Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Penguins don't have reason to move, says NHL

Roadblock impedes Penguins' exit

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting story today. They say,

According to people familiar with the sale process, the Penguins were ready to sell to the high bidder, a Canadian entity or group that offered $175 million or more, but that bidder backed out over the weekend based on what it learned about the NHL's stance and the state's "Plan B" for arena funding.

So, the group rumored to be headed by RIM CEO Jim Balsillie wowed the Penguins with their offer and the Penguins were ready to sell for a rumored $175M. The bid would be $25M more than what the St. Louis Blues sold for -- and the Blues have a beautiful, new arena in which to play.

Apparently, Gary Bettman told them, "No, not if there is a plan for a new arena in Pittsburgh".

Well if this is true, all I have to say is, good for Gary Bettman. I must say before the lockout I was not sure about Bettman. But, the lockout was good for the NHL. The NHL now has the best CBA for medium and small markets like KC. And now, Bettman isn't allowing franchises to just take up and move on a whim.

It's believed the four remaining bidders -- whose offers are in the $150 million range -- are more willing to work with Plan B if the Isle of Capri does not get the slots license, although at least one of them might be holding out hope that if Plan B falls apart the team could still be moved.

So, Fingold isn't giving up on KC. I guess there is still a very slight ray of hope for those "spinning" that the Penguins may still play in Sprint Center.

The NHL's bylaws are not public documents, but they contain a passage that defines many conditions that need to be exhausted before a team would be allowed to move, NHL spokesman Frank Brown said yesterday.

Since the Penguins' major problem is its facility, the NHL probably would not approve relocation as long as there is an active plan for a new arena.

Wouldn't you love to know what those conditions are? I'm sure one of them is lack of attendance over a certain period of years. Considering the Penguins average attendance last season, I'm sure they wouldn't meet some of the conditions for moving a franchise. A franchise would have to meet those conditions to even consider moving to KC or Houston or Hamilton, or, heck with renovation to KeyArena, Seattle (since developments today point to that city losing the Sonics).

I guarantee you AEG knows the conditions...considering Phillip Anschutz is on the Executive Committe of the NHL Board of Governors (I believe).

I'm going out on a limb here. I think we start hearing about an AHL franchise in KC for 2007-08 in November.


At 6:15 PM, Anonymous dale said...

I'm up for an AHL team. Beats driving to Omaha and Des Moines for hockey (and Wichita, too, but that's CHL [good hockey, tho']), and an AHL team in KC would make for a nice triangle of rivalry here in the heartland. Besides, it would move the NHL to parity with 30-30. Is NHL21 up to attracting the AHL to KC?

At 9:44 PM, Blogger KCHockeyBuzz said...

From everything I have heard from, the NHL21 guys are not interested in helping attract an AHL team.

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Evan said...

One of the factors in the bylaws is attendance and attendance has never been a problem in Pittsburgh.

The team led the league in increased attendnace last year and had the 2nd worst record in the league. There were a number of sellouts last year including the last game of the year which was electric.

Not only do Pens fans come to the games, they are dedicated, passionate and intense (regardless of the team's win-loss record).

This is why a move won't go down. Plan B for an arena is getting tighter and Bettman does not want to lose Pittsburgh's fan base to go to an unproven market that has already had and lost a franchise.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous UpperDeckJoe said...

I have maintained that my preference was always for an AHL club here in KC. I agree with Dale about establishing the nice rivalry triangle of KC, Omaha and DM. But alas, the sports powers in KC never look at that angle. If they did, the Royals would now be in the NL Central, what with the natural rivalry between KC and STL and CHC. I am tempted to contact the mayor's office and giving Her Honor Kay my thoughts about the AHL, but I am afraid that Ms. Kay has on NHL21 blinders. I'm not so sure about the AEG folks, but the selling point to the KC voters on the new arena was NHL and/or NBA, not the AHL.

Dale, if we do get an AHL team, you and I will still have to pay the fuel freight to OMA and DM to follow the KC AHL team on road games, yes?

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Max said...

I'd fully support AHL hockey. It is a high level of hockey without NHL prices. I think KC would fully embrace it.

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous UpperDeckJoe said...

I have to amend my post above. Yes, the AEG folks would be interested in the AHL, but they themselves could not own a KC franchise since they already own the Manchester Grizzlies. Again, we're back to local ownership or someone willing to put a franchise here. Did I already mention Edmonton? Thought so.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous dale said...

Hey, I'd follow the team to Omaha and Des Moines every time they played! I go up there during the season to see their teams play (that Qwest Arena, wow!), but it would be that much better to see them lose on their home ice to a KC Team!


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