Dear Atlanta Hockey Fans.
I know you exist because there's one who is a regular around here and who writes stuff almost every Tuesday. Or Wednesday. When the students she's teaching aren't horrible monsters to her. Regardless, she is not a figment of my imagination. Yet there does not exist any longer an Atlanta NHL team. They were for sale and it was rumored they could move and then they were gone. And somehow there is still an NHL team in Phoenix owned by the NHL. I don't get it.
You would think that the league would want to actually sell a team owned by 29 owners. You know, cost of doing business, meddling in team affairs, not making money off a relocation fee. Look at the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA. They knew All-Star guard Chris Paul will not re-sign with the team when he becomes a free agent. So the general manager who operates at the pleasure of the NBA swung a decent trade to send Paul to the Lakers. And a bunch of owners complained the league was building up a major franchise at the expense of the other owners of the Hornets. So NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade. How have the Coyotes dodged this bullet?
The guy rumored to be finalizing a sale any minute (Dave Checketts just set a new deadline of 24 seconds ago) was in on buying the Coyotes. And the process was so onerous, the politics so sticky in Glendale, the Phoenix suburb, that he backed out.
There is only one reason you fine people of Atlanta who don't like buying tickets to Braves playoff games unless you think they're going to the World Series don't have a hockey team and Phoenix does (for now): Gary Bettman's ego. He swooped into the desert and proclaimed the league would save the franchise for the market. Phoenix was a key in his Sun Belt expansion. He had big money from Manitoba ready to buy and he had to pick a team to sell to them. And he chose yours and not the one the league owns. Because his ego couldn't admit defeat.
And when the Coyotes move to Kansas City or southern Ontario or Mexico City (the Montezuma's Revenges?), go ahead and burn Bettman in effigy again.
Oh, Brian Elliott gets the start in net. And before they close up shop and move out of town, the Coyotes are honoring Keith "Big, BIG Walt" Tkachuk before the game. Hopefully with a buffet.
This is your game day thread. Comment like each joke is a Merry Christmas for everyone.