Trajectory of a story: Maple Leafs travel through the West, their media dig through the finances of Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, and out comes a Globe & Mail article about how much money the Coyotes have lost, how the owner's other assets are stressed, how something must break. PuckDaddy's Greg Wyshynski says it's just more "move the NHL back to Canada!" talk. But is it? James Mirtle weighs in with some pretty convincing perspective about how, no really, things don't look good in Phoenix.
No matter what, it's going to be fascinating to watch the ripples of the global economy as it shakes down through NHL markets -- the Islanders included. (One report claims the Sabres are looking into a sale, with the NHL pretending that a franchise value must remain $200 million -- never mind that the market value of virtually every other kind of asset has declined this year.)
Despite Moyes's troubles and very tough local economics, the penalties for moving may be too great for relocation to be an option for any future Coyotes owner.
I remember the rather, ah, "leap of faith" nature of the whole Glendale land deal the Coyotes ownership pushed through, with The Great Wayne Gretzky as hood ornament. But I haven't paid much attention to it since. Apparently the rest of the development did not get underway on schedule. (Shock!)
Anything we can learn from the Coyotes to apply to our own owner's quest for the promised land of the Lighthouse Project?
In one sense, the Coyotes and Islanders are similar -- each losing money and under-attended. Except that the Islanders don't have a new building (yet), and they have a much longer history of hockey support to draw on.
Of course, by the time (if?) the Lighthouse Project gets off the ground, economic, league and local conditions may be far different from what we have now -- and heck, the Islanders may have a Top Three draft stud (or two) by that time to excite local hockey junkies. Much may also depend on how successful the Islanders "Business Club" outreach is in building a base of corporate support: a monumental task in these economic times, but one that could pay off come higher-revenue Lighthouse Project time.
But the elephant in the room for Islanders fans when it comes to Lighthouse Project discussions is: What if the new building isn't enough? What if the Lighthouse Project happens, and it doesn't work? If Charles Wang is still losing money, and attendance is still below 14,000? Does the rest of the development keep it worthwhile for Long Island-loving Wang?
Or is it simply, "winning changes everything" in every non-hotbed market? (For example, the Coyotes are in a prolonged playoff drought. How big of a factor is that?) One reason the Town of Hempstead's supposed standing offer to let Wang redevelop Nassau Coliseum on its own is a non-starter is that Wang, his partner -- and any reasonable developer -- would need a steadier development bet to make the whole gamble worthwhile.
Many questions we can't really answer until after the ribbon's cut, but reasonable questions nonetheless.