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Nuggets-owner Comsat has offered $75M to buy the Nordiques and move them to Denver, according to a report in Saturday's TORONTO SUN. The team would reportedly play in the new arena/studio complex planned for the Nuggets that will open in '97 (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN, 2/18). Comsat President Charlie Lyons denied the offer in Sunday's ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, but "conceded there's a chance an NHL team could move to Denver." Lyons: "We're not going to get riled up every time someone writes a speculative article or someone passes a rumor around. The likely scenario is going to be expansion." One "NHL Insider" says Nordiques' Co-owner Marcel Aubut "could be bluffing" for a new arena in Quebec. Possible obstacles: The NHL's "desire to avoid uprooting franchises, especially in Canada"; Quebec's Olympic bid could bring a new arena; NHL owners' desire to grant Denver an expansion team (Clay Latimer, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/19). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes that a move would rid the league "of one of its small-market headaches and perhaps its most cantankerous and belligerent owner. ... Comsat could be the Ted Turner-like broadcast partner/visionary the league needs" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/20). Last week, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC reported that Phoenix could be a possible site for the Nordiques (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/17). NHL TARGETS? Sunday's ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS quotes one NHL insider as saying the NHL wants to expand "by six more cities by the year 2000." Possibilities: Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston, Portland and Minneapolis (Clay Latimer, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/20) In the Twin Cities, Charley Walters reports there is a second local group interested in buying an NHL team for the Target Center other than T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor (SAINT PAUL PIONEER-PRESS, 2/19).
Robert Caporale, an attorney for Penguins owner Howard Baldwin, met with the Pirates' investment bank Thursday, representing Baldwin as one of four prospective buyers of the club. The other three groups, who also met with Wertheim Schroder were not identified. Caporale said the talks were "general in nature," and did not deal with team finances. Last year, the Pirates owners rejected a $83M bid for the team from Baldwin, citing a belief that he did not have enough cash to own and operate the team. Jeff Moffie, a Cleveland investment manager who last week withdrew a reportedly $90M offer for the team, was not invited to the meetings. Wertheim Schroder CEO James Harmon says the $85.15M bid from Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas "remained very much alive." Harmon added that even if Rigas fails to buy the team, he believes the Pirates will stay in Pittsburgh: "That might change, but I think (the chance of the team moving) has been exaggerated by the media" (Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/17). Steelers President Dan Rooney said his family would consider buying the Pirates again if it meant "only as a last resort" to keep them from moving (AP/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/19).