Gary Bettman's in for a crazy day
Is it just me, or has this postseason been particularly busy? In the midst of the on-ice excellence of the playoffs, four teams changed GMs (Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Florida) and four (Colorado, Minnesota, Calgary, Montreal) changed coaches. Two (Phoenix, Florida) are in the process of changing ownership. Kind of gives new meaning to the term multi-tasking.
At the league level, off-ice happenings must have Commissioner
Meanwhile, the commissioner's day also features Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final. The defending champion Detroit Red Wings are on the precipice of repeating and his presence is required for the ceremonial presentation of the silverware should it be necessary.
Talk about disparate definitions of the concept of "closeout."
As if that unfortunate scheduling snafu alone isn't enough to drive a commissioner to distraction, Mr. Bettman must also allocate some of his attention to the goings-on in Florida. There, the Panthers are reportedly part of a sale to a group that is interested in South Florida land development. The rumblings revolve around the area adjacent to the Panthers' BankAtlantic Center home in Sunrise, with the team as part of the transaction. Funny thing about teams tied to speculative land development: if the building prospects lag, interest in the NHL franchise often sags.
For recent examples, please refer to the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders and, yes, the Phoenix Coyotes.
Part of the reason the late
On Long Island, owner
In Phoenix, land developer
Scrambling, the Ellman-Moyes ownership group wooed the city of Glendale, which welcomed a new arena and mixed-use development project to go along with the new NFL stadium that was going up. It was a tidy arrangement for Ellman, even if all the viability research pointed in the other direction to Scottsdale, where a majority of the team's fans wouldn't have to drive an hour to see games. His company procured the construction rights and set to erecting the arena while also building condos and stringing up shops like a movie set. Finally, the Coyotes had a home of their own in December 2003, after seven-and-a-half years in Phoenix.
In April 2006, only five years after purchasing the team, Ellman assumed majority interest in the Westgate City Center development, with Moyes getting majority title to the Coyotes. Gretzky kept his stake in both, while remaining behind the bench to this day. Reportedly, Ellman and Moyes are now at odds, which is sticky since the arena that houses Moyes' team abuts construction development -- some completed and some planned -- that Ellman controls.
While Moyes is probably pining for a do-over, Commissioner Bettman is faced with a tumultuous Tuesday. He has that court hearing as well as a potential Cup-clinching game to attend, all while various and sundry scenarios of great import continue to unfold behind closed doors throughout the league.
And I didn't mention the name
At least the rest of us get to look forward to and enjoy the game -- or games -- that will conclude the Stanley Cup Final. That's a much better deal, I would say.