First off, I'm in Maryland for holidays, so who knows how much this will be updated until after the 27th. Not like I was tearing up the world with blogging, but still.
Despite the people of power saying reports of this ilk are untrue, many places are saying the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg is all but a done deal. Of course, until it's a done-deal, most of this is purely speculation and things could fall apart quickly.
Even so, the rejoice about Winnipeg goes without reality actually taking its toll, which I guess is something that is going to happen when you get someone you really want-- like a puppy for Christmas. To keep that puppy healthy, happy, and learned-- you're going to have to do many steps you never thought of before, but you don't care because you just got your puppy.
We all know Winnipeg didn't move because of attendance, it was due to the Canadian dollar being craptastic and the owners wanting to get out because they couldn't keep up. The biggest issue with this is not will the fans come, but will they keep coming if the team is bad and if the ownership doesn't want to put out the big bucks for players willing to play and stay in Winnipeg. And, as Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey pointed out-- Winnipeg has under 700k people in its metropolitan area and they will have probably the smallest building in the NHL, seating a smidgen over 15,000. While renovations could be made, the first year could be rough attendance wise, but the people will show up in droves for the first little while-- but depending on how they sell the team and ticket prices; the future could be a bit murkier.
Then it comes to competition-- the Thrashers were barely in the hunt in the Eastern Conference. When they move to the West-- there's going to be a lot of travel and lot more tougher teams to deal with. If the team isn't equipped enough or if the team can't deal with the travel-- will the fans show up for a losing squad. If they don't show up for a losing team, then we'll be right back in this situation for this franchise in another decade or so. Always good for a team to not know where they're going from contract to contract.
Finally-- the team won't be called the Jets, as I believe the Coyotes and NHL own that name. Plus, True North Sports and Entertainment didn't want that name and will probably use the Moose moniker, the same one as their AHL team. Oh, and that's another thing-- what's going to happen with the Manitoba Moose and their AHL team?? They'll probably have to lay dormant if they can't find a place to move, which kind of screws the Vancouver Canucks of an AHL team. However, no one gives an thought to that-- because it's not exciting, it's a downer-- like this post.
In the end, I feel bad for Atlanta hockey fans. Yes, they aren't as plentiful as Winnipeg fans, but they're feeling like crap right now and they have to see mostly EVERYONE celebrating their demise. It's not as drawn out as the Coyotes drama, I'm sure-- and probably would have happened sooner or later; but to have this happen to them without any notion it would go down this quick.....even worse.
In addition-- even if I loathe someone for their "journalistic" prowess, I'll give props to a good line, which is what Stupid Eric Francis put out on Twitter: "Atlanta, Georgia: supplying Western Canada with NHL hockey franchises since 1980." Good one, douchecanoe.