Here's a little something that I'm sure has Jim Balsillie all excited this morning. Because, just in case that whole Phoenix Coyotes thing fall apart, there now definitely appears to be another Southern NHL team in need of rescuing. This time, the franchise is the Tampa Bay Lightning.
According to the St. Petersburgh Times, the NHL has issued an ultimatum to the Lightning ownership: "The NHL apparently has decided the Lightning's ownership situation is unsustainable and set up a process in which squabbling co-owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules can buy each other out." There is apparently a 60-day window in place for Barrie to buy Koules, and if he fails to so do, then Koules has 60-days to buy out Barrie. But along with buying the other out, Barrie or Koules must also prove that he can handle the substantial debt obligations to the previous owner, Palace Sports & Entertainment. Should neither be able to do that then it is possible the NHL will be charged with finding a new owner -- and we all know how good the NHL has done with finding a new owner for Phoenix.
So once again, Mr. Bettman, how is that whole strategy of moving away from Canada and into the South working out for the NHL?