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"You heard it someplace, not here."
It is becoming obvious that the NHL board aren't going to play ball with Balsillie, no matter how much sense it makes economically to give a franchise to a keen business mind, with a passion for the game and a home rink in a strong, under-served hockey market. What is the answer for "Billion-dollar Jim"? Simple....apply to the KHL for a North American expansion team...maybe two teams. Fans could see the likes of Radulov, Jagr, and other NHL quality players in a big league rink. Just the threat of making the road trips a little most enjoyable for KHLers could be enough to make the NHL take Jim's new team as a threat to siphon off talent.
I imagine the phone call might sound something like this:

J B: "Yeah Bettman, if I get a KHL team... If you force me to bring the KHL to North America...I can put the team anywhere in the Toronto area I please. I can offer big contracts and put some real pressure on the weak sister NHL teams to match what the KHL will offer. Maybe a team in Toronto and another in Hamilton....great rivalry! We might even get a team in Winnipeg and Quebec. "

Bettman: "You are nuts Jim!! Nobody will pay to see second-tier hockey in Toronto!"

J B: "What about most of the last 40 years? At least now they'll have some star-power behind the names. I'd rather not go the KHL route - but you guys are shutting me out of the NHL. What else can I do?"

Bettman: " Don't you remember the WHA? That almost ruined hockey! Teams in crazy places like Birmingham, Phoenix, San Diego, Houston, Ottawa...places where they barely hung on. Hockey became a joke."

J B: " So are you still thinking of expanding to San Diego? (Laugh) C'mon Gary, the KHL in Southern Ontario will likely make more money in 2 months than the Coyotes made in 5 years. An NHL Team in Hamilton, or a second Toronto team would be a huge draw. Heck! Give me Winnipeg and I'll make you a mint!"

Bettman: " Not while there are still a few dozen people in Little Rock, holding out hope for a team."

Go for it Jim.... KHL here we come.

Zherdev - Not since the heyday of Alexi Yashin, has there been a player with so much potential who has so few teams interested. His good buddy Danny Heatley is working hard to make him look good, but major-league talent that only shows up on bowling nights just isn't in high demand these days. The salary cap has killed the market! Especially difficult when the player is Russian and might get a big offer from the KHL during his contract. If Zherdev can't make it with the Rangers that what other team is out there ready to put up with his coach-killing shenanigans? Montreal maybe, but not for long. The Islanders? Tampa? Could he fit in with Atlanta ? Or would he poison the well there? Washington? Maybe the team will change their name to the Washington Kremlins first? It will be interesting to see where he lands, but this very talented player is likely on his last chance to avoid becoming another Alexander Daigle.
Filed Under:   Rangers   Zherdev   Hamilton   Toronto   Jets  
August 7, 2009 7:18 PM ET | Delete
August 7, 2009 8:43 PM ET | Delete
Ive been under a rock...just how bad is Basillie anyhow? Can Hamilton support an NHL team? Zherdev...LOL...The Yashin comparison is right on! On a side note, Anton Babchuk-another inigma. A big, Offensive D-man, great talent! His knock is that he is not motivated and hard to coach...sounds familiar? Ironically, Babchuk and Zherdev come from the very same team in Russia!!!!!!!! No joke! LOL....
August 7, 2009 8:55 PM ET | Delete
August 7, 2009 9:10 PM ET | Delete
heres how bad he is. speaking only of our experience here in nashville, he lied from day 1. said we would get the chance to support and keep the team here, while taking deposits for the hamilton predators. and if you beleive leipold, and i do, he went as far as tampering to undermine the preds. existance here 2 full years before the sale was agreed to. what else does one need to know.
August 7, 2009 9:12 PM ET | Delete
Interesting.....Thanks for the news! Sounds like scum!
August 8, 2009 12:33 PM ET | Delete
Read the court documents. Daly's and Leipold's depositions say it all. Anyone who can still defend Balsillie after that has their head in the sand. If the situation was reversed and that guy wanted to bring a team from Canada to America there would be outrage and his character would be taken to task, but since it's the other way around he's a patriot. Whatever!
August 9, 2009 11:49 AM ET | Delete
Come on now. Is he as bad as criminal cases like Bruce McNall, 'Boots', or the monster that exists in Tampa Bay? The NHL refuses Jim as unfit to run an NHL team and says that Phoenix can make money if properly managed, but who exactly approved the incompetent current group?
August 9, 2009 11:53 AM ET | Delete
just to clarify: Tampa's ownership is just incompetent, not criminal.
August 10, 2009 1:46 AM ET | Delete
August 10, 2009 1:58 AM ET | Delete
I'd love to see another Canadian team, just not in an over-served market lie Southern Ontario -- the Sabres are finally stable and profitable again, and the league should not allow that to be undermined to let Balsillie fan his ego. The bigger problem is the Leafs in any event -- nobody takes the Sabres seriously, but the Leafs are the 600 pound Gorilla in the room and won't take kindly to the possible dilution of their product.
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