Once again we’re lucky enough to have some of the best correspondents in the business. From the same guys that brought you the REAL story behind Hudler’s exodus to Russia, a secret conversation between Sidney Crosby and Gary Bettman and the Red Wings selling their soul to the devil, we have some inside dirt on the Phoenix Coyotes sale and bankruptcy litigation. As always, our correspondents aren’t at liberty to divulge their sources—so don’t ask. Just enjoy the education. Here’s what went down in the desert earlier this week…
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Three and a half men walk into a bar: Jerry Reinsdorf, Jerry Moyes, Jim Balsillie… and another guy. A lot of people hissed at him when he walked in—I heard a couple of people call him Napoleon and another call him a fascist. But I prefer his actual name: Gary Bettman. Interestingly enough, even though he’s half the size of any of the other men, he was walking ahead of them like he owned the joint. Like I said, short man complex.
The oompa loompa turns around only expecting to see 2 men and asks, “What are you doing here Jim?”
Balsillie with a smug-ass billionaire smirk responds, “I’m a gugabillionaire Gary. I can go where I want. Do whatever I want. And buy whatever I want.”
The bar is about half-full and located in Glendale, AZ. The bar used to be packed, but people thought it was going to be built in Scottsdale, so it’s not as full as it once was. Regardless, not many of the patrons are playing attention to Bettman or Balsillie. Nor Moyes or Reinsdorf for that matter. There’s a television on, and everyone seems like they care more about the Suns game on TV than the 4 men that have been all over the NHL newswires recently. Hell, even Reinsdorf is watching to see if his Bulls can beat the Suns. Obviously, his priorities aren’t in the desert.
Really, there are only two tables in the entire place that notice what’s going on. One table has a guy and a couple of girls. In any other bar, they might be concentrating on their drinks or thinking about how hockey jerseys would look better on the walls. But on this night, they all have their iPhones and smart phones out (they damn well better not own blackberries), tweeting and blogging about the guys that just walked in. Odin is one of the biggest bloggers in the Phoenix Coyotes community. Heather is the head of Save The Coyotes and Amy Jo was recently named “Hendricks Hockey Girl of the Month.” Clearly, this is a high powered table with some serious public influencers.
It’s obvious from his mannerisms that Jerry Moyes is desperately trying to blend into the crowd—he’s doing anything he can to make sure he doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. He owes the waiter that’s swirling around the bar a ton of money and the waiter has started to get pissed. He has started demanding that he be paid, paid soon and paid in cash. His name is Dell. Just think, Moyes owes two other people even MORE money than he owes Dell… I imagine they are fairly pissed as well.
The 3.5 guys belly-up to the bar and continue their conversation. There are only 3 chairs at the bar, so Balsillie and his enormous ego are left without a place to sit. He reaches over to the table adjacent to the bar, peels off a few hundred dollar bills (Canadian, of course), and pulls the chair out from under a woman at the table. He pulls up his newly purchased chair with the original threesome. Apparently, this isn’t the first time Balsillie has bought his chair at the big boys table.
The bartender’s name is Redfield T. Baum, but everyone just calls him Red. Red asks them all what they want; Balsillie is the first to answer:
“Hey there Red, I’d like an NHL team!”
Bettman looks over at him with his death stare, mutters something along the lines of “over my dead body” and responds, “I don’t care. Just make sure this guy (points to Reinsdorf) gets what he wants and make sure THIS guy (points to Balsillie) doesn’t get anything. Besides that, I don’t care. And make sure that whatever anyone buys tonight—they drink it here. They can’t go anywhere with their drink—it has to be here in Arizona.”
Reinsdorf, completely uninterested responds, “Just give me a White Sox score and leave me alone. I don’t even want to be here—Gary drug me here.”
Moyes nervously looks around. He looks like he’s just done 2 lines of coke and he’s completely frantic and paranoid. “Look, I don’t care what you give me. I just want to get mine and leave. Leave now.” He’s still afraid of the circling waiter named Dell and the truck drivers that are at the other end of the bar. He probably owes the truckers money too.
The other table of interest is filled with Make-It-Seven fans. For once, they’re the life of the party tonight (they’ve been celebrating all night with shots of Canadian whiskey and Molson). This is interesting because they have gone from non-existent, to mobilized, to seemingly disbanded, to re-energized. They’re so emo. I don’t even know what that means—but I’m told that’s VERY bad. They think they’re friends with Balsillie and they’ve been celebrating all day that he gets to play with Moyes and Reinsdorf. The bartender wasn’t very nice to him last time—then the bar took a vote. The bar was unanimous that they liked Reinsdorf and his White Sox hat; likewise they were unanimous in voting that Balsillie should be forced out. He was let back into the bar tonight—and they’re the happiest people in the joint.
It’s interesting to look at the differences of these two tables—but their similarities as well. Neither of the tables particularly care for either Reinsdorf or Moyes. The power bloggers over at table #1 have a particular distaste for Jerry Moyes of late, but neither table really likes either. Both tables have an absolute HATRED of Gary Bettman—but then again, so does everyone else in the bar. The difference is their view on Mr. Blackberry: The Make It Seven crew have their hopes and dreams pinned to his success and the Phoenix blogging crew wishes he would go straight to hell without collecting $200.
It quickly becomes apparent that even though the 3.5 men think of themselves as very important, they know the guy that’s passing out the drinks in the bar is the guy with all the control. There are a bunch of rich guys (26 of them in 26 different cities, in fact) that tell him that Gary Bettman is right and should get what he wants. There are a bunch of Canadians that keep telling him that Jim Balsillie is the 2nd coming and his money provides all the answers. And everyone universally thinks that Jerry Moyes is a weasel. He’s now hiding in the corner.
But as it stands today, it looks like he favors the other Jerry. The disinterested one. The one that cares more about his Chicago sports than making a scene in his bar. The Phoenix bloggers are fine with his apathetic ways because he’ll keep something they love in the desert. Even if he doesn’t love the team like they do, they’ll still get to see their team play. And at the end of the day—it’s still THEIR team.
As usual, absolutely nothing gets accomplished with the meeting between the suits and the bartender. As always, they agree to meet again at a later date and argue over some more mundane details that really don’t matter. The bloggers take note: the rest of the hockey world has come to depend on Odin, Heather and Amy Jo tweeting and writing about the bartender moderating between Gary and his crew and Jim and his crew. They’ll be at the next meeting to keep all of up to date.
As they all leave the bar, Peter Mueller waved to them on the way out. Isn’t it interesting how all of these people who are involved with hockey are talking about everything EXCEPT hockey? Maybe they were just waiting for the suits to go away so everyone could get back to the game they love.
Don’t you just love that we are able to get such exclusive insight into a confusing situation?
Does it sound personal? Yeah—that’s because it is personal to the Coyotes fans. I’m not sure whether they’ll stay in Phoenix; I’m not even sure they SHOULD stay in Phoenix when this whole fiasco is done—but I know how I’d feel if I were a Coyote fan. Before you start saying that they should be moved, just think about how you’d feel if the rest of the continent was saying that YOU didn’t deserve YOUR team. Unless you’ve sold out every game for the last 50 years, then there always could be more fan support.
Yes, even Toronto and Montreal have room for improvement.
If you want to follow the latest news on the sale of the Coyotes, you can follow along with Odin, Heather and Amy Jo. Yes, that table full of bloggers was full of real people.
You can check out Odin’s reports at Five For Howling, Heather’s reports at Save the Coyotes and Amy Jo’s perspective at Yotes Sign Gurl. You’ll find anything that you could possibly want about hockey in the desert (and probably much, much more!)
parody: In art, music, or literature, a satire that mimics the style of its object.