May 12, 2011
It's been a confusing day in Atlanta Thrashers land, with a player squawking about moving preparation and an erroneous rumor about a press conference in Winnipeg on Friday. Many were left wondering: Where's the NHL in all of this?
Daly said he "can't guarantee" that the Thrashers will be in Atlanta next season, and deferred to Atlanta owner Bruce Levenson on several questions about negotiations with potential Winnipeg owner True North.
Q: You and commissioner Gary Bettman both made frequent trips to Phoenix to speak publicly about the Coyotes staying there, but there has been no similar efforts in Atlanta. Why not?
A: "The situations are very different from a host of perspectives, not the least of which are the bankruptcy issues we had [in Phoenix], the fight in bankruptcy court and the league having to purchase the club. There were a unique set of circumstances that required the league's presence in Glendale. The bottom line is, we owned that club."
Q: I understand that. But does that preclude you or Gary from coming to Atlanta to show support for the franchise and help the process?
A: "No, of course not. If there was some reasonable sense that a public appeal would move the process along, then something would be done. But we're not at that point."
Meanwhile, Gary Bettman addressed the Thrashers situation on his XM Radio show this afternoon.
"With respect to any other franchise, it comes down to ownership. It's the reason we wound up leaving Quebec City and Winnipeg. Those teams moved when nobody wanted to own a club there anymore. If you get to that position, where somebody's not prepared to own the club there anymore and you can't find a new prospective purchaser, then you're really between a rock and a hard place.
"Why did we buy Phoenix? It was an unusual circumstance; again, we were involved in litigation, the team was in bankruptcy, and the important principles of the League having the right to determine who owns the franchise and where they're located needed to be vindicated in court as they were, as the two most important rights that any sports league has.
"So in the final analysis, we know that the current ownership of the Thrashers has been trying for a long period of time to try and sell the franchise, and they haven't been able to do it. OK, so now Tuesday night the Glendale City Council, despite everybody's speculation that the team was moving, says we want to keep the team here, we vote the amount of money needed to keep them here for a year and it's done, and then immediately everybody turns their attention in the media to something else -- 'Well, therefore another club has to be moving.'"
Yep, total media creation this Atlanta ownership situation. Even back in Nov. 2010. Uh-huh.
Meanwhile, someone's having fun on Wikipedia.