SUN Hockey Pool

You can't bank on Bettman

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

TORONTO -- I understand why a control freak like Gary Bettman is annoyed by billionaire Jim Balsillie. That much is easy.

What I don't understand is why the rest of the National Hockey League owners don't welcome Balsillie into their club with open arms.

Bettman wouldn't allow Balsillie to purchase the Nashville Predators. But he did usher William (Boots) Del Biaggio into the club, first with an attempt to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins and move them to Kansas City and later as a part owner in Nashville.

Balsillie has paper worth of some $4 billion and who knows what else he owns. Del Biaggio just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. and who knows what else he owes.

In simple terms, Bettman turned away the billionaire and ushered in the broke guy. Some leadership. NHL owners should be asking the commissioner why he turns down real money for no money?

Balsillie may be a rogue and going about it all wrong, but if you look at what rogues like Jerry Jones or Mark Cuban have done for the NFL or NBA, you can hardly argue with the results.

Balsillie would be great for NHL business. It's about time somebody realized that.

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