SUN Hockey Pool

Players don't buy it

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

At first glance, the odds of the entire NHL being snapped up by a U.S.-based buyout firm seem astronomical. Then again, no one ever expected to see Eric Lindros and Curtis Joseph line up as defence partners either, a rare combination that actually was on display during a charity event in Markham yesterday.

But if you're waiting for that much ballyhooed Big E-Cujo defence tandem to return whenever NHL hockey does, well, don't hold your breath.

And as for having the league purchased by Bain Capital LLC and Game Plan LLC, the partners that made the highly publicized $3.5 billion US bid in New York Tuesday, both Lindros and Joseph said yesterday they don't expect to see that transpire, either.

"It's not going to happen," said Lindros, who admitted chuckling when he first heard reports of the offer. "I don't have all the details but I don't think you can take 30 teams and put an equal value on each one.

"Listen, anything can happen, but it would be (surprising)."

Joseph has enjoyed the privilege of playing for two of the more lucrative NHL franchises, the Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

"I can't see it," Joseph said of the offer. "I mean, one of the problems I see for the collective bargaining agreement is, how are you going to try and lump the Leafs in with some of the small market clubs? It's not going to work.

"Besides, what owner would want to give up the prestige of owning the Maple Leafs or Red Wings?"

As he drove in from Detroit for the event yesterday morning, Steve Yzerman heard details of the bid on his car radio.

"Initially I didn't give it any credence," the future Hall of Famer said. "Obviously when it comes to the Detroits, Phillys and Leafs, there is going to be no interest in selling the teams.

"I really don't see it as a topic worth discussing at this time."

On this day, the topic of choice for Yzerman and co. was the Steve Thomas and Friends Corporate Cup, a tourney co-sponsored by the Toronto Sun which helped raise funds for the Markham Stouffville Hospital.

Each of the six teams in the event (a.k.a. The Stumpy Cup) featured a well-known captain -- Lindros, Yzerman, Thomas, Tie Domi, Doug Gilmour and Gary Roberts -- three other celebrities, and 11 other players from individual corporations.

Despite a valiant effort, Team Roberts -- a feisty squad coached by Sun sports editor Pat Grier and featuring Sun hockey writer Terry Koshan -- came up just short. Koshan reported no ill effects after being gooned by Lindros.

Fittingly, Team Thomas defeated Team Gilmour 6-5 in the final to win the event.

Thomas denied Gilmour's good-natured allegations that the fix was in.

"Hey, we worked our butts off," Stumpy said.


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