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Live blog: Compton courtroom commentary

Wednesday, 09.02.2009 / 7:19 PM / Blog Central

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

7:19 PM ET -- That's all for today.

7:01 PM ET --
Things seem to be winding down. Judge Baum and attorneys are discussing files leading up to the auction bids on Sept. 10.

6:22 PM ET --
Tom Salerno, lawyer for Jerry Moyes, tells Judge Baum that, "teams move all the time. It's how the Coyotes ended up in Arizona."

6:13 PM ET --
Court is back in session.

5:59 PM ET --
Court takes a 10-minute break.

5:58 PM ET --
NHL attorney to Baum: "Suffice it to say, (Balsillie) is not a qualified owner."

5:49 PM ET --
Kessler informs Judge Baum that the scenario involving the Hamilton Bulldogs can be worked out. "It's only a handful of dates," he says.

5:47 PM ET --
NHL tells Judge Baum that should it lose this case, it will appeal and "fight it to the highest level."

5:41 PM ET --
NHL attorneys inform Judge Baum that the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League will not readjust their schedule to accomodate a Coyotes' move.

5:30 PM ET --
Kessler to Judge Baum: "We're begging you ... don't let them kill our bid."

5:26 PM ET --
Judge Baum says he's confident he will make a decision on this matter before the start of the regular season.

5:19 PM ET --
Kessler says that if the team plays at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, the calculations are just two extra hours of travel for each visiting squad. "The total burden of this move is about equal in mileage to when they do their international season games. It's tough being an NHL player," Kessler tells Baum.

5:11 PM ET --
Judge Baum tells Kessler that the League has merit when it says the Coyotes can't relocate for this season, but Kessler points to the 1994 work stoppage and says, "every obstacle can be overcome." He also claims the League should have prepared a schedule for Hamilton during the summer.

5:07 PM ET --
Goldfein admits that the Coyotes may have to move, but it needs to stay put for 2009-10. Kessler then admits that, "you can't just snap your fingers and do this."

5:04 PM ET --
Judge Baum states emphatically that his decision won't be swayed by anything printed in the media.

4:46 PM ET --
NHL attorney Shepard Goldfein tells Judge Baum the Coyotes should not be relocated for the 2009-10 season, out of respect to the League's 29 other clubs.

4:45 PM ET --
Baum allows everyone in courtroom to remove their suit jackets, due to the desert heat.

4:38 PM ET --
Court is set to resume shortly. Almost time to begin argument regarding relocation.

3:40 PM ET --
Judge Baum calls for a lunch break. Court will resume at 4:40 PM, ET and will go until 7:40 PM, ET.

3:25 PM ET --
Freeman clarifies to the court that she wasn't preparing to cross-examine either Bettman or Daly, but rather if Judge Baum had any questions. It doesn't appear, though, that either will be called to the stand.

3:05 PM ET --
Balsillie attorney Susan Freeman suggests Judge Baum put Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Comissioner Daly on the stand at some point today.

2:47 PM ET --
Balsillie's camp once again tells Judge Baum that if the NHL wants to bid on the Coyotes, that's fine ... but it can't block Balsillie's bid, citing a conflict of interest.

2:43 PM ET --
Baum has been asked if he'd like to put Balsillie on the stand.

2:41 PM ET --
Court has resumed. Major issues still to be discussed.

2:13 PM ET --
Judge Baum issues a 10-minute break. Court will resume at 2:25 PM ET.

2:11 PM ET --
Kessler admits that teams that have left Canada in the past (i.e. Winnipeg, Quebec) left because they were struggling in their markets. However, he says Hamilton would be "very desirable."

1:48 PM ET --
Kessler claims the League knows it can't stay in Phoenix, nor does it want a team in Hamilton. Because of that, it's using the character claims against Balsillie. Kessler also says that team owners "don't have to love each other."

1:41 PM ET --
It sounds as if Judge Baum is done hearing about the League's desire to avoid a fight with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is what Kessler has been harping on for about a half-hour. Baum is now asking for other evidence.

1:23 PM ET
-- Kessler calls the slams against his character a "lawyer's creation." He questions why these issues weren't brought up when Balsillie tried to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators.

1:15 PM ET -- Balsillie's attorney, Jeff Kessler, believes the "character" and "integrity" claims are being used as a decoy to the League's desire to avoid a "massive fight" with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding territorial rights.

1:08 PM ET -- NHL attorneys claim Balsillie did not follow the rules after a team files for bankruptcy. They also tell Judge Baum there is nothing in the NHL Constitution that the Board of Governors have to admit Balsillie as an owner.

1:02 PM ET -- "Character" and "integrity" requirements are once again being mentioned. Clearly, attorneys want Judge Baum to remember those key words when all is said and done today.

12:55 PM ET -- The NHL is pleading its case that there is an enormous difference between the "grant of a team" and expansion.

12:30 PM ET -- NHL attorneys tell Judge Redfield T. Baum that Balsillie refused to agree to the League's term sheet. However, should the NHL be unable to strike a deal to keep the team in Phoenix, a relocation sale with the creditor's committee will be agreed upon.

12:21 PM ET -- NHL attorneys do not question Balsillie's accomplishments as a businessman, but do not believe he has the "character and integrity" to own a team in the League.

12:00 PM ET -- The hearing is set to begin. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly are in attendance, as well as Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who is hoping to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ont.


Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis