
It’s clear that Satan’s Little Helper and his cronies believe there is more growth (read: greenbacks) in trying to sell the game in hockey backwaters rather than in guaranteed hockey markets. While this may actually make some economic sense - how much more money can you squeeze out of an already hockey saturated market? - but didn’t Bettman say that the lockout was ultimately for the fans i.e. to achieve competitive balance, reining in players salaries and, by implied extension, ticket costs? Then again, what are Canadian fans going to do? Stop going to games? Right. Satan’s Little Helper can effectively fuck Canadian fans and all his has to worry about is some piss-ant blogger calling him names.
Or maybe he knows Balls-silly has demonstrated - twice - that he will do anything, and more importantly pay anything - to get his hands on an NHL franchise. There has already -shudder - been talk of further expansion, so maybe Satan’s Little Helper is just posturing to get $250Mill or so out of Balls-silly for a crappy expansion team. Nothing would make tight wad owners like Jeremy Jacobs and Bill Wirtz happier - except stealing candy from babies, of course Hence SLH's power: he makes uber-rich owners richer.
Maybe there’s a reason NHL owner’s are lining up bend way down to kiss SLH’s ass after all. And, whatever Satan's Little Helper's main motivation, it seems clear that he and the owners don't give a rat's ass about the fans - as long as they've already paid for their tickets.