Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Coyote judgement day nears, so where are all those bidders?

The list of suitors for the woe(almost)begone Phoenix Coyotes dropped by one on Tuesday, as those tire kicking investors at Ice Edge LLC apparently have chosen to withdraw their bid for hockey's most troubled operation.

This of course leaves Judge Redfield T. Baum of Arizona with a rather short list of options now when he bangs down on that gavel on September 10 and seeks out bids for the Coyotes, he'll look to to one side and see Jim Balsillie, glance to the other and there's Gary Bettman, and , er, well that's about it.

From what the NHL once suggested was a list of well intentioned millionaires seeking to be removed from their dollars we now are left with the billionaire blackberry man, apparently unwanted by his would be fraternity brothers in the NHL, and with the NHL itself, a collective of owners who if the Commissioner is to be believed are more than willing to foot the bill for these dogs of the desert.

The NHL is hopeful that their declaration of Mr. Balsillie as being of poor character will sway Judge Baum into accepting their plan of ownership and potential relocation of their own, having previously outlined how they feel that Mr. Balsillie is just not the kind of guy to be a member of the lodge, how he apparently does not hold the dearly held qualities that men of their ilk must have.

For the sake of their bid, they had best hope that Judge Baum does not read the newspapers or happen upon the sports channels. As the deadline day approaches, a rather recent ghost of the NHL past, highlighting just what those many values they hold dear may be, returned to the spotlight.

Boots Del Biaggio III, former minority owner and alternate governor of the Nashville Predators, was sentenced to eight years in jail on Tuesday. Convicted of fraud and ordered to pay back the 67 million dollars that he used to fraudulently purchase his stake in the NHL. The vision of Mr. Del Biaggio III, preparing to do that ever popular perp walk to prison, making for a rather fascinating exclamation point on the tactics of the NHL in this war of attrition with Balsillie.

The Judge, if he has a sense of humour may inquire as to that much referenced character aspect of the Balsillie bid and how it is that Mr. Balsillie's reputation pales to that of Mr. Del Biaggio.

Then, with that character issues laying in tatters with the days headlines, he could return his attention to the task at hand, finding the best outcome for the Coyotes creditors. If he has the best interests of those creditors in place,as a bankruptcy judge always does, he could open up the process for bids.

The NHL already about 100 million dollars behind the Balsillie curve as it is, then can pass that hat among the other 29 solvent (or perhaps in some cases almost solvent) owners and begin the process of matching Mr. Balsillie dollar for dollar.

Considering the troubled state of many of the NHL's member clubs, we'll quickly see which side blinks first.

National Post-- And then there were two
National Post-- Ice Edge withdraws from Coyotes auction
National Post-- Glendale officials not swayed by Balsillie’s updated bid
National Post-- Balsillie puts Bettman to the doofus test
National Post-- Balsillie Sweetens Deal For Coyotes
National Post-- NHL eyes $195M relocation fee for Coyotes: report
Globe and Mail-- And then there were two

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