The potential time line of the sale of the Dallas Stars is getting uglier by the day. The team has been for sale since February of 2010 but it now appears that every single last day leading up to NHL Free Agency beginning July 1st, 2011 might be used, leaving precious little time, if any, to organize and come up with a cogent game plan on Brad Richards and any other free agents that might be pursued.
We recently learned that Tom Gaglardi could have an agreement with the Stars in as little as two weeks (10 days now, perhaps) and that an organized bankruptcy hearing could take as few as three days to complete. This all sounded too good to be true and as it turns out it kind of is.
According to the Dallas Morning News, AFTER both of those things happen there will be a window given by the Tarrant County Court of 30 or 60 days to allow for competing bids to get their finances in order and top Gaglardi.
That means while an official hearing might last only three days, Gaglardi would not be able to become the owner and authorize moves until late June. That window also goes for anyone who might try to outbid Gaglardi before the team goes to a prepackaged bankruptcy hearing or during the hearing, the sources said.
Late June becomes the optimistic target date then, because if the window granted is 60 days (essentially putting Joe Nieuwendyk in the worst possible position come July 1st) then the Brad Richards pursuit could effectively die right there.
Those Stars fans that lean toward another potential owner (Doug Miller, Billy Quinn, etc) will be glad to know that those men will have a fair amount of time to get their financing together should they wish to take on Gaglardi. Those that want a shot at Brad Richards, on the other hand, must root for Gaglardi hard. (We here root for anyone with deep pockets, I think).There is seemingly no middle ground. If you want Richards, you want Gaglardi.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram suggested last week that the current 30 day exclusivity period of negotiations for Gaglardi could be extended as well, pushing this whole scenario back even further, but that's a worst case scenario.
For now it sounds as though the court's decision means the difference between hiring a coach in June or hiring one at the end of July and the difference between putting together a more competitive roster and one on the cheap again.
The hope of Stars fans for a long while has been that one day the news would break suddenly that the team is being sold and that would just be the end of it. One thing's for sure: That's not going to happen. It's going to be a drawn out, tedious, public race to the end. We just hope hope the finish line is still in June. The margin for error has been eroded to the point where everything must now go "just right" down the stretch.
Now stop reading hockey blogs and go scramble your mother an egg.