Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flying Low - Headline Round Up

By: Derek "Brooksey" Brookes

The Jets are flying low.  

Fans are fidgeting in their seats waiting for the captain to come on the intercom and assure us we're still proceeding to the playoffs.  Some passengers are dreaming about trades that will bring back Teemu the Great and grant all of our wishes.  According to SPORTS CLUB STATS the Jets are pretty much done.  Unless the team can get hot and stay hot (like 19-10-3 kinda heat) we are 80% odds to miss out.  That would put the Jets firmly into the SELLERS MARKET come trade deadline.   It sucks, but maybe Chevy will play it smart and get some good return for our looming UFA’s.  Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their upright and locked position…

The ALL STAR GAME weekend is over and much like the Winter Classic it just felt overhyped.  There were some flashy moves in the skills competition but the game itself lacked any consequence.  With the mid season lull perhaps it’s a good time to ponder FIVE QUESTIONS THE JETS NEED TO ANSWER

Hey there sportsfans, we have a fantastic inflight movie to entertain you during your flight.  DESERT DOGS III: BETTMAN’S LAST STAND is just starting on the in-flight entertainment system.  Those pesky Phoenix pups are still holding out despite no owner, no fans and no money.  For those Jets fans who have waited forever for the  final chapter of the Coyotes saga this could be it.  I like to think of it as the OJ Simpson trial on ice.  Both long running stories have lies, lawyers, greed, betrayal and lots of red…ink.  A Coyotes relocation would make an amazing trivia question.  Shane Doan could be the only player in NHL history to play his entire career for the same franchise and yet play in 3 different cities.  Some Jets fans believe the NHL will repatriate the history of the first franchise if Phoenix moves.  Others believe that the franchise must keep its records with it.  THE FRANCHISE OF THESEUS: A RANT ON RELOCATIONS eloquently answers that question.  

On the other movie channel we have EVERYBODY LOVES WINNIPEG.  Sports Illustrated came to see for themselves what the NHL return means to Winnipeg.  Who knows, with some magic maybe we can still have a storybook ending.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fear and Retribution on the Red River

By: Mike "BCMike" Fraser
Edited By: Mike "The Deuce" Bailey

Passion is a word that gets thrown around a lot in Jets land. Passion is a funny thing, when it’s controlled it can drive the engine of the team and personify itself as the seventh man on the ice. When it’s out of control it can burn everyone in its wake and leave behind a charred wreckage of disdain and mistrust. Unfortunately passion leapt out of the boundaries of control last week and as this week begins we’re left to sift through the debris.

As we all know the Jets are slumping. In a lot of towns the mid season slump is a pretty common occurrence. The Jets are a young club that are only one or two pieces away from being a contender, but when injuries hit they can take a heavy toll. This team generally lacks depth up front so responsibility for at least some of the offence falls back to blue line. During the month of January at any given time at least two top four defenseman have been out and at least one of the top three forwards. The result has been a mirror image of December that has seen the Jets lose far more games than they’ve won.

Uneasiness descended on the faithful in January, and anxious trade talk started to filter through the fan forums. Jets fans had battled naysayers for fifteen years, but recently the packed MTSC and a winning young team had given them more than enough ammunition to silence the critics. Now jilted voices from Atlanta began to taunt them with suggestions of repeating last year’s mid season nose dive out of playoff contention and the worst of all insults: that the new Winnipeg Jets where just the Atlanta Thrashers re-packaged.

Frustration mounted with the losses, and the sweet passion that had been so neatly bottled up and put on display at the MTSC was turning sour and spilling out into accusations of bad coaching and lacklustre effort from players. In short, people where looking for someone to blame. It’s during these times, when a group of people are at the zenith of their misfortune that they become the most susceptible to group think and mob mentality. And so enter the axe grinders.

Coincidentally, just as the team began their unfortunate slide in the month of January a strange rumour started to circulate regarding the off-ice habits of the team’s young star Evander Kane. Kane had often been accused of not putting forth his best effort every night, and indeed he projected an odd arrogance, but now things started to turn strange. You can always spot rumours because they are always different stories with the same theme.  All of these rumours where a variation of the young star going to either a night spot or a restaurant and not paying his tab. Sometimes the story teller would add a bit of embellishment with a thrown glass or a bar room brawl just to spice things up a bit. In the beginning these accusations where easily dismissed and the stories of “my sisters, friends, brothers, cousin” where brushed aside and indentified for what they were; BS. However as the team slipped down the standings and people looked for a target, the rumours stubbornly persisted.

And now we come to the dark crescendo of our bitter tale. Two things happened simultaneously; Kane started to miss games with an undiagnosed concussion from a previous game and a fake fan posted a picture on Twitter of a sign he supposedly carried to a game asking Kane to pay his bills on behalf of the servers and restauranteurs of Winnipeg.  Kane, already being backhandedly accused of needlessly missing games by some, did the stupidest thing possible when confronted with this picture; he responded.  Not only did it broadcast the picture to more people than it should have, but it gave the whole sordid affair a nugget of credibility that the axe grinders and naysayers grabbed onto and rode through multiple press stories and blog postings. It basically gave the nutbars a platform and even the most moderate of Jets fans began to wonder if the young star was worth the controversy he was creating.

The light of day dispelled these rumours because obviously people that make seven figure salaries are not inclined to do the dine and dash. With this new realization the mob did what mobs do, they went on a witch hunt and began to lynch people from the highest virtual tree they could find. Face book pages were ransacked and threats of cruelty to axe grinders and nut jobs abounded. The pendulum had swung wildly in a different direction as fans came to the defence of their star player.

At the end of the day as we make our way through the rubble we can trace the Twitter incident back to an obviously disgruntled person who, if you sort through his history of tweets, may have had racial motivations for his libellous activities, and of course those looking for a frustration release valve hopped on board his misguided band wagon. And so our story comes to this dark and dreary dead end of mistrust and retribution, with the nut bars called out and the record set straight.

Now as the month starts to wind down we find ourselves licking our wounds both on and off the ice. The Jets have seen some key players return to the line up, and their game, although not producing winning results, seems much improved. Evander Kane is still out of action and no doubt wondering why the shouts of adoration at the MTSC have turned into libel on Twitter and the fans are still very much in the woods looking for reasons why their Jets can’t crack the top eight. January has been a very bad month in Jets nation, but it’s nothing that a little winning won’t cure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If Your Going Through Hell, Keep Going.

By: Mike "BCMike" Fraser
Edited By: Mike "The Deuce" Bailey

The title of this blog of course is a quote attributed to Winston Churchill, but it seems to fit nicely with what Jets fans have been going through in the first part of January. It also gives us wise guidance as we come off our first win in a long stretch of losses. Is this the start of the long journey back out of our hole? Or a rest stop on our way down the standings? Tonight’s game against New Jersey should be a sign of things to come.

There’ve been many blogs, columns and newspaper stories dedicated to the great month of December the Jets enjoyed - mostly at home and mostly injury free, so we won’t rehash that here. It’s easy to say though that the month of January started in almost the exact opposite direction and hasn’t gotten much better until last night’s somewhat surprising victory against the Ottawa Senators. In my opinion the slump started with a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Eve that was more about what the Leafs did wrong than what the Jets did right (As was repeatedly pointed out to us by the HNIC broadcast crew). Both teams played a sloppy game, but more ominously the Jets seemed to play a different game that got away from the gritty hard work that allowed them to rise into eighth in the east. It was a signal of things to come as the Jets struggled to put together a solid 60 minutes of hockey on the road. Frustration led them even farther away from the Noelean game plan as they began to take untimely penalties leading to blown leads and missed opportunities to get back into games.

Just as the team looked like it might turn the bus around after a hard fought win in Buffalo, luck took another swipe at the Jets as the stomach flu ravaged its way through the dressing room. This caused a rotating door of game day scratches that where hastily filled in from the farm and again led to more losses.

So after bad play and bad luck what more could go wrong? Let’s talk about injuries. The Jets started their road campaign without one of their most valuable contributors; Dustin Byfuglien. The trend continued as Bryan Little got hurt, then Zach Bogosian and finally Blake Wheeler. All key contributors to the Jets scoring sheet, of which only Little has returned. The Jets were now faced with the prospect of playing one of the east’s hottest teams, the Ottawa Senators, with a depleted line up. The cold reality that the Jets might be in free fall began to descend on the faithful, and trade winds began to rise to hurricane force as fans debated the fate of their club. Yours truly, in a fit of rage and panic also succumbed to trade fever by floating outlandish trade ideas, only to be put in my place by my betters. Many like myself where hitting the panic button.

The Jets must have sensed the desperate state of affairs, because the players responded with what can only be characterized as one of the gutsiest performances of the year. The damaged crew went into the nation’s capital and played an almost perfect road game, holding the Senators to zero goals, a feat which has never been accomplished by any Jets team, new or old. Mechanics of the game aside, the Jets seemed to regain something that had eluded them in the first part of January and indeed through many parts of the season itself: team play. They played as a desperate unit, realizing that they would need all hands on deck to win. This is the mentality that can lead them to future success.

So will the Jets make it through to the other side and keep the wolves at bay until all of their weapons can return to the line up? We’ll see tonight against the Devils. If they maintain that team focus, mixed in with a little desperation and a full 60 minute effort then yes. If they let their foot off the gas and let old habits creep back in, then the Sens game was another rest stop on the way down an even darker hole.

The Jets desperately need to get this win under their belts tonight and return home as their closest rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs face a schedule against weak teams and have the opportunity to bury the Jets even farther down the standings. Either way as Jets fans we have no choice but to follow Churchill’s advice and keep going.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Donald

By: Mike "BCMike" Fraser
Edited By: Mike "The Deuce" Bailey

We’re completely and totally against re-alignment!! Period! End Of Story! No if ands or buts! Re-alignment completely out! The membership has spoken. 

Why, Donald?

Ummmmm hold on a minute…………  Travel!   Ya…Thats It!….. all that extra travel. The travel is preposterous and egregious. How can anyone be expected to live like that! You think its easy flying on private jets and staying in five star hotels?  Why just the other day Phil Kessel’s Nintendo DS ran out of battery on an extended flight! Do you know how stressful that was? Well do ya! And don’t even get me started on the lack of big screen hi-def tv’s on these cut rate charters!

Oh and another thing, the new conferences would be as unbalanced as me at the NHLPA Christmas party. That’s right unbalanced! With the Phoenix Nordiques playing in the west, how can it possibly work? I mean my god man the universe can’t exist without balance!  Even Yoda said the force must be in balance and the NHL is exactly like the force. Are you going to go against a firkin Jedi master, well are ya! No, of course not, there can only be one!

‘Phoenix Nordiques’, Donald?

Ya, haven’t you read the secret repor….  You misquoted me!  I mean the Phoenix Coyotes of course. We’re all going to do our very best to make sure the Coyotes stay in Phoenix, blah, blah blah… Unbalanced I say!!!

Did you consult with the membership Donald?

How can you even ask me that! I made every attempt possible to talk with our downtrodden membership. Most of the poor bastards are too concussed to look at the bright light their new iPhones make when ringing though, so it was problematic. I did however get in touch with Bryzgalov and he absolutely agrees the universe must be in balance. 

Donald did you….

Ya know what punk, I’m sick of talking to you. Carcillo get this ingrate outa my office, I gotta get the Vegas line on the Phoenix game tonight. 

There you have it folks, my imaginary interview Don “The Donald” Fehr. As you all know by now big Don came out with the first smack down of the upcoming CBA war by throwing a wrench into the NHL re-alignment plan that would have seen Winnipeg in a Central division and mercifully not wandering out of its time zone for more than half the season. Of course that’s history now and the first battle of the great 2012 CBA war has officially begun.

I have to admit reader, being on the west coast I was prone to buying into all the peace and love that had been coming out of the Players Association in recent months. Words like “We look forward to working with the NHL on the next CBA”, and “No one wants any kind of work stoppage”, along with my favourite “We’re just looking out for the best interest of the players”. Yes the bong water tasted sweet as I thought to myself, self maybe this is a different, kinder gentler Donald Fehr than has been suggested in the media. Maybe he does have the best interests of the game at heart. And like all good hippie dreams it was shattered by a cold hard realty gut punch.

Of course any six year old and or sports journalist can obviously see that this is pure manoeuvring by the NHLPA to develop the first in what will be a long list of bargaining chips come this summer. The official excuses of excessive travel and the unbalanced schedule are wafer thin, but sturdy enough to for an opening gambit. The Donald, it appears, seems to like to play rough, although in my opinion this opening play borders on reckless. It certainly has scored the PA no points with the fans, but really has the PA ever really cared about what the fans think?

Let’s talk about travel. The NHLPA is asserting that travel is somehow going to become more onerous for the majority of its membership. One thing for certain is that under the new re-alignment plan travel will become somewhat more difficult for a minority of NHL players on the eastern seaboard who now enjoy leisurely two hour bus trips between cities.  However the re-alignment plan was designed to try and alleviate the B-R-U-T-A-L travel regime of everyone else, especially Winnipeg who are currently forced to play in the southeast division.  The stated goal of re-alignment was to try and alleviate travel for the majority of teams, but the PA has effectively asked the NHL to prove a negative by demanding proof to the contrary.  Really NHLPA?  How’s that supposed to happen without so much as a basic framework of a schedule started? It’s a shaky leg to stand on, any way you look at it.

Next on the gripe list is the unbalanced format of the new conferences. It’s true this would be problematic if the Phoenix Coyotes where to stay in Phoenix, but of course we all know the worst kept secret in pro sports is that the Phoenix coyotes will be the Quebec Nordiques in 2012-13. I’ve already spilled lots of ink on that dead horse so let’s just say that if Phoenix really did have a shot of staying in Phoenix the re-alignment plan wouldn’t have had such an easy time getting through the NHL Board Of Governors. The Donald of course knows that the NHL can’t come out and publically say this, so he can fly the unbalanced flag at least until June, when the hammer will have to fall in Glendale.

Now I know what you’re thinking reader; how did the Donald get the players on board with his opening barrage? Well dear reader he exploited the one valid hole in the re-alignment plan; the playoffs. Under the new re-alignment plan it would be possible for a team with a better record than their eastern/western counterpart   to miss the playoffs. This was a hole identified early on, and was thrown to the General Managers to try and hammer out a better format. By all accounts The Donald leveraged this with the player reps to get them on board. I think the players know the rest of the arguments are smoke, but the nature of the playoff format grates on their hyper competitive DNA. I’m also not convinced that players where necessarily consulted as widely as we might be led to believe. On the day of the PA sucker punch several player agents expressed genuine surprise and amazement. These are the guys on the front lines of player issues, its their job to know about things that affect their clients livelihood and for the most part, a lot of them were out of the loop.

So what’s really going on? What’s really happening here is that like the animals we are, one side is marking his territory. The Donald has come to play and he wants everyone in the media and the NHL to know that there will be no free ride during the CBA talks. As a bargaining chip, holding re-alignment hostage is weak, and the NHL signalled as much by having Winnipeg’s Mark Chipman, the man most affected by re-alignment, hold a press conference saying basically, It’s no big thing.  Still it was a combative opening move that is meant to somehow convey a hard line by the PA. I am however curious to know why the NHLPA feels it needs to circle the wagons around the issue of re-alignment but seems blissfully ignorant to the fact that half their membership is spending time in the quiet room nursing their concussions. I’m guessing in NHLPA land, players’ (and by extension the PA executives’) financial status seems to supersede their physical well being. After all, the PA doesn’t seem capable of acknowledging the concussion epidemic, let own dealing with it.

The Donald should be careful though. The NHL isn’t growing at the rate it once did and although general revenues are increasing, the fundamentals in a lot of US markets are very poor. The NHLPA may want to play the poor boy Oliver asking for more porridge, but the pot may be getting smaller and its contents might be getting cold. There’s also the undeniable fact that a lot of NHL owners south of the border would love the chance to defer the expense of the first four months of the NHL season to try and repair their bottom line. If the PA decides to get ugly, the lever of a work stoppage won’t be nearly as effective as it would be in other pro sports, and the solidarity of the membership in the NHLPA has a history of being fractious. History has been unkind to NHLPA bosses that have tried to play hardball with the NHL, and at the end of the day if Fehr decides to play tough he may end up without a chair when the music is stops.

The CBA war is definitely under way. PR hacks across North America are sharpening their knives and the sides are positioning their pieces. Unfortunately the cannon fodder in this war is going to be the fans first and foremost. The people that actually dump money into the pockets of all these clowns are ironically the ones who are going to suffer in the most significant way. Someday the tipping point will come and the average hockey fan will simply start voting with their dollars elsewhere. But until that day arrives the millionaires will squabble with the billionaires over the right to pick the pocket of the moms, dads and kids that simply want to watch their heroes play hockey. Until that day arrives, the Donald will bang his shoe on the table and ask for more, more, more.

Brooksey's Headline Roundup Jan 6-13

By: Derek "Brooksey" Brookes

Amazing times in the NHL!  The Jets are going to spend lots of time in the sunny cities of the southeast division next season thanks the NHLPA.  As Jets fans we have to be excited at the extended stay in the eastern conference!  Sure we were all good to go to the west next year but as I see it there is nothing wrong with getting some extra eastern exposure.

If there is one thing we could go on forever about, it’s all the possible permutations you can make with the NHL divisions.  

I have to thank Jesse Spector from the Sporting News for coming out this week with what I think is the most interesting idea yet – 3 conferences!  I wonder where he got the idea…here? Or here?

There was an awesome sight in Buffalo this week.  The Jets bounced back with a much needed road win and their fans made it count afterward.  Winnipeg fans took over the HSBC Arena concourse after the game, freaking out some Sabres fans in the process.

Also on Saturday’s NHL schedule, the Islanders visited the Coyotes for a milestone moment in Shane Doan’s career as he had his first career hat trick.  That didn’t go unnoticed by the Rangers who are rumored to be interested in Doan.

The coaching casualties are up to 7 this year.  Former Moose coach, Scott Arniel was dumped by the Blue Jackets.  Another Moose alum, Randy Carlyle was fired Dec 1 by Anaheim.

The Jets were looking confident going into Boston but the bubble burst in the third period.  After outplaying the Bruins for 2 periods, the Jets simply never got out of the dressing room for the third and the reigning champs took 8 seconds to get back into the game.  

Saturday night a sensational story was posted on HF boards and quickly edited to remove much of the details but not before Winnipeg bloggers reposted on local forums.  It is an as yet unconfirmed open letter from Glendale mayor Scruggs to the NHL where she dumps the blame for the Coyotes mess on the NHL for asking too much money.  As if it wasn’t enough of a flying circus , captain Shane Doan recited his favorite Monty Python material to the press, proclaiming the Coyotes are not dead.  In related news, the Quebec arena project is gaining steam as a project engineer was hired. (Don’t worry, he speaks French)

On Thursday the remaining roster for the All Star game was released and Dustin Byfuglien earned a trip to Ottawa.  He really is the biggest star around here so it should come as no surprise.  Also today came the much anticipated Lawless awards, where Claude Noel took home the halftime hardware for Coach of the Year.  Quite an amazing accomplishment as the same judge recently gave the same team an F!  Keep up the hard hitting reporting, Gary!

Late edition update: Michael Cammalleri was dealt to Calgary for Rene Bourque. You know it's getting personal in Montreal when Cammalleri was pulled off the ice in the middle of a game and put in a cab for Calgary, less than 24 hours after he publicly called his team "losers".

Friday, January 6, 2012

Brooksey's Headline Roundup Dec 29-Jan 5

By: Derek "Brooksey" Brooks

The Winter Classic was nothing to celebrate as two American teams went head to head Dec 29 to prove that they can create an artificial rink outside in winter.  There's clearly something missing when it's held in a baseball stadium and they have to protect the ice from rainfall.  As a youngster who played recreational hockey at an outdoor rink, I can tell you there's a unique sound of skates on ice when it is -25 C.  The puck hitting rotten boards when you miss the net echoes forever in that crisp dense air.  Imagine a Go Jets Go! chant by 50,000 die hard hockey fans as the players rush up the ice, their breath creating puffs of steam.  Now that would be something!  While I watched some of the game it did evoke memories, but of an altogether different subject.  Red Fisher's story above points out that last year's event more importantly marked a tipping point on the bigger story on concussions.  

On a lighter note that same night the Jets were home the the LA Kings and enjoyed a dramatic overtime win.  It was an encouraging display by the home team, as the Jets proved they could play a solid 2-way game going a perfect 5-5 on the penalty kill and denying a streaking LA team that had played a disciplined road game.  The Jets continued their magic month on new year's eve by dispatching the Leafs in a very entertaining game to close out a record setting home stand.  Red Fisher called the Jets this year's surprise team.   2011 was a year that will be etched in Jets fans memories as a year where dreams really can come true.

Queue 2012.  

If 2011 was a dream come true, then 2012 has started out as nasty as a Tanner Glass fight.  Winnipeg was in a playoff spot, feeling good and sleepy with leftover turkey in the tummy.  We had reached the goal, to contend and be a part of the all important playoff club.  Bring on Montreal.  

But first, a little holiday treat.  Let's have some fun watching the Scheif vs Telegin.  If there is a rock solid team to bank on it's Team Canada.  The team was pounding everyone.  It's gold or bust.  Here we go!  Canada got embarassed in the first 2 periods but staged an epic rally that would be one of the greatest of all time - except they ran out of  time. With 4 unanswered goals and intense pressure the clock ran down and Canada was out.

Then came a Montreal meltdown.  Cunneyworth's guys must have been watching some Detriot game tapes because they knew where to press.  Forecheckers were all over the D men in the Jets' zone, especially Enstrom who looked very small all night.  The Habs were rewarded as Winnipeg coughed up the puck so much it was hard to watch.  Pavelec was having his own troubles fighting through screens and reading the shots.

I got up Thursday morning and didn't want to look in the mirror.  That game was a scary reminder of game 1 - the Jets looked spooked.  OK, I said.  No prob.  I rationalized it.  That's a "character building" game, I said. We'll prove it by winning a more important game against Toronto tonight and all will be back to normal in 6th place.  Why did it have to be Kessel - I hate Kessel.  His beady, too-close-together eyes in the close up after he scored the game's first and ultimately winning goal made me nauseous.  

I tweeted "Looks like I'm going to bed frustrated again #marriedjetsfanproblems"  But thankfully as I scanned twitter, I had a distraction pop up.  The twitter crowd was saying that Makarov was writing his own miracle, a ridiculous shutout performance with 57 saves before finally going down to Sweden.

It's late and I'm still up.  Maybe I'll reread Lucky7's Things To Do In Phoenix When Your Dead.  There's a good article on Seattle's chances  by the Fridge.  Nothing like a little Jets1.0 trolling to make me feel better.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things To Do In Phoenix When Your Dead

By: Mike "BCMike" Fraser
Edited By: Mike "The Deuce" Bailey

Boat Drinks. That’s what Ed Beasley, city manager for Glendale Az. will be drinking after his planned retirement later this year. For those Jets fans and Quebecois who are still following the never ending story of hockey in the desert that was probably the first signal of what will eventually happen later this year. Ed announced he was planning his retirement back in September and since then Elaine Scruggs, the venerable mayor of Glendale, has also signalled she will not run for re-election. As we all know when a ship starts to sink, the first ones off are the rats.

Of course we really don’t need any signals or messages to know the fundamentals in Phoenix have been wrong for some time. The team has been on a death watch for more than three years and is probably one of the few non-government ventures that are allowed to live while losing thirty plus million a year. The only mystery left is when and where? When will the NHL and its partners in Glendale finally pull the plug on the Phoenix Coyotes experiment and where will they end up?

As I said previously the place to start is the City of Glendale (COG) because of course they’re the ones currently funding a large portion of this ongoing fiasco in the hopes that their dream of becoming a sports tourist destination will somehow be rekindled by a white knight riding in to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. As I’ll get to later this isn’t going to happen, and the people in charge know it. Ed Beasley, who undoubtedly is the godfather of this entire sham will no doubt make his departure just before the preverbal shoe drops and is hastily making preparations to do just that. Elaine Scruggs, the single minded politician who lead her flock down this merry path of doom is also preparing her departure. This of course means no white knight for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Now if you were to believe local Phoenix radio sports hacks, they would point a finger to the west and say our white night is riding in from San Jose. That White knight is Greg Jamieson, former CEO of the San Jose sharks and head of a group trying to purchase the Coyotes. Unfortunately for the Coyotes it appears that this emperor again has no clothes as was revealed in a recent report released by Court House News Service (http://courthousenews.com/2011/12/30/42657.htm). This report states that the Jamieson group tried float a bond to raise the required cash for the purchase, but in doing so not only failed to issue a bond but was also the victim of fraud from the financial services company offering to help raise the money. So not only does Mr. Jamieson not have the required $180 million plus to buy the struggling team, he’s actually fighting to get back monies lost in the venture.

So now that we know no one is coming to rescue of the Phoenix Coyotes, what happens next? As in all good mysteries one only needs to follow the money. Co-incidentally (no not really) the NHL in the last few days has “leaked” a top secret report from 2010 that concludes the NHL makes thirty three percent of its total revenue from the (then) six Canadian clubs, and that the average revenue per game for each of those clubs was significantly higher that most of their American cousins, especially the ones in the sun belt. This, of course my loyal readers, is the NHL setting the table PR wise for what is likely it’s only available option; a move back to Quebec City.

We could dive into all the numbers and all the possible US relocation candidates but really it all boils down to a few things that Quebec can bring to the table that no one else to date can. The first being the stable ownership and media tie-ins of Quebecor. Quebecor commands revenues in the billions and controls a lion’s share of the media outlets within Quebec. With the framework of a sale agreement waiting in the wings, Quebecor stands poised to make a fast transaction. The second is the prospect of a new modern facility to house the team. Although ground has not been broken, governments on several levels have committed to building a new rink and Quebecor has already brokered a deal for management and naming rights. Third of course is a ready-made fan base who never really abandoned the NHL but never really felt comfortable cheering for Montreal. So if you’re the NHL and looking for potential relocation candidates your choice seems to be:   a) Another untested US city with sketchy ownership and maybe a building or b) A media conglomerate ownership group, a new building on the way and a rabid fan base. From a business stand point it seems like a no brainer and indeed the NHL does seem to have a new love affair with Canada.

In my mind there is no doubt that seven will soon be eight in Canada and the Quebec Nordiques fans will have their dreams fulfilled just as Winnipeggers did earlier this year. All the signs are there and I’m sure that hockey fans in Phoenix resigned themselves to their fate some time ago. So if you’re in Phoenix this season go grab yourself a $30.00 ticket on free beer night, and pick up a few soon to be collector’s items, it will probably be your last opportunity to do so.

There is however one small lingering question, if Quebec and Alberta can support two teams, why can’t southern Ontario? Surely hockey crazed Canada’s wealthiest region deserves more than just the Leafs. Don’t think the executive at the NHL isn’t asking itself that very question as more teams in the southern US sputter along on the brink of failure. It seems the NHL may soon have to trade the sun belt for the nickel belt.

Boat Drinks..