Talking St. Louis Ownership - Again
We are well past the beaten horse stage. We are past the "it's all been said" stage. What's left are fading embers of a conversation that started ages ago. The St. Louis Blues will eventually be sold but we are left pondering one major question - when? Recently Dave Checketts placed a formal deadline of August 22nd as the last day potential bidders could submit their formal offer to buy the team. Checketts also stated that he believed the sale would be completed prior to the start of the 2011-12 season which begins on October 8th. On the surface his comments sound great to St. Louis fans, but are they to be believed? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a brief discussion with a few members of the local media and asked them if they thought the deal would be completed by October 8th. Their answers, as expected, were mixed. Jeremy Rutherford firmly points out that Checketts has so far gone 0-3 on meeting deadlines he has set. What makes us think he will stick to this one when he hasn't stuck to a deadline so far? However, Rutherford lays out a series of events that makes the idea the sale could be finished by October 8th plausible. For instance, one interested buyer is Tom Stillman who has already been approved by the NHL back when he became a partial owner of the Blues in '07. If he was a winning bidder the following steps should move quickly due to his past involvement. Jeff Gordon is convinced that the Blues will definitely have a team by October 8th given the number of serious investors believed to be interested in the team. He also points out that due to the process of how these sales go, a deal could be in place and finished but a new owner may not assume control until midway through the season. Dan O'Neill is skeptical yet hopeful. He thinks the current group is motivated to get this whole ordeal completed yet is cautious to believe everyone at their word. Finally, Andy Strickland labels the chances of a deal being completed by the start of the year at 50-50. Strickland also bluntly points out the obvious - Checketts is looking for the absolute best deal and will wait for it if he has to. In my opinion, I side a bit with Strickland and a bit with O'Neill. I'm hopeful that this mess is finished by October 8th so fans and players alike can focus on the one thing we all care about - hockey. However, being realistic is a different matter. Deadlines have not been kept by Checketts in the past so its really tough to take him at his word or believe that the deadline approaching on August 22nd holds any water. Despite any preconceived notions or ill feelings, it's important to remember one key idea: Dave Checketts is a businessman and he isn't stupid. At this stage, he is looking for the best offer (and most money) he can before he moves on to a new venture. We all hope he has the organization's best interest in mind but you can bet he also has his and TowerBrook Capital's best interest in mind as well. If delaying the sale means $20 extra million (made up example) then you can bet that's what will happen.