With all the speculation that has come out about what's going to happen with teams like the Maple Leafs, Sabres, and now the impending sale of the Coyotes and recently the Atlanta Thrashers looking for investors-- the Board of Governors' meeting this week is bound with questions when it comes to ownership. Sadly, the man who seems to be left out in the cold is Jim Balsillie, who may or may not be sneaking around these meetings.
We see the outside of the resort that the meetings are being held, Gary Bettman steps out after a session and takes in the humid air.
Gary Bettman: Ahh...another day, another defused situation when it comes to ownership. And what a view, no one around except us board members. (Turns to see a man sneaking around the corner) Is that.....no.....wait-- Jim?!? JIM?!?
Jim Balsillie (disgused as a caddy): I'm sorry, but I don't know you're talking about. I'm Bim Jalsillie.....a local caddy.
JB: Bim....it's Bim...always has been.
JB: FINE-- look, there's teams for sale and I don't know why I'm getting shut out. I'm primed to bring a new vision to any team that needs it.
GB: What's that vision-- beavers and maple syrup??
JB: You kinky bastard!! But yes, we need to get into these place like Winnipeg and Quebec.....or even Hamilton, especially after Rogers buys them. They love my Blackberry and probably wouldn't want to have their costumers disrupted during their everyday life.....
GB: Keep dreaming, Jim. Everything is fine with us-- Phoenix has that Matt Hulsizer, who loves the idea of losing money-- thus, my new best friend. We've got people wanting into Buffalo, and maybe some Atlanta people would get there.
JB: Why am I shut out?? Why are these guys getting the welcome and I'm getting the cold shoulder?? Sure, I started to sell tickets to a team that I didn't own and a building I didn't have rights to; but can't we let bygones be bygones??
GB: I think the example there was the reason we won't let you in. It's an elite group with people like Hulsizer who will play the game. We've got guys like Terry Pegula who will drop all kinds of dough on a Division I hockey team and still have some change to buy the Sabres and actually keep them there. It's not so much that we don't want you in the fraternity, it's that we don't want you to steal from others in the fraternity.
JB: Aren't you all in the business of making money?? I can do that-- and yes, it could require a move, but if I make money, the league makes money, the teams can get some money, the players get money.....everyone wins, I think. Even if I keep the team there, don't you think I'll build up the team up to get people into the building so I don't lose my invested money?? I won't "Major League" it and tank just to move-- I want to win and if people don't come out for a winning team, I'd take them to a place where they will make money and win.
GB: We like money....but we also like people who play the company line. We want to like you Jim, but the rebel thing.....I don't know. It's too new and we're scared. Why do you think we keep harping on the same rivalries like the Caps and Pens, plus keeping the Red Wings winning thanks to the wheel on their jersey spinning and hypnotizing the other team so they can win.
JB: Wait, what??
JB: You said.....
GB: Anyway-- look, we want your money, but don't want you to revolutionize the way owners run their teams. We're kind of scared you're going to do something that's going to rock the boat and make your team love you, but the rest of the league hate you. You see-- fans will see what you're doing and want their owner to do the same....and just rock the boat. We like the way we do it now and we don't like change-- it scares us.
JB: So, what you're saying is that while there's plenty of teams for the taking and I have the money to do it....
GB: We don't want you to buy them because you could do something to make people like you and thus ruining the rest of us.
JB: I don't know if that's the best way to run a business.
GB: Well, just look at me.
JB: Fair enough. Well, I was going to meet with Tom Golisano about the Sabres, but I guess I'll just be out of here. You think you could go to my clubs by the corner over there, it was for my get-up. I'll go tell Tommy it's not happening.
GB: I'm glad you could come to your senses, Jim-- and it's not that you're a bad guy, but (struggles to lift the bag) but, you're (still struggling), what the hell is....
Judge Redfield T. Baum: T-BOMBED!!!!
GB: AHHHHHH!!! (drops bag, runs into wall)
JB: I don't know how you fit in there. Get the car, I'm going to talk to Atlanta.