Daryl Katz released a statement through Bob Black, someone who is apparently connected to Katz' arena demands, this evening:
"I can confirm that Daryl Katz, Patrick LaForge, Kevin Lowe and others from the Oilers leadership group are in Seattle for meetings and to attend the Seahawks game.
We remain committed to working with City Administration to achieve a deal commensurate with what Winnipeg and Pittsburgh have done to sustain the NHL in those small markets. If we can achieve such a deal, the Oilers will remain in Edmonton and we can get on with the important work of developing the new arena and investing in the continued revitalization of Edmonton's downtown core.
Nonetheless, and as the City of Edmonton is aware, the Katz Group has been listening to proposals from a number of potential NHL markets for some time. After more than four years of trying to secure an arena deal and with less than 24 months remaining on the Oilers' lease at Rexall Place, this is only prudent and should come as no surprise."
But the threat itself is hollow. Even if Katz could convince the NHL's Board of Governors that he was in dire straits as the 8th-most profitable franchise in the NHL and that relocation was the only way to save the 8th most profitable franchise in the NHL, the Board of Governors would immediately approve relocation of one their loss leaders to Edmonton. It's unlikely that Edmonton would go even one season without a team. The moment the Oilers received approval to leave, one of the Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Devils, Islanders, Panthers, or Predators would receive approval to relocate to Edmonton.
Edmonton fans should recognize this and give up the craven, dire views the preponderance of them have on this process. Just make sure to follow Cleveland's lead and sue Katz for the Oilers' name, colors and history before he leaves town.
It comes down to this - only the most frightened people will believe this bluff. Only the biggest shrinking violets in Edmonton will believe that giving in is the best strategy in these negotiations. Only the naive and very young would hand over more (more than the $400 million already guaranteed) to Daryl Katz.
As many suggested on Twitter this evening, the city's best response to this move by Katz is to visit the litany of money-losing franchises throughout the league in an effort to seek the best match for relocation to Edmonton after Katz leaves for a worse deal. Mayor Mandel could be the man that rid the city of the giant ogre and brought in a fan-friendly ownership group.
The transition could be seamless.
Troy Martinson suggested this was a better representation of Katz negotiating with the city: