Friday, September 11, 2009

Maybe he'll keep the team for himself... Judge Baum prepares for Deal or No Deal!

Judge Redfield T. Baum offered up an intriguing, if alarming suggestion as to the course of events that may flow out of his court room on Friday. That of nothing actually getting settled, with neither the NHL or the Balsillie collectives capturing their prize and instead leaving the Coyotes franchise in some kind of limbo, one that would have to be funded by the NHL until some other solution was arrived upon.

The final act (or what was supposed to be at any rate) of this long running soap opera is (was?) scheduled to play out on the 7th floor in courtroom 703, on Friday, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to take the stand with his explanation as to what he thinks is best and why the former owner of the Coyotes and the teams creditors should be accepting of a bid of less than 100 thousand dollars of Mr. Balsillies.

Lawyers for Ballsillie and the now recalcitrant Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes will be vigorously cross examining the Commissioner, seeking the dramatic statement that will sink his argument and leave the Judge with no other choice but to rule in favour of the Balsillie bid.

The anti trust lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler who has been retained by Mr. Balsillie will be handling the cross examination of Mr. Bettman from the Balsillie point of view, an event apparently not striking fear into Mr. Bettman, if his comments in the Globe and Mail are any indication.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Bettman said. “He took my deposition and we’ve crossed paths before.”

Still court room drama can always provide that surprise development that changes the direction of the case forever, whether that comes to pass on Friday or not remains to be seen

But one thing is certain, whatever happens in the court Friday, the only real statement of dramatic importance will be in the deliberation arrived from Judge Baum as this proceeding comes to its end.

That in the end will either settle this matter or set it up for either more endless litigation or start the entire process over again, giving the NHL a very Groundhog Day like feeling we would think.
Globe and Mail-- Bettman meets his match
Toronto Star-- How High Will He Go?
Toronto Sun-- The Plot Thickens

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