It was a fun summer, picking through bankruptcy documents, arguing with a few hockey fans from Phoenix and, in the end, watching as Jim Balsillie retreated yet again after failing to get an NHL hockey team by any means necessary.
In the interim, there's been news — mostly just attendance watches, really — but what we haven't heard is that the documents just keep rolling in and the arguments being heard. Judge Redfield T. Baum, at this point, is probably wishing he had never heard of this woebegone hockey team.
They're up to 1,109 filings now, with many of the latest surrounding the team's troubling lease agreement. Commissioner Gary Bettman went to Glendale on Monday to talk to the city about finding new ownership that can fix what ails the lease, something that won't be an easy task:
Glendale leaders have been open to talks, but maintained the city would not forfeit revenue it uses to pay off its $182 million arena investment.
The commissioner said he did not expect the NHL would be the one to re-negotiate the lease.
"I don’t envision it as necessary for us to be negotiating, but a new owner will have to be satisfied," he said.
Getting to that point is going to be interesting.
The city doesn't really receive all that much in terms of rent directly from the hockey team, so there's just not a lot for them to give up on that front. And it remains an impossibility for a new owner to assume this team, especially in its current state, without some sort of guarantee as to limiting the losses.
Jerry Moyes's camp recently filed a document calling for the rejection of the lease altogether, something that I believe is aimed at limiting the city's claim against him as to damages:
"... the Debtors respectfully request that the Court enter an Order: (a) estimating the City's claim against the Debtors to be zero dollars for purposes of distribution under a prospective Chapter 11 plan; and (b) granting any other relief that is just and proper."
Moyes's lawyers also argue that because the city didn't take Balsillie's guaranteed $25-million compensation, they aren't eligible for damages when it comes to breaking the lease.
Who knows how that all plays out — or even how much we'll hear about it. All the legal experts and bankruptcy analysts aren't anywhere to be found lately, as with the stars of these proceedings having moved on, there's no more glitz to be found.
At this point, they're just fighting over the table scraps.