The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Friday, August 07, 2009

We were played.

So even as I'm sitting there, still stewing and wondering how I'm going to replace the remote control I'd thrown at the TV after watching Gary Bettman's press conference, it appears that there were some nefarious acts going on in the Great White North that would lead to me nearly punching out a newspaper box outside a Waffle House a few years later.

In all the lovely stuff that's been happening with the Phoenix Coyotes, a little piece of information has come out that the sale of the Nashville Predators back in 2007 was started - not because Craig Leipold was getting tired of owning them, nor was it because he wanted to own the Wild instead - but because Richard "Just Chill" Rodier was trying to undermine the continued existence of the team by some very underhanded means.

Rodier, apparently a good two years prior to asking Leipold about purchasing the team, inquired about the lease terms between the team and the city of Nashville - by contacting the city's Director of Finance. In early March, there started to be a bunch of articles in the TG&M about the "financial difficulties" of the Predators. Part of the articles related that the terms of the lease agreement might not be met because of the lockout.

Guess what happened two months later? Yep, Metro Nashville asked the Preds for their financials, because there was all this "media frenzy" about it. And, apparently Rodier was arguing that the only physical assets of the team were hockey pucks.

(pause here for meaningful eye rolling)

This began two years of bickering and arguing between MDC and the Predators about their lease. And it made the situation that eventually led to the Predators' sale to David Freeman and company that much more difficult.

Guess what - that's only the TIP OF THE ICEBERG. Leipold also mentions that Balsillie and Rodier were negotiating to purchase the team while all along planning on moving the team to Hamilton. (Which, of course, Predator fans already knew after went live.) In fact, it was the very first Terms of Sale Sheet that Ballsy gave CL. CL rejected it, but Ballsy basically presumed from that point until the team was sold to Freeman that the team was his to do whatever he (blankety-blank) well wished.

And then there was Rodier's attempt at trying to sic the Canadian Competition Bureau on CL and the NHL. Guess what, Canadian taxpayers? For the next 10 months, your federal government spent your money to determine that Ballsy and Rodent were acting stupid.

I'm not happy as to how CL ended up dumping the Preds and then scrambling to purchase the Wild instead. That hurt a lot. But as it turns out, he wasn't the bad guy in all this.

I have claimed over on the Predators message boards that the whole story of Balsillie's attempts at getting into the NHL should be published, like either Lords of the Realm or Barbarians at the Gate. Unfortunately, such a book would probably not be able to make print until sometime in like 2014, because you know Rodier would sue the publisher.

Too bad, because Dirty Ice: How Jim Balsillie Tried To Break Into The NHL would be a VERY interesting read.