Jim Balsillie has tried and tried and tried again to buy an NHL team. Not going to happen. As much as I'm a fan. From the Pittsburgh, to Nashville to Phoenix.
Here are my current picks for teams struggling that might relocate (And it isn't so much a "southern issue" or standings but more based on financial struggles, ownership etc.
Let's take care of the teams not relocating (Despite rumours etc)
1. St. Louis Blues - why attendance been strong. Some financial struggles, and ownership but Attendance and finances seem there for the team.
2. The Blue Jackets. They have remained consistent and are in a drought somewhat but continue to be supported in Ohio in the midst of a tough College Market of Ohio State.
3. Florida Panthers. I almost wrote this team as relocating but looking at how well attendance is, and the potential - don't see them as relocating anytime soon.
Here are the three teams I do see as Relocating if their financial situation isn't dealt with soon:
1. Phoenix Coyotes
2. Atlanta Thrashers
3. New York Islanders
Here are the places that would be possible for either a new or relocated team in Order:
1. Winnipeg Though doubts arise with it being the Coyotes. Why Winnipeg?
Fan base, support, history, rink etc.
2. Kansas City Though rumours suggect otherwise
Why Kansas City? Brand new arena fan base, new TV market etc. So much to like.
3. Hamilton, Ontario
Why Hamilton? with possibilities of 2 teams supported in Toronto and other owners and that .... seems a good fit with all the fan base and size of the fans in Southern Ontario and growing. Problem: Sleeping giant in the Leafs and their territory (Number one Revenue earner for the NHL) and that of the Sabres.
4. Las Vegas.
5. Quebec City and the Nordiques. Plans for new arena possible?">new arena and despite planning and if they build - they would come idea ..(Look at Kansas city's arena that is empty ... I think the Quebec might be the last city to get a team.
Here in a perfect world (Which knowing Buttman I mean Bettman, as the commish, it isn't going to happen)
Is what I think will happen.
1. Phoenix won't relocate.
2. Atlanta might relocate to Kansas City.
3. Islanders will get their new arena.
Winnpeg and Quebec get some exhibition games. While waiting until after the new CBA is signed ... and talk about expansion to 2 more teams which will be more like the NFL. Relocation will include: Winnipeg and Las Vegas. (Or Oklahoma City)
No more teams in Canada though talk will include: Blues, Panthers (as as always people will mention Nashville, Columbus and Carolina - unfortunately).
Of Course, Jim buying the Leafs would be funny, but in reality out of possibility. I think he burnt too many bridges or rather the bridges (NHL burnt him as a potential owner).
As much as I would like Make it Seven to be successful and be in Hamilton first ... with our current commissioner .... I don't foresee that happening.
With all the talk of relocation, finances etc. One of the things I think needs to be addressed for the future of the NHL:
I. Stable ownership for each team.
II. Answer bluntly questions about relocation and expansion plans ... if any.
III. Have a plan for future marketing etc. (The "History will be made" motto is so 2008) Make the Winter Classic known sooner rather than later. 6 months ahead isn't real planning.
IV. Get a plan for discipline - a real plan. Send a message loud and clear about Head shoots. (Heck, Lindros' career could of been saved if some of this addressed then, the whole Moore incident, McSorley etc could have saved face .... Chara? It is getting to a point where bad PR isn't good PR for the NHL don't be like the NFL and think negative PR helps promote your product ...it doesn't.)
V. Deal with the concussions. Don't wait until hyprocrisy yells at you like Mario did .... (as much as I like Mario he was wrong to call out the officials meanwhile his own player, Cooke was one of the instigators)
VI. Showcase the Franchise players. Have some. The All-star game this year was a great start by having the players drafted. Maybe doing that ... plus during draft day have the 30 teams have their picks (Top picks) play an exhibition game with east vs. west ...(Just thinking outloud) with the Stanley Cup teams' coaches coaching each team ...
5 things I'd do to change the NHL
Solving the Contract Crisis of the NHL
What would you do?
Thoughts about the above? Am I off my rocker?