Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
Imagine the immense pressure being exerted on Craig Leipold, the man who no longer wants to own the Nashville Predators.
On one hand, the NHL, through misguided commissioner Gary Bettman, is leaning on Leipold daily not to sell the Preds to Waterloo billionaire Jim Balsillie.
Bettman is operating on an ABB (Anyone But Balsillie) basis, uncaring that the Predators are being dismembered, sold off piece by piece, while he tries to make sure the team moves anywhere but Southern Ontario.
Let’s be clear. Bettman doesn’t care if the Preds are turned into a hollow shell next season. He cares only about directing them to Kansas City or Las Vegas or some other place that won’t care about them very much.
Update 9:12am EDT:
More on this situation from John Glennon at The Tennessean.
From Larry Brooks at the New York Post,
On the night NHL Entry Draft history was made when Americans went 1-2 for the first time, the Rangers may well have come away with the steal of the first round by reaching across the ocean to Russia to grab consensus top-five pick Alexei Cherepanov 17th overall.
Management personnel at the Blueshirts’ draft table reacted with a mixture of glee, shock and anticipation as one team after another passed on Central Scouting’s highest-rated European skater, apparently all scared off by the lack of a current transfer agreement between the NHL and the IIHF.
From the CP via Globe & Mail:
First-round picks in Friday’s NHL draft:
1. Chicago, Patrick Kane, RW, London (OHL)
2. Philadelphia, James vanRiemsdyk, LW, U.S. U-18
3. Phoenix, Kyle Turris, C, Burnaby (BCHL)
From Rusty Miller of the JG-TC,
Oh, Canada! For the first time, Americans were taken with the top two picks in the NHL draft.
First, the Chicago Blackhawks, trying to rebuild a once-proud franchise after four consecutive losing seasons, selected Buffalo, N.Y., native Patrick Kane with the No. 1 pick Friday night. Then the Philadelphia Flyers picked left wing James vanRiemsdyk, a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program from Middletown, N.J.
“It’s good to have the No. 1 and No. 2 picks,” said Kane, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound right wing who had 62 goals and 83 assists in 58 games last year for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. “It’s unbelievable. It’s good to see the Americans start coming into the league.”
From AP via the Miami Herald,
An equipment manager for the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning thinks he lost his NHL championship ring in South Carolina while changing a flat tire along Interstate 95.
Vincent Humphries put the ring in his pocket so he wouldn’t scratch it, but realized about a mile down the road that the ring was gone.
“I’m sick,” said Humphries, who lost the diamond-studded ring Tuesday night on his way to Florida from Myrtle Beach. “It’s the only memento I have in my life to pass on.”
Humphries searched the area where he thought he changed the flat for about four hours with a small flashlight, but had no luck.
From TSN, breaking news,
Nashville owner Craig Leipold has advised the NHL to no longer consider Jim Balsillie as a prospective owner of the team.
Sources say Leipold told the league the absence of a finalized sale agreement and Balsillie desire to move the franchise to Hamilton are the reasons for his decision.
more soon… (whoa…)
Updated 9:28pm EDT:
More from TSN,
It’s the second time Balsillie has been spurned in his efforts to buy an NHL team. He backed out of an earlier agreement to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Balsillie had agreed to pay up to $238 million for the Predators. There was a deadline of June 30th put in place to complete the details of the sale.
Leipold, however, pulled the plug early.
Balsillie had already started putting the wheels in motion to move the team to Hamilton.
At a board of governors meeting in New York earlier this week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called talk of moving the Predators “premature.”
Updated 10:26pm EDT:
More from Scott Burnside at ESPN.
The first round of the draft is getting ready to start. KK won’t be updating with every pick, but you can watch the action live on TSN, Versus or online at NHL.com streaming online. (You can even see it blogged live online. update: also being blogged here)
Any other stories will be updated as normal, depending on how long I stay sober. (Kidding, Paul, honest!)
Good luck to everyone’s favorite teams.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
It looks as if the Phoenix Coyotes will move into the top spot in the 2007 NHL entry draft, by flipping picks with the Chicago Blackhawks in order to draft Kyle Turris of the BCHL’s Burnaby Express. Phoenix was positioned at No. 3 and in theory, Turris could have fallen to them anyway.
But by stepping up, they get the player that they wanted a 6-1, 170-pound play-making centre who finished the year as the top-ranked player in the Central Scouting rankings.
Or as one NHL coach said of the decision made by the Wayne Gretzky-led Coyotes: “He (Turris) probably reminds him (Gretzky) of someone.”
Update 7:20PM EDT:
So much for that story. Chicago retained it’s #1 pick.
So, while I’m slaving away at a hot laptop (I am!) Paul is running around Columbus, having fun no doubt. He promises he’ll be sending more updates and I’ll add them to this post as they arrive.
Message #8 Update 5:45pm EDT June 22 The view on the floor of the draft…
Message #7 Update 12:30pm EDT June 22 The talk in the hotel lobbies of Columbus… The Toskala deal (mentioned earlier) plus the Leafs looking at Mark Bell; and the possibilities of the Bruins going for Fernandez. The rumor mill churns…
From Donna Spencer of CP,
To be the first player taken in the NHL draft is prestigious, but it’s no guarantee of future stardom in the NHL.
Yes, Mario Lemieux and Guy Lafleur were chosen No. 1 in their respective draft classes. But so were Alexandre Daigle and Patrik Stefan.
The chances are good that a team will at least get a solid NHL player at No. 1 and will get productive years from him. Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips is an example of that.
But even the top pick is a risk. Why? Scouting 17-year-old hockey players is an inexact science, says the director of NHL Central Scouting.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org