Remember when we said that the distractions were over for Dallas Stars fans and we could all focus our attention on what's happening in the playoff race, like Jamie Benn goals with 4.8 seconds left?
Yeah, well...maybe not. That's OK, though. This is a better kind of distraction.
The often ignominious Ken Campbell of The Hockey News (at least where the sale of the Stars is concerned) wrote a report on Monday morning stating that Doug Miller, owner of the Allen Americans had made an offer for the Stars. Mike Heika said he thought the the report was accurate. That was good enough for us.
Mr. Heika reiterated that fact this morning in another piece about Miller and the endless complications facing one who wishes to purchase this team...
Sources are saying he already is trying to negotiate offers and counter-ofers for his ``first'' bid, and that he is aware that the lenders will shop that bid to other groups. They also say that the Greenberg/Ryan group was the stalking horse, and that they eventually got the Rangers.
But now the Globe and Mail has entered the fray and their sources say that Doug Miller has not made an offer to purchase the Dallas Stars. They are also quite adamant that the number of interested parties is four.
There are four groups looking at buying the Stars, according to the source. Only three groups have been identified. Aside from Miller there is Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and Billy Quinn, another Dallas oil-and-gas man who is a minority partner in the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan that bought the Rangers.
Gary Bettman said recently there were "a half dozen" interested parties, and we've recently heard "6 or 7" elsewhere. Some places say Bill Gallacher pulled out and now is back in. Others say he is nowhere near this thing.
So it appears as though a variety of sources are starting to "leak" the information that they want out there and a variety of media outlets are being used in that process, creating these conflicting details about an already clouded situation. (By the way, if anyone wants us to push their agenda, email me...I kid)
What should a Stars fan take from all of this?
What should we take from this? And some might even ask, should we even care about this right now?
First, yes we should care. The Stars might make the playoffs this season. They might re-sign Brad Richards. A lot of things might happen, but unless they actually win the Stanley Cup, the sale of this team is the single most important thing that will take place in 2011. So our ears are perked and we're listening intently, even if the information is nebulous, conflicting and confusing.
One thing we can believe, because it appears to be the only consistent detail from report to report, is that the lenders are looking for something in the neighborhood of $225 million. I believe that is the ballpark figure on what they would like from the first bid and then ideally it would go up from there if bidding ever ensues.
Will anyone pay that much for a team they're sure to lose money on in at least the first few years? The lenders seem to be efforting to create a situation in which the only way the team can be bought is if someone makes a questionable business decision and overpays. Then we have an owner whose first action with the club was a financially irresponsible one. Mike Heika believes all the involved parties are smart and successful businessmen so I see this is as unlikely, but it's something to kick around while we wait.
Whether there are six buyers or four buyers or seven buyers, and whether or not Mr. Miller has made an official first bid or not, the one thing we can take from all this right now is the timing. The trade deadline and the Brad Richards situation goes hand in hand with this and it's just good old fashioned common sense that anyone interested in buying this team is interested in keeping Brad Richards.
The business model that makes money on hockey in Texas is simple, and it is singular: Winning. There is no other possible way. This isn't Edmonton.
If you want to make money, you need to win. If you want to win, and you want to do it without tearing the thing down and building it back up, you need Brad Richards. Thus the need to get the ball rolling right now.
So all this "he said, she said" stuff going on in the press is hopefully posturing for a situation that is getting ready to get very serious, very soon. That's what I'm taking from this. Things are happening.
Will it be in time to get financing in place and bid for Richards on July 1st? It's going to come down to the wire. Get ready for four months of this.