Been away for a few days at a family wedding so it's time to catch up on the headlines...
The Reinsdorf-Kaites-Tavares Bid is in and among other things it details the assumption of 170 contracts of player and hockey management (as well as sponsorships and suite holders) but not Wayne Gretzky. Given that the bankruptcy bid does not give Gretzky a dime of the money he is owed, it's not like they are trying to make nice with hockey's living legend. Discussion boards and forums like this will be rife with "who will coach the Coyotes" posts shortly. It's sad to see Wayne go under such uncomfortable circumstances but he's not been a success as a coach or marketing ambassador for the franchise. You just think that legends who happen to be nice people deserve better.
It also looks like the management side of the organization will be completely gutted. Our great friend Doug Moss, CFO Mike Nealy and Arena Manager Jim Foss all have contracts that will not be assumed by the new owners. Broadcasters Dave Strader, Bob Heethuis and Tyson Nash are also on the "no thanks" list although new contracts could be arranged with some or all. And keep in mind that several executives who do not have contracts were probably working the old fashioned way; on handshakes. There are going to be a lot of employment at will conversations going on in Glendale if the R-K-T bid is accepted.
There are some good people losing out here. Doug Moss is a great guy and experienced leader, Strader is the best television announcer in the game and Heethuis is an excellent and under appreciated radio announcer.
That, my friends, is the dark side of bankruptcy.
Much of this speaks to the Glendale report that says the organization could be streamlined and run at a significantly lower cost. We agree. Our friends at the Suns have told us that even before the NBA team and the US Airways Arena started contracting their organization, they were still staffed leaner than the Coyotes/Jobing.com Arena group. This was an accident waiting to happen. Now the Reinsdorf-Kaites-Tavaers group can come in, start with a fresh slate and put toggether a lean, effective organization.
On the other hand. The potential bid from Ice Edge raises a bunch of questions. To quote Brahm Resnick, it is "very edgy" to say the least. Two big ahas; they want to give Gretzky a contract to coach and be a franchise ambassador. with a lucrative playoff bonus and play at least 5 home games in a Canadian city. Oh, and right now it's a letter of intent, not a real bid. That supposedly is coming in the next few days.
The Ice Edge group includes Coyotes minority owner John Breslow among its investors. One of the key figures is Anthony LeBlanc, a former Research in Motion executive.
This bid is good news in many ways for the NHL. It is a weaker presentation that dimensionalizes the R-K-T bid as much better for Glendale. It answers the question of what happened to the John Breslow group that was bidding on the team. And it creates at least the impression of competition that the judge was hoping to encourage.
It is also dead on arrival. Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA is likely to approve of a split city concept. Saskatoon, one of the cities mentioned as a possible occasional home for the Yotes, was laughed away by the NHL when St. Louis tried to move there 20 years ago. It hasn't exactly boomed since then.
The Ice Edge group is meeting with the NHL executive board on Wednesday. It could be the beginning or the end of the bid process for that group.
Derek Morris to Boston...The Bruins needed a puck moving defenseman in the worst way. In Morris, they get a player who last year was a puck moving defenseman in the worst way. Terrible enough in Phoenix that Don Maloney opted instead to go with Adrian Aucoin as his right handed defensive signing rather than bringing Morris back. A little better in New York but still relegated to third pair status during the playoffs. We're happy for Derek who by all accounts is a good guy but this seems like an ill advised move for the Bruins. It's a one year contract which means Morris steps right back into a contract year.
And finally a couple of new contracts -- Dan Winnik gets $600K in arbitration with the Yotes and Enver Lisin signs a one year deal with the New York Rangers for $790,000.
More to come later today...