I try to impart some wisdom into this blog. You see, when you live in Kansas City, it is very hard to find anyone who knows anything about the history of the NHL. Hell, even our own sports blatherers say things like “The NHL failed here once. Why would we get another one?” When, actually, the failure of the Scouts was as much the fault of the NHL as it was the local fan base.* (by the way, the NBA failed here, too, but no one ever brings that up when the discussion is an NBA team coming to KC).
In the 1970s, Cleveland had an NHL franchise. The crest on the front of their sweater was among the greatest in hockey history (and Sabres GM Darcy Regier played for them). However, the financial troubles in the mid-70s NHL* and a bad lease deal at the old Richfield Coliseum, did in the Barons.
Why do I say the Coyotes could go the way of the Barons instead of moving to KC? Well, it seems the NHL may just blow the whole thing up. You see, the NHL propped up the Barons, too. But, when it was a lost cause the Barons merged with the North Stars.
Why would they do this? Well, the 29 other owners are probably tired of footing the bill for the Coyotes (especially since Dave Tippet is a genius and beats them on the ice and that menace Raffi Torres puts their investments on the DL). Plus, if they disband the Coyotes, they could charge Pierre-Karl Paladeau or some Microsoft guy a $300M expansion fee for Quebec City or Seattle and recoup some of the $$ they’ve spent on the ‘yotes.
What I don’t agree with in PuckDaddy’s article is the comparison of Paladeau to Jim Balsillie. P-K P has operated mostly behind the scenes. All he has really ever said is that if Quebec City builds an arena, he’s got a ton of loonies to throw around. Balsillie was taking orders for season tickets when he should have been trying to find a way for his Blackberry’s to get Web access or touch screens (I can’t stand the Blackberry work gave me).
Personally, I really hope Greg Jamison gets the team. He’s proven to be a very good hockey guy.
Anyway…whatever PucKChaser guy…what does this have to do with Kansas City? I think it shows that Kansas City as an option for a professional sports franchise, either NHL or NBA, is fading to nearly nothing. Kansas City is hardly ever mentioned anymore because, well, I think that ship has sailed.
Those with the wherewithal in KC are more interested in spending their money on sports teams that don’t require player contracts (or even money so the kids can buy their girl a pizza on a Friday night).
*for those of you who don’t know, the NHL was rolling along pretty good there from 1968 to 1972. The league had expanded and player salaries were ridiculously low. So, a couple “promoters” created a rival league — the WHA. They threw a sh**load of money at some of players. The NHL had to scramble and raise salaries to keep players from jumping leagues. I was heartbroken when Rick Dudley left the Sabres for the Cincinnati Stingers. During this era of two top-flight hockey leagues (’72-’77), the NHL did that asinine thing and expanded again — one franchise survived the other moved–TWICE. The owners took the expansion fees, but weren’t willing to give up players to whom they had just given raises. So, when the Capitals and Scouts entered the league, there basically was no expansion draft. Both franchises just got the dregs off other teams. The depth of the draft suffered as well because, for the first time ever, hockey players had options with the WHA and NHL. This is one of the reasons why the Scouts sucked so bad. Who knows what would have happened with the Capitals and Scouts if the NHL had the type of expansion draft that saw players like Ray Ferraro and Guy Hebert play for expansion teams. The Scouts never really had a chance (in KC or Denver).
Of course, no one ever brings these things up when the Scouts are discussed because, well, when it comes to hockey our local sports blatherers want to focus on the negative.