Earlier this week Rick Westhead wrote a story in the Toronto Star stating that Research in Motion owner Jim Balsille contacted Sabres owner Tom Golisano about purchasing the Buffalo Sabres. The conversation was alleged to have taken place around Christmas time but the news just came out this week. The news of a possible sale has many people in Buffalo upset and concerned about the possible relocation of the beloved Sabres. Don't worry Sabres fans!
I personally don't see what all the fuss us about, unless Sabres fans didn't read the story themselves and decided to get the Buffalo News version of the story. The Buffalo News have been all over Tom Golisano all season for being an "absentee owner". Tom Golisano has been honest and upfront from day one, he stated that he did not want the Sabres to leave Buffalo and that was why he bought the team. He never said he wanted to own the franchise forever and nothing has changed. Sabres fans still owe a lot to Tom Golisano for keeping the franchise here in Buffalo, we certainly should not be criticizing the man for running a business.
Balsillie phoned Sabres owner Tom Golisano around Christmas, according to a source familiar with the matter. Golisano indicated he would be open to selling the club – but not if Balsillie intended to relocate it.
That sounds like an owner who is committed to keeping a team in Buffalo whether he is the owner or not. I don't think we have anything to worry about Sabres fans, this team is here for the long haul. If the franchise was going to move it would have happened during the Rigas/Adelphia scandal.
The Buffalo News will tell you over and over again that they do not have an agenda but the fact that they have to comment publicly on it says it all. I have never in my life heard of a major publication coming out and telling people "we don't have an agenda". I'm sure sometime in the course of history it has happened but I am unaware of such an occurrence.
The one thing I will add is in regards to Jim Balsille. It's obvious that the guy wants to own a NHL franchise since his failed attempt to buy both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators, he seems eager to any NHL team at this point. There is something we are not aware of however, is his heart set on another Canadian franchise or is it more of a matter of convenience? If it is a matter of convenience, he could keep the franchise in Buffalo in still attend many games because of the close proximity to the Greater Toronto area. Jim Balsille could be the Sabres ticket to their first ever Stanley Cup. The NHL does have a salary cap but it has become more and more evident that the teams with more money will be able to spend to the cap while others will be left behind. Jim Balsille seems like he would be willing to pull a George Steinbrenner and buy us a championship.