NHL fiasco far from over

Coyotes fans cheer against the Red Wings during Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal...

Coyotes fans cheer against the Red Wings during Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal series in Glendale, Ariz., April 18, 2011. (RICK SCUTERI/Reuters)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

So you think the Phoenix Coyotes fiasco is over, do you?

Wishful thinking, friends.

Because as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday night, Glendale’s decision to gouge taxpayers for another $25 million is only a step toward keeping the Coyotes off the extinct species list.

“We still have to sell the team,” Daly told reporters after the Glendale council meeting, which produced a 5-2 vote in favour of ponying up the additional cash next season.

Who the NHL sells it to, and under what terms, is still very much up in the air.

Calling the Glendale bond-backed deal with Matt Hulsizer “problematic” — the word ‘doomed’ comes to mind, as well — Daly acknowledged the league has to step back and reconsider its options.

I’m hearing Hulsizer has had enough, and I’m not the only one.

Daly basically hinted at the possibility of starting from scratch with a different buyer.

“Maybe it’s a restructure, maybe it’s a new investor with a new deal. Those are all possibilities,” Daly said. “We’re committed to Glendale for at least another year ... hopefully we can clarify ownership over the summer.”

Won’t Coyotes GM Don Maloney and head coach Dave Tippett love that, another summer in which they can’t pursue high-end free agents.

As long as the NHL owns this team, it’ll hold onto the purse strings like a rookie gripping his stick in overtime of Game 7.

“It’s a tough environment, no doubt,” Daly said, confirming the NHL must approve Maloney’s player budget. “Conditions are improving. Fans are starting to believe we’re serious when we say we want to see the Coyotes in Glendale, long-term. And the club’s business performance is improving.”

Not sure how Daly can say that with a straight face after the NHL handed Glendale a bill showing nearly $37 million in losses this past season. But we understand the man’s job, at times, is to put some serious spin on the puck.

Speaking of spin, did anybody else notice how Glendale twisted the wording of its agenda item, Tuesday, calling the $25 million a management fee, payable to the league for operating Jobing.com Arena for another season?

I didn’t know that was the NHL’s job. I guess a management fee is easier to sell to your constituents than a pledge to cover the losses of a multimillion dollar private enterprise.

It was probably an attempt to throw off the sharks at the Goldwater Institute, as well. But they’re not going anywhere. They smell blood, even if their Tuesday night challenge to Glendale politicians fell on deaf ears.

“They need you more than you need them,” Goldwater’s Nick Dranias told council. “They have abandoned their ‘emergency’ talk about how they just have to get the deal done ... because they are so desperate to hold onto their master plan to keep hockey in the south and southwest.”

But what about the southeast?

With Phoenix no longer in the emergency queue, Dr. Daly and Co. can turn their attention to the patient in Atlanta, if they so choose.

So get ready for that mill to start churning out the rumours.

The first report linking Mark Chipman and David Thomson of True North Sports and Entertainment to the Thrashers surfaced way back in October, 2009.

It wasn’t the last, and there are sure to be many more as the NHL’s deadline, whatever it may be, for next season’s lineup approaches.

If we learned anything in the Coyotes saga it’s how badly the league wants to stay there.

Now we’re about to find out the same thing about Atlanta.

And, at the same time, how badly it wants to stay away from Winnipeg.


Videos

Photos