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Wang, Moyes, Balsillie: Apples, oranges, bananas

Going back even further, to 2002 when Ellman was still involved and the [Coyotes were] being used solely as a real estate play, this Forbes profile of the situation paints an equally grim picture of a group taking advantage of an apparently naive city council in order to get a state-of-the-art arena built.

>>James Mirtle, From the Rink

With so much information and opinion flowing around the Coyotes' situation, you can already see the general message board meme of "Canada=good, U.S. market=bad" getting a new bit of fodder: Some hockey fans are going to look back at prescient information like the above Mirtle quote and incorrectly apply it to Long Island, to imply that Charles Wang and the Islanders are trying to do to the Town of Hempstead what Steve Ellman did in Glendale when the 'Yotes couldn't get a building done downtown.

While the Lighthouse project does indeed place the Islanders as part of a real estate play -- the club can't seem to work on the current site any other way -- and while one might find reasons to believe the Town of Hempstead powers are a tad naive, Charles Wang is not asking the taxpayers to build him an arena so he can cash out.

Let me rephrase that, for the helicopter observers (h/t 7th Woman): Charles Wang is not asking the taxpayers to build him an arena, period.

He's asking a public body to allow him to redevelop the decaying arena that public body owns/has jurisdiction over but cannot afford to renovate itself; and to make it worth his while (that's the real estate play), he's asking that they allow him to develop the land around it, too.

We can debate the competence of the owners or the long-term benefit of investing or building around pro sports teams. We can debate whether the process is too fast or too slow. And we can debate the right course for using that land for public benefit (as has been debated for what, 20 years now?). But other than the reminder that pro sports is a big-money, big-risk business that plays off passion, competing public entities and a ample supply of mob mentality, the Coyotes situation doesn't tell us much about the Islanders.

On that note, some very interesting observations about the Coyotes situation, courtesy of some bloggers who have a keen interest in how less-than-stellar ownership can determine the fate of a less-than-natural hockey market: