I really like Doug Miller. I’ve talked to him several times about the Midget Major travel team that he has funded for years, about the growth of youth hockey in Dallas, and about his decision to start the Allen Americans when the area already seemed overrun with sports teams vying for the same fan dollar. He is a dynamic personality with strong opinions, and he definitely cares about winning and taking care of the fans. If you have ever been to an Americans game, you know what a great experience it is. Miller is a fan first and foremost and he thinks like a fan, so that would definitely be a big part of his attempt to make the Stars a successful business if he is able to buy the team.

Plus, we don’t know what kind of television money is out there. FSSW lost out in a battle to Comcast Sports for Houston and did not want to lose Dallas too. In addition, FSSW needs summer programming, so the Rangers held both of those ace cards in its negotiation for a new television contract. FSSW doesn’t want to lose the Stars, either, but as we can tell with March and all of the FSSW-Plus games the Stars get, there is no shortage of winter and spring programming. What could help the Stars is that FSSW would like to get “Plus” on all of the regular tiers (sort of like ESPN2). If they can do that, it will create a lucrative situation with the satellite and cable carriers and could provide extra money for teams like the Stars.

Plus, the NHL has become a league of haves and have-nots. Canadian teams and teams in Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington and other northern climates are making so much money that the league is making money as whole. As a result, the salary cap keeps going up. It is expected to be $61 million next season.

So while it is great that Miller is making a push right now, it appears to me it is only the first step in a long process.

Monarch Investments (and all of the lenders that have a piece of the Stars after Hicks Sports Group defaulted on the loans used to purchase and run the team) showed in the sale of the Texas Rangers that they are extremely intelligent in the ways of making money. They created a “stalking horse” situation with the Greenberg-Ryan group, moved the sale into an organized bankruptcy court, and allowed an auction to ensue. In doing so, they forced the buyers to study all the ways they could create money, and they squeezed a significant amount of cash out of the Greenberg-Ryan group that was provided by a generous television contract with Fox Sports Southwest.

And all of those things are in play here. Monarch did such a great job with the Rangers that it gave itself some breathing room with the sale of the Stars. Reading a bad economic environment in which NHL teams were struggling to keep value and in which banks were probably hesitant to make loans for NHL teams, Monarch decided to tote the note for the rest of this season in hopes of buying some time. And now, it has that time.

But we all know the process it took before they got the team. I really don’t believe bankruptcy court is an option here (as it was with the Rangers). Yes, the lenders could at any time take official action against Hicks Sports Group (which still serves as official owners and Governors at league meetings), but I believe that the 50-50 split on American Airlines Center with the Mavericks would create a lot of complications in bankuptcy court, so the lenders don’t want to go that way. But if you study human behavior, you will see that when a human is rewarded for his actions, he will often repeat those actions. The lenders succeeded in setting up an auction situation on the Rangers…so why wouldn’t they try to do the same on the Stars?

What’s more,, Monarch knows that opportunity is out there, just as it knew that the Rangers’ TV money was out there. And the guess here is that Monarch is taking that into account when sizing up what potential buyers could pay.

Well, I do believe that any potential buyer would love to give Joe Nieuwendyk a chance to take a crack at signing Brad Richards. My guess right now is that Richards will test free agency no matter what. If I was his agent, I would recommend that path. So if the ownership situation can be worked out by July 1, the Stars could definitely be in the mix of teams talking to Richards (sort of like a Cliff Lee situation where Richards would consider the Stars a very serious candidate). That means that the potential buyers want to push the situation and get things moving. That’s a good thing.

But, again, that’s a liquid situation and there is no telling how much money the team could get in a new television deal.

And the potential buyers of the Stars all know that.

The problem for fans, I believe, is that Miller probably is the “stalking horse” here. He will set a price that will be shopped around. 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.

The potential buyers have done a lot of due diligence, and they have seen that selling fans on hockey in Dallas has not been easy in recent years. The Stars have missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons, and fans have had to bid adieu to the heroes of the past. It has been a tough go for fans. Mix in the fact that many of the high-dollar industries that provided season ticket holders have taken hits, and it’s a real chore to get people into the buillding these days if you are not winning.

Hopefully Miller will break his media silence soon and we’ll be able to at least ask him about his plan _ because he definitely has a plan.

All of the potential buyers are successful businessmen. If they get a good deal on the Stars and can use the money saved on the purchase of the team for future payroll, they are willing to gamble. If they have to negotiate a television contract and then immediately hand over future money to the lenders, then they are creating more risk and less wiggle room in raising the payroll.

After all, we too have had a little human conditioning in this process.

Interim president Tony Tavares and sports broker Sal Galatioto are talking to potential buyers every day and could be drumming up new buyers right now. That’s what the lenders are paying them to do. In fact, having a hard offer could actually help them in getting new and old buyers engaged in the sale process. It’s a lot easier to ponder buying the team when you at least have a “potential price” you can consider.

But he assured me there was a market if you could just put out the right product.That product,, of course, is a winning team. He has done that in Allen, where the Americans went to the CHL Final last season as an expansion team and are the best team in the league right now. They had 5,730 fans in the building last Saturday,cheap chiefs jerseys wholesale Jaguars jerseys m42, so the guy knows what he’s doing.

But, like every other guy who is trying to buy the Stars, Miller has some issues with paying too much and with leaving enough money to run the team the way he wants to run it. And that’s what could make closing a deal with the lenders very difficult.

And,wholesale Jaguars jerseys, basically, the teams that spend in the NHL are the teams that win. That’s forcing some very tough decisions for the Sunbelt teams. They basically have to win to draw fans. Yet, there is no guarantee that spending to the cap will ensure winning. So then the risk-reward is extra tough for these teams, because the size of the potential failure continues to go up.

Bottom line, he wants a good deal. Bottom line, the lenders want as much money as they can get. Finding a place where both can agree could take a while.

Now, what does that all mean to you, the fan?

All of that brings us back to Doug Miller. I actually had the conversation with him when he made the decision to start the Americans that I felt the entire D/FW area was overrun with sports teams, and that the Frisco/Allen area, in particular, could not handle another sports team. Seriously, FC Dallas, the Rough Riders, the Texas Tornado. Heck, with the Tornado, Stars and Texas Brahmas, the Americans would be the fourth hockey team in D/FW? Seriously?

As a result, they want some money left over from the sale to invest in the team, because they know they might have to go to $61 million if they want to win. And if they have to go to $61 million while still trying to attract fans, that could mean big losses in the short-term.

NHL teams only pay players during the season, so once April 15 rolls around,Cheap Bills Jerseys Cheap Red Wings Jerseys GhXU, the paychecks stop. That’s the biggest expense for a team. NHL teams also collect the most money from April to September. They can stock up on playoff revenue, on season ticket cash, on advertising dollars and on money collected from the league.

Does that make him a legitimate NHL owner? I’m not smart enough to know the business side of these things. His Exco Resources company has been successful, and right now the oil and gas business seems to be thriving. He has deep-pocketed friends like T. Boone Pickens, but nobody is sure if these friends want to invest in a hockey team.

So, taking that into account, Monarch and the lenders should be in pretty good shape for the next four or five months. And being in pretty good shape helps you in a negotiation.Mix in a solid sale of the Buffalo Sabres and the potential closing of the Coyotes sale, and maybe the banks will start to come around on financing NHL teams.

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