Simmons says

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

The franchise sale that kept the Predators in Nashville -- for now -- doesn't pass the smell test.

Among the questions that linger in the obvious slighting of potential owner Jim Balsillie and his overt and clumsy attempts to move the team to Hamilton, are these:

Who is making up the dollar difference for previous owner Craig Leipold, who seemed downright gleeful to sell his money-losing team for $40 million US less than Balsillie offered? Clearly the difference will be made up to him, some way, somehow, from somebody?

How did Boots del Baggio, a minority owner in the San Jose Sharks, who a minute ago was trying to move the Predators to Kansas City, end up as the single largest investor in keeping a team in a market that has no market?

And if the new owners were so committed to keeping hockey in Nashville, why is it that they didn't negotiate the end of the "out clause" that would allow the franchise to be moved if not enough tickets were sold?

And, if you're an NHL owner, please explain this: How do you fight to lower the price of a franchise for sale, which ultimately drops the value of all franchises, and at the same time fight against moving to a market assured of sellouts and success?

We anxiously await the explanations, assuming we ever get them.

THIS AND THAT

If David Beckham doesn't get on the field and soon, his noble and well-heeled attempts to build soccer in North America will be met with cynicism. In this era in which celebrity somehow trumps accomplishment, just appearing in a city will not entice or excite anyone for very long ... Quick trivia question: Name your three favourite Los Angeles Galaxy players not named Beckham? ... Attempts to turn the weighted dogfighting case against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick into something racially motivated is indeed lame. This is one of those kick- in-the-stomach stories: The more you learn about it, the more sick you feel. And that has nothing to do with race ... Is this allowed? American Express dropped its sponsorship of Tiger Woods ... Is there a more entertaining athlete in Canada than running back Charles Roberts of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers? He is fun to watch, even when he loses yards ... Any minute now, Geroy Simon, with 16 catches and just one touchdown, is going to snap ... Wonder if, deep down, Roy Halladay feels the same way about the Blue Jays that Johan Santana seems to feel about the Minnesota Twins?

HEAR AND THERE

Quick: If J.P. Ricciardi had invested in Bre-X, he would have said he liked his investment ... What is it about Toronto and the lack of urgency in sports? Ricciardi loves his Blue Jays. Darcy Tucker, two years out of the playoffs, loves his teammates. Adam Rita, 2-4 and slipping with the Argos, likes the feel of his battered team. Isn't anybody out there upset? ... The list of conscientious objectors to Barry Bonds' home-run chase has grown from Henry Aaron to Vin Scully, and how do you argue with that kind of silence? ... In between sentences, a CFL official threw a flag on this column ... The latest anti-Canadian conspiracy: Lanny McDonald getting snubbed by the American Moustache Institute, which picked the best moustache in sports last night and it wasn't our boy Lanny ... How to know Bob Goodenow is no longer around: Zach Parise, who signed for less money than Derek Roy, was player of the weekend on the NHLPA's website ... Thurman Thomas, who was everything Buffalo is about -- undersized, angry, too often disregarded, never pretty -- was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday, one year later than he should have been.

SCENE AND HEARD

Bonds' ultimate revenge on the media he so detests: Never hit the home run and have newspapers spend all kinds of tight travel budgets while paying for reporters to follow him around ... When Jesse Lumsden was running at McMaster, Dahrran Diedrick was starring at Nebraska. Now, one is a genuine CFL star and the other a bit player. Tells you not everything is better just because it happens in America ... In protest of the NFL's treatment of disabled players, Mike Ditka boycotted yesterday's Hall of Fame inductions. Funny, didn't hear him say anything about boycotting his job as an NFL broadcaster ... Royce Clayton, the 12th starting shortstop of the Ricciardi era, is out. The next great Ricciardi shortstop will be the first ... Gambling in tennis: Who knew? ... The suspended Neifi Perez, batting a powerless .172, is giving banned substances a bad name ... Quick confession: I have become an HD snob. If it's a sporting event and it's not in HD, I don't want to watch it anymore.

AND ANOTHER THING

In the summer of 2005, John Ferguson Jr. acquired Eric Lindros, Jason Allison, Jeff O'Neill and Alex Khananov for the Leafs. All are now without NHL contracts. Last summer, he brought in Pavel Kubina and Andrew Raycroft, two contracts he'd like to discard. By comparison, the acquisitions of Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake -- and never mind the price -- make this his most ambitious off-season ... People keep referring to Blake as a 40-goal scorer. More accurately, Blake has averaged 34 goals a season post-lockout after scoring 23 goals a season before that ... Troy Glaus makes enough money that he will clear waivers should the Jays choose to move him, now that the silly baseball trade deadline has passed ... You can't have everything at the Air Canada Centre. You can buy better ice, but not necessarily a better team ... The first-round pick Brian Burke ended up with from Edmonton in the Dustin Penner signing could end up as a lottery pick. And with or without John Tavares, the NHL's 2008 entry draft is quite deep in high-end players ... And hey, whatever became of Randy Knorr?


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