I think this guy nailed it...
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06-01-2007, 04:17 PM
Retired Global Mod
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Nashville, TN
I just sent another letter to Gary Bettman....and I'd urge someone to forward that article to any member of the council, the media...the people of Nashville need to understand the game Balsillie is playing, and just how little Hamilton actually means.
I'll save the empassioned pleas and entreaties for you to step in and save our team. I'm realistic about this, as I'm sure many members of the hockey world and Board of Governors are, but I will ask you to open your eyes to the deceitful way that Jim Balsillie is handling this. He's playing us, you, and even the city of Hamilton for fools. He doesn't even own the team yet, and he's already making diversive ploys by taking control of an arena that anyone familiar knows is not close to NHL calibre. A mere days after assuring you that he has "no intention" of re-locating the team as long as it has a lease. Clearly, the caveat to this is the "as long as it has a lease," but the fear in Nashville is that he's going to do everything within his power to ensure that this is not the case. While I'm not sure he'd resort to the sort of subversive tactics that saw the Vancouver Grizzlies move to Memphis(something your old friend David Stern later admitted was handled improperly and underhandedly), we're bracing ourselves for a team that will likely be several steps back from what we've grown accustomed to. It's in Mr. Balsillie's best interests to field the worst possible team, and he'll likely look to fill whatever holes through marginal free agent acquisitions and homegrown prospects who realistically are not there yet. While this may all sound like material for the tinfoil hat-wearers, it's just another gambit in this chess game unraveling before us. We know that Balsillie isn't stupid...he's aware of the NHL's stance on Hamilton, not to mention the proximity to both Buffalo and Toronto...but he's also aware that the mere fact that he's even holding such negotiations would cause a flux in the city of Nashville, both on the individual and corporate level. Players and their agents have admitted that they'd have a hard time signing with Nashville given the limbo that the team is currently situated in...and that anxiety can certainly be extrapolated to the casual fan. Those of us die-hards--and there are more than we're usually given credit for--we'll be there, one way or another, even if we KNOW it's our last season(most of us do), but we're not enough. These tactics he's using will see to that, and unfortunately he'll likely get his way, with no lease to inhibit him.
I will conclude this note, as I realize that you're a busy man...but I ask one more time...think long and hard about the introduction of an owner like this into the NHL. Leipold can get another buyer, it's common knowledge that another group of vultures--excuse me, investors, from Kansas City were involved with a bidding war that saw the price inflate to 220 million dollars, but hopefully they'd at least play the game honestly. It's bad enough that we're likely going to lose our team, but it's worse that we probably have no chance to stop it. The whole scenario smacks of the movie "Major League," which is both ironic and a little sickening.
I implore you to read this article, which was in today's Winnipeg Free Press...it summarizes my thoughts in a more pointed and eloquent way:
The NHL doesn't need an Al Davis
Thanks for your time.
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