Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press,
Why was there such tepid interest in Nashville?
It’s a cultural thing.
Is that anything you didn’t know going in or were you too optimistic?
Both. Nashville is a market where people who were raised in Nashville go to college in Nashville, they go back to work in Nashville. It was a little harder to break into that culture, and I should have known that. The fans in Nashville are great. They’re rabid. They’re vocal. They’re passionate. There just aren’t enough of them.
Do you consider your investment there a failure or a learning experience?
I don’t consider it a failure. I look at it as I was the caretaker there the first 10 years and I’ve now passed it off to some local guys, and hopefully they can take it to a level I wasn’t able to take it to. If the team ends up cratering and moves out, then I would say I was not successful.
more from Leipold, mostly on the team he currently owns, the Minnesota Wild…
from Sean Gordon and David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The Nashville Predators’ ownership tangle has taken another twist with the startling admission the NHL team has defaulted on a $40-million (all currency U.S.) loan….
Those close to the situation believe the latest legal gambit by the Predators owners suggests they are in deep trouble, and by exposing their financial woes publicly, they’re signalling to sponsors, season-ticket holders and potential investors they aren’t planning to be around in the long term.
from David Shoalts and Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
One source said the bid for the 27-per-cent stake is for $20-million. In Del Biaggio’s bankruptcy filing, the share is said to be worth $23.5-million, and is his biggest single asset. Fritch declined to say how much the partners bid, but admitted it was at a discount to the stated value.
There is ample evidence, however, that Balsillie would not be afraid to make a much higher bid.
Before he was rejected as a potential owner by the NHL because he made no secret about his plans to move the Predators to Hamilton, Balsillie had agreed to pay Leipold $238-million for the team.
Fritch said the bankruptcy trustee may not be able to simply sell to the highest bidder. He said there are two complications: Balsillie’s bid would have to be approved first by the rest of the Predators’ owners, and then by the NHL’s board of governors.
added 6:33am, from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Could the league governors still reject Balsillie as an owner?
Well they could try, but presuming he meets their own rather loose standards (remember, the NHL leads all professional sports in the number of owners that have left in handcuffs), they would do so at the risk of legal action.
If Balsillie got his team, could they try to block him from moving it?
Well, again, they could try,...
from Lightning Strikes,
The Lightning traded rugged wing Nick Tarnasky to the Predators for a conditional 2009 draft pick. Tampa Bay received a sixth-round pick that would turn into a fifth if Tarnasky plays at least 50 games.
From Mark McGee at the Nashville Daily News:
Predators coach Barry Trotz is giving [Jordin] Tootoo the chance to work on two of the top lines in training camp. He has been teamed with Jason Arnott and J.P Dumont and with David Legwand and Martin Erat.
“If you are going to be a top-six forward then you have to play with top players,” Trotz said. “I want to give him more time with the higher end offensive players and with the hard-working two way players like Scott Nichol and Vern Fiddler.
“He’s getting there. We know he can shoot. And he gets on the fore check hard. But he is a lot more poised with the puck. He has a lot of ability. We are just trying to reinforce that with him.”
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
With the continued absence of injured Steve Sullivan, the recent defection of Alexander Radulov, the departure of Darcy Hordichuk and the news that Jed Ortmeyer will miss at least the next month — and likely longer — due to a blood clot, there are spots for the taking.
Players who haven’t seen a moment of NHL action, such as Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Jones, are being considered for some of the roles, as are American Hockey League veterans Rich Peverley, Antti Pihlstrom, Josh Gratton and Michael Ryan.
“We’ve got a lot of things to look at,” Predators General Manager David Poile said. “ … I’m always looking for that great surprise. There’s always something like that that happens in training camp.’’
from Richard Lawson of the Nashville City Paper,
The Preds this morning launched a major marketing campaign to ramp up ticket sales. The campaign covers the radio, TV and billboard aspects and also reaches into the world of Facebook and MySpace. Our Team Nashville, which organized a successful one-day season-ticket push last year, also will be back in action with another rally Sept. 23.
Predators officials aren’t being as open with ticket sales figures as they were last year. They don’t want to get into another running tally. But they will say the team maintained a solid season-ticket base this summer, one that was more normal, more like the summer of two years ago without all the save-the-team hoopla.
Still, officials note that it is critical to build on that base.
The grumpy economy, however, will be a challenge. Potential buyers worried about job security are more likely to delay their decisions.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Radulov – caught in the middle of a fight that he couldn’t have anticipated and said to be weighing heavily on him – has, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, hinted that he would like to return to the NHL. That came to light in an interview between Paul Kelly, the NHLPA executive director, and Toronto radio personality Bill Watters on Thursday. What hasn’t been reported yet is Radulov’s preferred timetable – not necessarily now, but by the start of next season. That’s partly because the regular season is under way in the KHL; Radulov has already received substantial bonus monies up front and feels an obligation to play it out in Ufa, for this year anyway.
Ideally, he would like to negotiate some sort of settlement between the Predators and Ufa in the interim that would permit him to do just that - play a year in Russia and then return to the NHL for the start of the 2009-10.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
When the Predators’ season ended last April, owner David Freeman looked forward to an offseason in which the organization could hone its marketing skills and cement local business ties….
“This is going to be a year where our goals are higher and our expectations are higher,’’ Freeman said. “Just hitting 14,000 is not going to put a smile on our face and neither will losing in the first round of the playoffs. This is the year we hope to take that next step.
“We’re trying to build a franchise with long-term stability and long-term prosperity. We know that winning is important and we know that having a full house is important.’’
from Puck Daddy at Yahoo,
Absolute bombshell dropped by NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly on Bill Watters’s radio show yesterday up on 640am in Toronto (audio): That Alexander Radulov, the former Nashville Predators winger at the center of a very contentious dispute between the NHL and the KHL, wants to leave to leave the new Russian league only a few games into his career there.
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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.
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