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Proteau's Blog: Moving on up

• For hockey fans in Tennessee, Jim Balsillie's reported purchase of the Nashville Predators can only be construed as bad news. For hockey fans in Winnipeg and Maple Leafs-haters in Southern Ontario, it can only be construed as fantastic news.

Oh, you think Balsillie wants to move them to Kansas City rather than Canada? Then why was he bidding against another potential purchaser (the Anschutz Entertainment Group) whose sole intent was to move the team to K.C.? That's a fall-back option for Balsillie, but few hockey people believe he's interested in anything other than re-establishing a seventh Canadian franchise.

Of course, Balsillie may run into territorial-type legal challenges from Leafs ownership if he looks to relocate the Preds to Ontario, but if he's dropping a couple hundred million on the team, you'd have to think he believes he can win that fight.

In one regard, the emerging failure of the Predators is heartbreaking for Nashville fans who have poured their emotions – and hard-earned cash – into the team. However, the Canadian city that winds up with the franchise will have more built-in support than the Preds, Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes combined.

• Nice work by Bryan Murray in landing the first verbal blow of the Stanley Cup final. The Sens coach half-heartedly questioned the legality of Ducks goalie J-S Giguere's equipment Wednesday, echoing a sentiment that has been heard in NHL circles since Giguere's first amazing Cup run in 2003.

“It has to be illegal, doesn't it?” Murray asked with a laugh. “It's legal. I know that…(b)ut he does wear it well, doesn't he?”

Yes he does, Bryan. Too well.

• Finally, a public service announcement to all of those who've emailed to blast me for my top 10 list of goalie performances I wrote a couple weeks back: If you read the piece closely, you'll see I offered “10 examples of playoff netminding excellence.”

In other words, I wasn't ranking the top 10 goalie performances of all time. So stop writing in and telling me how great Ken Dryden, Mike Richter and Mike Vernon were in their day. I believe you.

Actually Leaf fans will also probably be thanking Basille if he moves the Preds to SW Ontario. It will give them one more place (besides Buffalo) to see the Blue and White without having to take out a mortgage to pay ticket prices in Toronto.

- Stephen J. Holodinsky


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