The Morning Skate: 2009 N.H.L. Year in Review
By Stu Hackel
The days of 2008 have dwindled down to a precious few and it’s supposed to be the time of year to look back. Everyone is doing it. But it’s sorta counterintuitive to reflect on hockey now, with the season not even half over. What’s the point of bisecting the hockey calendar when it doesn’t jibe with the Gregorian calendar? And really, what fun is it to regurgitate what happened in the last 12 months anyway? It’s more challenging to regurgitate what will happen in the next 12 months. So at today’s Morning Skate, let’s look back on the year that is about to begin. This is what happened in hockey in the year 2009.
January - Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie is rumored to be buying the Phoenix Coyotes to move them to Southern Ontario, but since the ‘Yotes can’t get out of their lease, the deal never materializes.
February - The Globe and Mail reports that Jim Balisillie is very close to buying the Florida Panthers to move them to Southern Ontario, but when he finds out he also must buy the BankAtlantic Center, the deal never materializes.
March - TSN reports that Jim Balsillie is buying the Anaheim Ducks and will move them to Southern Ontario, but Balsillie backs out of the deal when he can’t get a commitment from either Scott Niedermayer or Teemu Selanne to play the following season.
April - The Fan 590 in Toronto reports that Jim Balsillie will buy the Hurricanes and move them to Southern Ontario. They then report that the deal fell through when Balsillie learned of a secret agreement that mandates the team return to Hartford if it ever leaves Raleigh.
May - The Toronto Star reports that Jim Balsillie was negotiating to buy the Atlanta Thrashers to move them to Southern Ontario, but after he looked at the Thrashers’ roster, he decided against it.
June - On “Leafs Lunch? over AM640, Jim Balsillie announces that he is considering buying the entire American Hockey League and moving all the teams to Southern Ontario.
July - Abandoning his quest for an N.H.L team and the entire A.H.L., Jim Balisillie buys the K.H.L.’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk, which is bankrupt and whose players were not paid at all last season. Balsillie moves them to Hamilton, renames them Metallurg Hamilton and gets Alex Ovechkin to jump his contract for $20 million a season to join him. “It’s not about the money. I love the N.H.L. and I love Washington and I love America,? OV says, “But look how well I played after I visited my family last fall. Imagine how well I’ll do if I play half a season there. Besides, I must find new horizons and new boards to body slam.?
August - The K.H.L. goes out of business and Jim Balsillie applies to the N.H.L. to admit the Hamilton Steelers as an expansion franchise. But the owners are still lost in Dubai and cannot rule on the matter. Rumors abound that Balsillie will be granted an N.H.L. franchise in Yemen.
September - Abandoning the Hamilton Steelers, Jim Balsillie tries to buy the Washington Capitals from Ted Leonsis. Leonsis demands that Balsillie first release Alex Ovechkin to return to the Caps, which he does. Leonsis then loses Balsillie’s phone number.
October - Jim Balsillie is rumored to be buying the Islanders to move them to Southern Ontario. He won’t buy the team unless Avery returns to active playing status, however, and Bettman refuses, saying Avery has been dispatched to the Middle East for United Nations-brokered peace talks.
November - Under Barry Trotz, the Sabres lead the Eastern Conference until rumors circulate that Jim Balsillie has again made a bid to buy the club from Tom Golisano and the Sabres will split their home schedule between Buffalo, Hamilton, Barrie and Guelph, putting the Sabres on an inexplicable tailspin. When Balsillie denies that he’s buying the Sabres but is in fact interested in buying the Colorado Avalanche and moving them to Southern Ontario, the Sabres win five in a row.
December - Jim Balsillie partners with Marcel Aubut to revive the Quebec Nordiques. The plan falls apart when Balsillie wants to move the team to Southern Ontario until the new Colisee is built in Quebec.
The above excerpted from http:// slapshot.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/the-morning-skate-2009-nhl-year-in-review/ (note: much more information on the 2009 season in this article for you to enjoy!! )