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Discussion Starter #1
May 23, 2007 at 9:52 PM EDT

So once again, the hearts of Canadian hockey fans are set aflutter.

Not just because the Ottawa Senators may be on the verge of returning the Stanley Cup to this country for the first time since 1993, but also because it appears that BlackBerry tycoon and favourite son Jim Balsillie has finally bought himself a National Hockey League team, the Nashville Predators.

The report is that Balsillie will pay in the neighbourhood of $200-million (U.S.) for the Preds, though indications are details of the purchase remain to be resolved, and the agreement right now is in the form of a letter of intent.

That was the case once before, of course, when Balsillie's deal to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins fell apart at the 11th hour over conditions imposed by the NHL that would have made the franchise almost impossible to move.

Two conclusions were widely drawn that day: The NHL had alienated an extremely rich guy who loves the game, hardly a good idea in the current environment; and Balsillie's intention all along had been to buy the Pens and then move them to Canada, perhaps close to his home base in Waterloo, Ont.

The first assumption was obviously wrong. Whatever the angry rhetoric at the time, Gary Bettman and company seem to have quietly kept Balsillie in the loop, understanding that while the Pittsburgh situation was eventually, happily resolved, other franchises were in dire straits.

As for the second … well, let's see.

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