Not every gap in Oil Country is as swoon inducing as the one featured between the upper incisors of our future captain. This is a time when our booming bitumen bonanza has gone belly up. Thanks in part to a few economists and the politicians they serve, our recent spending spree, which was based on early projections of incoming oil revenue, has left us with a situation finance minister Doug Horner referred to as “not pretty”. I don’t pretend to know the in’s and out’s of….well, just about anything, but certainly not economics however, I am curious to see exactly how “not pretty” this turns out to be. Brind’amour “not pretty”? Ricci “not pretty”? God save us, Horcoff “not pretty”!? Oh, oh I’ve got it! YEG downtown entertainment complex negotiations “not pretty”!!!!!!
Well that analogy might have to be removed from the list of options, no matter how much it rings true. Given that these negotiations have been going on for 4 years or so (take that lockout whiners) there are many of us in the city of Edmonton, including city council members and this intrepid reporter, that are almost to our breaking point with this topic. Just when it seemed that our beautiful downtown entertainment complex was about to get flushed down the North Saskatchewan word is leaking down that some serious talks have taken place and maybe even a trump card has been played.
‘Why so serious?’ you ask? Did The Donald arrive with Oprah? To answer your first question it seems quite apparent that both of these sides have come to realization that they have forgotten what brought them to the bargaining table in the first place. That thing was to build a world class facility in downtown Edmonton to not only ensure the financial and locational security of the cities NHL franchise, but also giving the city a chance to inject a little bit of personality in the otherwise blank stare that is downtown YEG. Stick a group of businessmen… businesspeople… whatever, in a room together and they will inevitably turn it into a measuring contest and spend countless hours trying to slit each others throats. So it is written, so shall it be. Now this is where I have to credit Even Stephen for stepping up and doing something that no one, including ECC and DK, ever thought he’d have the bravado to do, and that’s pull the plug on the whole damn thing. Just like anyone else sometimes people need to have their pee-pee slapped in order to readjust their focus and get back on track. I’m not suggesting Mandel is the only person responsible for the redirection, but from where I’m standing he deserves some credit for how he has handles this situation from the very beginning. Truth is there is another person, who like Mayor Steve (Schulte for mayor?), has not always landed in my favor in terms of how he conducts business, but he definitely has had a lot to do with getting this deal to where it’s at. Maybe even seeing it through to ribbon cutting. Gary Bettman.
Mighty Fuckin Mouse!! Here he comes to save the day indeed! AGAIN!!! Now I know this isn’t the most popular time to be applauding G-Bomb on his ability to rationally mediate a bargaining process, but in this case it has to be done. Not only is this the second time he has sat in on entertainment complex negotiations between the Katz Group and City Council (both times apparently yielding to positive results), but this would be the second time he has swooped in and saved the Edmonton Oilers from an inevitable relocation and for that I will tip my hat, good sir. Now this deal is far from the “shovels in the ground” status most of us are longing for, but we’re back on track. This scribe did not have the pleasure of discussing the meeting with Mr. Bettman, due to a lack of credit, representation, a press pass, and a look that screams “I’ma kill you!” but had I been given the opportunity to question Gary on his tactics of sorting out the egos and personal interests of those at the table and on council, I can say with 100% certainty that his response would have been…
It’s January 22nd and the Edmonton Oilers have not lost a game. We’re getting an update on the entertainment complex negotiations tomorrow. Just let all that soak in a moment… We’re back baby!!! In more ways than one, and I am tickled copper and blue.
See you all at the game tonight (Boo Sharks). If you’re not attending the game, well then you can suck it. 64 and 19 both pot their first career goals. Bank it.
“I’ve had a really long day, and I just hate the fucking Eagles!”