Dying franchises. Franchises on artificial respiration. “False” markets. Markets that could be the “Lourdes” for any of them, if the NHL bothered to revisit the protocols at Head Office, the way it did for head trauma. Dark, quiet room. No distractions. Come on, guys, you can do this. Sit very still, and let the healing (if uncomfortably icy) waters of the game’s cradle pour over you. No? Obvious economic answers not doing it for you?
Begs the question: Where do teams belong? Not just financially speaking but, rather, esthetically?
I don’t think the good people of Winnipeg would really care, one way or the other. They just want a hockey team to fill up the nights when they aren’t curling. But, in the interest of all being right with the universe, it’s the Coyotes that belong there. Who doesn’t like a good “you can go home, again” story? Here’s an idea: Move the Atlanta Thrashers to Phoenix. Then let the Coyotes go back to where they rightfully belong. What does it matter to the NHL which team they’re traipsing around in Arizona like it was the corpse in “Weekend At Bernie’s,” as long as they’ve got a body to prop up?
For the folks in Atlanta, well, if you can ever get your hockey act together again, you can always take back the Flames. We can move the Blue Jackets to Alberta. After this last (and pretty much every other) federal election, blue is an entirely appropriate colour for a team in Calgary. Columbus can pick up the Florida Panthers, when the time comes. Got a name picked out and everything: “Ohio State Puckeyes.” No? How about “Ohio Players?” Google that, if you’re under 40.
I’ve often thought that the NFL should do a little franchise carousel, to set things right with the football gods. When the Colts left Baltimore, that city took Cleveland’s Browns, a few years later, as replacement. Soon after that, the city of Cleveland was granted an expansion franchise which, rightfully, belongs in Indianapolis. This is too easy: The Colts move back to Baltimore, from Indy. The Ravens move back to Cleveland and “re-become” the Browns. The “new” Browns shift over to Indianapolis and can be called the , um, hell, I don’t know. The “Ravens,” I guess, would be available. No! The “Birds!” Obviously.
While we’re at it, how soon can we move the Owen Sound attack back to Guelph and rename them the “Platers?”