It’s the sort of scuttlebutt that will make ears prick up in Quebec City.
There’s an interesting story out of New York suggesting that Islanders’ owner Charles Wang is thinking about selling up.
Okay, that’s not a huge surprise given mounting losses, the crummy attendance at Isles games and the fact they play in the most decrepit arena this side of Yekaterinburg.
Uniondale is a regular stop on the Nordiques nostalgia tour, wherein blue-clad fans hoover up large numbers of tickets to show the league and fans of its shaky franchises that their town still cares about hockey.
Never mind that the New York Post’s scoop muses the team could move to Canada and puts legendary Isle Pat Lafontaine in the frame to front a local consortium to buy the club.
What’s more interesting is the price Wang - one of the more eccentric owners in the league - has reportedly slapped on the windshield of this bad boy.
He wants $300-million U.S., or $293-million in real, multi-coloured money - or double Forbes magazine’s 2011 valuation.
Ludicrous, laughable, mad.
But it is instructive as to what the owners think the financial picture will look like once they sort out the labour dispute with the NHLPA (hint: it features rivers of green).
Add the fact Phil Anschutz is putting the L.A. Kings on the block - and setting the cat among the pigeons in Tinseltown - that’s now two teams placed on the market in two weeks of lockout.
Gary Bettman would doubtless rather hug it out with Chris Chelios than move a team out of the New York metro area, but if a new owner can’t set up a friendly arena deal - Wang’s failure in that area would make a decent epic poem - maybe it becomes a possibility that has to be entertained.
Especially with the New Jersey Devils in financial and ownership limbo.
So is Wang just trying to big up the value of his team and troll for suckers, in the time-honoured tradition?
Is it yet another Katz-like ploy to squeeze the local authorities for a new arena?
Quebecor chief Pierre Karl Peladeau isn’t interested in stumping up $300-million for a team, particularly when the Phoenix Coyotes are still owner-less.
But he may be heartened by the fact several clubs suddenly seem to be for sale; could be that the NHL owners’ club is on the verge of becoming a buyer’s market.