NHL Finally Realizing Coyotes Belong In Canada?

The NHL is not having the best of offseasons. Patrick Kane’s developed a bit of a cabbie-punching problem, their already-unwatched games are about to get a lot more unwatchable for millions of DirecTV subscribers, and the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes are still languishing on the open market like a foreclosed-upon Inland Empire stucco tri-level. To recap - bad hockey and bad ownership led to bankruptcy for the Coyotes. Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie wants to buy the team and move it to Ontario (a place where people actually like hockey), but the NHL wants to save face and keep the team in Arizona. Impasse!

Jobing.com Arena Phoenix Coyotes

The strange thing about this is that the city of Glendale, the home of the Yotes, seems completely uninterested in hanging onto their team, and Balsillie is the only legitimate buyer (or at least, the only one not an obvious front for NHL interests). A couple weeks ago, Adam Jacobi wrote in these very pages that the NHL should just give into Balsillie for the good of the league. Now, the NHL is begrudgingly admitting that Adam just might’ve been right all along. That, friends, is the SbB way.

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Manny Being Booed By Bonds-Loving Giants Fans

• Suspected steroid abuser Manny Ramirez gets a rude reception from San Francisco Giants fans - the same Giants fans who were so passionate in supporting suspected steroid abuser Barry Bonds.

Manny Ramirez Giants fan sign

• 49ers coach Mike Singletary makes a mountain out of a molehill, forcing QB Alex Smith to watch the rest of practice from high above.

Bobby Bowden would like to share his prostate problems with you.

• EA sports donates advanced copies of Madden 10 to a U.S. submarine crew who are shipping out before the game’s official release date.

• Would it really kill the NHL to let Jim Balsillie move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario?

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Just Move The Coyotes Out Of Phoenix, Already!

The ongoing Phoenix Coyotes custody soap opera, with Gary Bettman & the NHL in one corner and Jim Balsillie & Hamilton, Ontario, in the other, has reached untold levels of absurdity at this point. It’s a sure signal to any sane observer that the NHL’s efforts to keep a hockey team in the hottest metropolis in the nation are destructive to the team and the league as a whole.

Jobing.com Arena Phoenix Coyotes
(We can’t let this dream die, guys! This is magical!)

The latest development is that Balsillie, after having the NHL effectively price him out of negotiations with new and inventive fees to levy - to the point that they claimed they’d need $100 million just for the hassle of relocation - is now asking for more depositions from league officials to figure out, basically, what the hell they’re talking about.

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Speed Read: If They Say It’s Not About the Money

SPORTSbyBROOKS, in conjunction with Disney on Broadway and Rosie O’Donnell, is proud to present the upcoming smash Internet musical that will leave your toes a-tappin’ and your wallet a-empty: How to Succeed at Sports Business Without Really Trying!

How to Succeed in Sports Business Without Really Trying

Nathan Lane plays Sam Zell, a real estate magnate who overleverages himself in order to buy a major company in a rapidly shrinking industry just before the lending bubble bursts. It’s zany fun (except for the hundreds laid off, but they’re offstage anyway).

Desperate to make debt payments, he tries to sell the only profitable part of the company: a sports team known for being both lovable and not-winners. Still, he can’t find anyone willing to put up with his byzantine conditions in time to avoid bankruptcy.

However, to please the bankruptcy judge and try to salvage some of his own wealth, he presses on (as captured in the frenetic number, “Doesn’t Anyone Want to Get My Goat?”) and finds a family willing to buy the team off him.

Sam Zell's Goat

When negotiations don’t progress as hoped because he’s not getting his way and the family has to turn to regional celebrities to pony up cash, Zell tries to gin up a bidding war by hinting that he might be speaking to one of the previously-rejected suitors.

Will the family bow to the planted story and give the charismatic dwarf what he demands? Will his bluff be called and leave him singing “The Blue-Pinstriped Bankrupt Overtaxed Blues”?

And that’s just Act One, kids! Just wait till you see what’s in Act Two!

As the curtain rises on the second act, a strikingly successful bald man with an accent from the Queen’s lands (Patrick Stewart in a rare singing role) tries to make off in the night with a bag jammed full of hockey players from Phoenix (The Jonas Brothers). Caught at the U.S./Canada border, he tries to plead his case to the judge, who laughs him off and tells him to get back in line.

Having been cast a hand so weak that he could call it “The Stranger”, Jim Balsillie (the aforementioned smooth-headed rascal) organizes Make It Seven Day for today (June 19th) to encourage the creation or move of an NHL team to Canada to raise the number of Canadian NHL teams to seven.

Jim Balsillie does seven the hard way

(Jim Balsillie performing “Make It Seven the Really Hard Way”)

He bounces around the stage, Robert Preston-style, to sing to people that “Make It Seven Day is all about providing a voice to Canadian hockey fans, while raising money for minor hockey teams across the country.” (It all sounds better when it’s set to Elton John’s “Greater Toronto Area Freedom”.)

The Canadian chorus, recognizing a true Canadian hero in their midst, throw him onto their shoulders while he waves the Maple Leaf triumphantly and leads a round of “O Canada (Deserves a Seventh Team)” before someone in the crowd (Robin Thicke) realizes Balsillie is using nationalism (and corporate sponsors) to give himself a plaything and cast himself as a hero as well as a billionaire.

Also, the kid in the crowd realizes that the rich bald guy still hasn’t brought them a team, either, for all his bluster.

The crowd escorts Balsillie to the edge of the stage and tosses him back to America, warning him not to come back without a team this time. End of Act Two.

Oh, but Act Three… it’s the most expensive act in Internet musical history as it involves tearing Formula One asunder by chasing all the wealthiest teams (including Ferrari and McLaren) into forming their own league because Formula One dared suggested they not outspend all the other teams so badly anymore.

Well, the rich teams responded in eight-team harmony, if you won’t let us spend ridiculously in Formula One, we’ll build our own playpen so we can try to outspend each other with absurd amounts of cash.

Needless to say, this act’s a blatant theft of the American version of this musical, starring Jesse L. Martin as Tony George. It ends like the American version, too: both sides drain all the interest out of open-wheel racing, the money dries up, and Danica Patrick is cast as the savior. (Hey, if NASCAR can do it…)

Danica Patrick photo SI

(As always, it’s a race to the bottom with Danica)

On the other hand, you should see Formula One boss Max Mosley’s Naziriffic spanktastic encore for this show (and Formula One’s final bow):

Look out; here comes the bullet points! (But not before you consider a new iPhone for all the NSFW foreplay possibilities):

  • As the old joke goes, Jeremy Roenick donned his sparkly collar and surely proved that he has a career waiting for him on the stage, as seen during last night’s NHL Awards. In fact, if he hurries, there’s a stage leaving town in 15 minutes.

  • The Detroit Tigers have benched Magglio Ordoñez “indefinitely” due to his mediocre performance at the plate and definitely not because management has told Jim Leyland to sit on The Big Tilde to avoid triggering a clause in his contract to pay him $18 million in 2010. However, if Ordoñez would like to catch up on his DVR watching during the game, that would be totally cool with the Tigers.
  • If you’re a big fan of your favorite team, you won’t just stop at collecting cards or jerseys. You’ll also buy the unauthorized porn video (whose screen captures are probably just a bit NSFW). C’mon; if you’re in for an inch, you’re… probably doing it wrong, actually.
  • Let’s see… an AL pitcher is hurt on the basepaths in interleague games for the second year in a row. You know what that means: OMG PANDEMIC RUN FOR THE HILLS (unless you’re an AL pitcher; they get designated runners).
  • A few members of Iran’s soccer team donned green quietly to support the growing support for those demonstrating back in Iran while the players participate in the Confederations Cup in South Africa. They could be in a bit of trouble when they return home.

Iran soccer team

Who would you least like to handle your finances?

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Speed Read: Donte’ Stallworth Reaches DUI Deal

Sometimes, all you can ask for is closure. Not revenge or punishment or the eye for the proverbial eye; just enough to begin the healing process.

Donte Stallworth

And so, according to the MIAMI HERALD, the family of Mario Reyes, the man Donte’ Stallworth stands accused of killing in a March DUI accident, have been described by prosecutors as “the primary force” in a plea deal that is expected to be accepted today. And rather than spending years and years in prison, Stallworth may only have a short jail stay:

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian on the MacArthur Causeway in March, The Miami Herald has learned.

Stallworth’s attorney, Christopher Lyons, confirmed that the case was expected to be resolved Tuesday in court. Lyons declined to detail terms of the plea, which are not yet public.

While this is good news for Stallworth and his family, it doesn’t mean his NFL career is back in play; even after the jail stay imposed by the judge, Stallworth will still have to be reinstated by the notoriously unsympathetic Roger Goodell.  This will be a remarkably tough decision for the commissioner; no matter what length of suspension he decides on, it’s still going to be met by (not entirely unreasonable) protests of “Oh, so that’s how many games a human life is worth?”

But all the same, the person who’s really going to be haunted by the specter of death here is Stallworth, not Goodell. That he, even accidentally, killed a fellow man is a fact that will saddle him long after he’s gone from the league.

*UPDATE*: Stallworth gets sentenced to 30 days in jail & two years of house arrest.

Okay, we need a fun story after all that. So, as we warned you earlier, Joe Buck’s talk show career just started last night. And, judging by what AWFUL ANNOUNCING found, it may have ended last night too.

Joe Buck

The milquetoast play-by-play announcer for FOX had put together a decent, meh-but-not-terrible first episode, with appearances by Brett Favre (more on him later), Michael Irvin, Chad Ochocinco, and other famous members of the sports world. And then to close it out, he had on longtime friend Paul Rudd, a practically non-existent Jason Sudeikis, and, inexplicably, Artie Lange.

The audio is ludicrously NSFW, but if you’ve got earphones and/or a door to your office, you’ll want to check out Lange single-handedly derailing the show:

And then yes, Favre. Favre Favre Favre. He was the first guest on the show, and allowed make unironic claims like he’s not looking for attention. While he’s on, y’know, a nationally televised talk show. And to his credit, the fact that this is his first public appearance while ESPN has hammered coverage of his dalliance with Vikings management into viewers’ brains (we think Ed Werder’s been tasked with rifling through the trash down at Favre’s ranch in Mississippi) should be noted. That said, this happens every damn year, and it’s so tiresome. Here we are in June, with training camps underway. Teams want to have their summer rosters in place. So is Favre going to play this year? “Maybe.”

Brett Favre Vikings
(Here we go again.)

Also, the fact that Favre’s first public comments aren’t to ESPN should be noted as well. So rather than think of Favre as a caricature of an attention whore or drama queen or whatever, perhaps it’s best to - yes, we know this is neither fun nor easy - recognize the shades of gray and think that while he knows how easy it is to attract attention after spending two decades in the spotlight,  part of him actually is a country-bred bumpkin from Mississippi who would play football forever if he could.

But then again, we don’t know where the annual retirement charade fits into either side. And how many years in a row is this? Eight? C’mon, man.

Here are more stories to consider as you mourn Shawn Johnson’s euthanization

  • Look, this is clearly not the appropriate forum to discuss the ongoing turmoil in Iran. We’re not nearly qualified enough to comment on it, and that’s not what you’re here to read anyway. That said, if you’re wanting to find out more about watching the seeds of revolution occur in real-time, Andrew Sullivan’s blog is a good place to start. So why even bring it up? Only for the most epic picture in tOSU history, via 11W (click here for higher res, pops):

Tehran Buckeye
(Your move, Michigan.)

What else is Joe Morgan lying about?

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NHL Getting Its “Dr. Evil” On In Bankruptcy Court

Hockey in Phoenix has failed. It has failed so spectacularly that sports historians will speak of the experiment for decades to come as one of the worst franchising decisions of all time. The Coyotes aren’t the only NHL team in bad financial shape, but they’re the only team in bankruptcy court. Either they get bought out before next season or they contract. It’s that simple.

Dr Evil
(This man approves of your tactics, NHL.)

Fortunately,  the co-CEO of the creators of Blackberry, Jim Balsillie, has stepped forward to help save the franchise. The Canadian billionaire has put forward a $212 million proposal to buy out the franchise, which you’d think the NHL would jump at. But then you realize Gary Bettman still runs the league and you just sit and wait for the monumental stupidity to wash your optimism away.

And here it comes. Balsillie wants to move the team to hockey-hungry Hamilton, Canada. Bettman and the NHL, unwilling to go along with the move, are expected to charge a relocation fee of $100 millionRead more…

The NHL Circus to Create New Legacy in Toronto?

Thanks to FANIQ, we now know about yet another attempt to bring yet another NHL team to the greater Toronto area.  The Toronto Legacy would be an expansion franchise that would bring mixed-use building joy to Toronto (including a huge arena), donate 25% of its profits to charity, and price tickets cheaply for the common Canadian man.

Toronto Legacy

However, the creators of the Legacy have zero backing from the NHL.  In fact, you can probably hear Gary Bettman rolling his eyes from your current seat.  It’s just one more headache in the southern Ontario region for the NHL, from trying to keep the Atlanta Thrashers from moving north to preventing a bankruptcy judge from encouraging a move for the Coyotes to Canada.

However, an immodest proposal: Gary Bettman should grasp onto these crazy Canadians and their kooky idea (The Legacy? Really?) because they might be his best last hope to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix.

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