Whether the Atlanta Thrashers find local ownership or accept True North's reported offer and move to Winnipeg, all signs suggest we'll find out soon. As the NHL related during the 2009 Phoenix Coyotes relocation story, mid-May is too late to start up relocation talks due to season scheduling issues, so if a deal is awaiting a signature, it can't wait much longer.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution beat writer Chris Vivlamore has reported the next week will be highly critical and that things could progress quickly now that Glendale is out of the way. So what are we waiting on? For one, the unexpectedly long Atlanta Hawks postseason could be delaying an announcement if they're to be included in the sale -- on the other hand, the Hawks could be buying the Atlanta Spirit Group's most Atlanta-friendly element more time to try and drum up Peach State money.
Media members are getting testy with each other, with former (it appears?) Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Jay Clemons taking on TSN's Darren Dreger in defense of "The Balkan," a potential Hawks-Thrashers-Philips Arena ownership figure long championed by Clemons' fantasy football associate, 680 The Fan's John Kincade, and downplayed by Vivlamore.
Message boards and blogs for both the Thrashers and Winnipeg are on pins and needles, with May 13 (Friday the 13!) being thrown around as a popular potential announcement date -- it's a day without NHL hockey going on, plus the Hawks could be freshly finished. And while you'll have a hard time finding too many Thrashers fans or Winnipeg residents alike who read Eklund without a grain of salt, he joins the chorus expecting a deal within a day or two, landing firmly in Team Winnipeg.
For Thrashers fans, everything out there suggests that the longer we go without hearing news, the better the outlook for the team remaining in Atlanta for the 2011 NHL season.
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