Coyotes are living off the land

The Arizona Coyotes are angling for temporary home unfit for an NHL team, meaning it will be on the rest of the league and its owners to continue propping them up.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Miller will also see if the Coyotes go to university for the next four years, something that most 18, 19-year-olds doing-- do, and now it's possible that the NHL's worst franchise does that, for lack of a better term. So they're without an arena. Glendale kicked them out or is kicking them out. The lease is over.

They have squabbled over money for the better part of Alex Meruelo's ownership here. And they've been looking for a solution as they tried to get clearance to start building their own arena in Tempe. They haven't even got clearance on that, but in order to get to that point, they need to play somewhere. And their proposed plan is to rent out space at ASU's new multipurpose facility, I believe, on their campus or at least close to.

Sounds OK. Play in a decent-ranked Division I program, it can't be too bad. But the problem is it seats a maximum 5,000. And maybe-- well, it's not even finished product yet, but maybe with the changes that an NHL arena would need to put into the facility, it might only be 3,200 that could sit in that NHL rink, which is--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What?

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --pretty wild. Pretty wild that an NHL team--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Timeout. Timeout. Timeout. Timeout. Time out.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah. Yeah.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I'm not going to lie here. That's like-- this is one of those stories where I kind of saw the headline and kind of just made my judgment off that. You mean to tell me that not only is the rink 5,000 at capacity. If they make changes to make it more suited to an NHL arena, it might only be able to house 3,200 people. Do I have that correct?

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: That's what I believe. I read about it, and I did more than just look at the headline. But that's what someone speculated over, that they would have to reduce it even further because the NHL requires some sort of standard. Apparently, not with capacity, though.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What are we doing? What--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It's wild.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: OK, I hate to bring Quebec City in this. And I understand that in the interest of dollars and cents, and I think you could even add the way COVID restrictions are too, depending on how that goes for the next little while. I understand why in Quebec City, in terms of having an NHL team, might not be the best situation right now. I can totally understand why a city like Houston, with all the population that they have, would be a much more ideal place for an NHL team to be in right now. It does not make sense to me why the NHL would want this situation, where an NHL team might have to play in an arena that could seat maybe up to 5,000 people.

I mean, you're losing revenue. You're going to have all these changes to this arena that's also going to have good results in some money being bled. I don't get it. I don't understand this situation. I don't understand this infatuation with keeping this team in Arizona like this.

I'm not advocating for them to move. I just think it just doesn't make sense with the plans and parameters that are being laid out right now. It doesn't make sense, and you have to feel for those fans in other cities who have been begging for NHL teams, or relocation, or expansion teams, and the NHL doesn't want any of that. But they'd much rather-- I mean, it looks as if a team could be playing in a venue that could house up to 5,000 people or less, depending on what happens, and the NHL might rather have that than put a team in Quebec City. It doesn't make sense to me. Maybe it's unfair to say the NHL wants that, but it just-- optics. Optically speaking, it just looks weird.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: The Coyotes have some real parasite qualities about them. They're just living off the land. They're living off the land. The NHL is enabling this behavior because they have revenue sharing, so a team like Arizona that doesn't have a plan, hasn't set themselves up for sustained success can just put out their hands, outstretch their hands, and take money from markets like Montreal, and Toronto, and Chicago, and Vancouver, and Seattle, and Vegas, teams that are having success because of their 100-year history and teams that are having success because they just did it right, right off the bat.

It's not really fair. It's not fair to those teams, and it's not going to be fair to the players who have to go there. And another reason why--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: No.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --it's the NHL enabling it is the salary cap. I mean, there are going to be some situations where some players have no choice but to go there. They are still fielding or icing a team because there's only so much money to go around. So the Arizona Coyotes are taking advantage of all these loopholes created by what is a socialist, shared society here that the NHL has, and they're going to be bringing in no gate revenue for four years while they try to build another arena, not that they were bringing in much anyway. But they are not sustaining themselves. They are living off the land. This team is a parasite, man.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: This is, like, the team-- man, I hate to make this comparison, but that kid who got home from college, is taking his time find a job, and living off his parents' allowance at the--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: That's it.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: --age of 27 years old. That's literally what it is. That's literally--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: That's it.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: --what it is. You know what I'm saying? Like, at least for everyone else, for a lot of people who are living with their parents right now, they're trying to make ends meet. For people who are trying to work out the situation, I'm not trying to make light of that. But for the dude-- remember that dude in, like, Syracuse who went to court because his parents tried to have him evicted and he, like, literally tried to fight that off? The Arizona Coyotes seem like that dude.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: That's the embodiment--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's what it is.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --of the Arizona-- yeah.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's literally what it is. It's ridiculous.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It's crazy. It's so minor league, man. It is so minor league, and it's more stubbornness, I think, than anything. Like, if they knew all these hurdles were going to be ahead of them, if they thought, OK, there's only a couple of hurdles we got to clear and we can make this work, we can build talent like Auston Matthews, and reach a Mexican market, and all this great stuff-- but if they knew there were going to be 30, 40, 50 other hurdles after the first two that they decided to clear, I wonder if the NHL would have went forward with this because this is just a problem that won't go away, and now it's up to the Torontos, the Montreals, the Bostons, all the other teams to just allow or to just make up for it.

And Gary Bettman gets all this credit from the owners, and I guess it's because their pockets are still full. But I wonder if they ever like put their foot in their ground and say enough is enough with this team. Like, we are just-- it's costing us money. And, again, not poor ownership. I'm not saying that at all, but it is costing the-- the people who write the paycheck for Gary Bettman are the ones that are writing the paycheck for Arizona, and Gary Bettman is the one that wants it to survive because he's the one that brought them there.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I don't know, man.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It's crazy. 3,200 fans for maybe four years maximum.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's a joke.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Imagine pitching to Auston Matthews-- they wanted to pitch-- Auston Matthews' deal comes up within this four years, and they have these grand plans--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He's not going to Arizona.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --we're going to bring this guy home. You think Auston-- Auston Matthews deserves to play in front of 50,000, let alone 5,000.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He's not going to play in a 3,200-seat arena.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: There's no chance.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Even if it is him going home, there's no fricking way. That's a guarantee. People in Toronto who are worried about that, you're out of your mind. You have bigger things to worry about than Auston Matthews leaving to join the Arizona Coyotes to play in ASU's college arena, which may or may not be modificated for NHL's standards. You've got to be kidding me.

Arizona Coyotes fans, you deserve better than this. However many you are in the NHL world, you deserve better than what's going on with your team and the way that the arena situation is being handled. You deserve better than this for the fans that really want this team, but this is absolutely ridiculous that they would be able to-- this is even being proposed. Like, this is just ridiculous.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: You know what the solution should be? The NHL should be--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What?

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --dealing with Glendale. I know that it seems broken, irreparably broken, between the Coyotes and the city of Glendale, but how about you just come between your-- with your tail between your legs and beg to get back into that arena so you can actually be a respectable franchise with a respectable arena? Like, wouldn't that be more palatable than what they're trying to go after right now, which is to basically make no money, to be a parasite, live off the land, and to be basically baggage for the rest of the league? Like, it's brutal. It's brutal. It's minor league, man.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Two things. One, I'm totally with you. Two, I can't tell if you're using parasite in the literal sense, where you're sucking something dry, or if you're constantly making reference to the movie.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Well, I think the movie was referenced to that. Like, it was the--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Right. I just want to know.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --movie was the rich living off-- the rich sucking the life from the poor and the poor sucking the life-- That was the kind of messaging.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Here's the thing. I'm not sure-- here's the thing because we already had the issue with me referencing "SpongeBob," and you didn't know about that. I didn't watch "Parasite," so I was like, OK, are you mentioning the movie, or are you mentioned something else? I just want to know where you are on the pop culture 'scape.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I'm there. I've seen that movie. It's one of the rare movies I have seen. But the definition of a parasite-- and this works perfectly for the Coyotes, so I'm going to tap myself on the back-- an organism that lives in or on another organism of the species and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense. Nutrients, in this case, is money, and it comes at everybody else's expense, the other 31 teams--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Well done.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --because Arizona cannot figure their shit out.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: [LAUGHS]