A recent Edmonton Journal column regarding a new downtown arena stirred up Oilers fans, Max Pacioretty heads to Switzerland, and Chris Phillips could find himself a local rec league to play in during the lockout.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: John MacKinnon’s recent column urging a resolution between the city of Edmonton and Oilers owner Daryl Katz regarding a new downtown arena was posted by the Oilers on Twitter threatening relocation, which didn’t sit well with those who caught it and re-tweeted it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:MacKinnon’s article contained the blurb that the NHL has informed city council if there’s no new arena deal before the Oilers lease at Rexall Place expires in June 2014, the Oilers would be a candidate for relocation. Derek Zona of “The Copper and Blue” was all over this over the weekend, and as you can imagine, he wasn’t impressed with the subtle threat of the Oilers being relocated if the city of Edmonton didn’t agree to more concessions to Oilers owner Darryl Katz.
I believe this is a hollow threat by Katz and the league. The Oilers aren’t the struggling team they were in the mid-1990s when they were seemingly only weeks away from being moved to Houston, Texas. Moving a team which was among the top money-makers in the league (over $17 million in 2010-11, according to Forbes.com) with a devoted fan base like the Oilers because the owner got greedy and tried to squeeze the city for more concessions on an arena deal would be a huge black eye for the NHL. As I’ve noted elsewhere, league commissioner Gary Bettman was lauded for his efforts last fall getting the two sides to agree to an arena deal, and since he’s obviously not doing very much regarding NHL CBA negotiations, perhaps it would be a good time for him to resolve this issue.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty is the sixth member of the club to head overseas during the lockout, signing with Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss A League.
OTTAWA SUN: Could Chris Phillips join a local beer league to keep fit during the lockout?