Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Steve Milton at The Hamilton Spectator,
Your Intent Please: Despite the ripple of semi-news that a local group has put in an offer to buy the Nashville Predators and keep them in Tennessee, current owner Craig Leipold still has received no letters of intent.
Not from the consortium of local businessmen led by David Freedman and Herb Fritch, both executives in the health-care business. Not from William ‘Boots’ Del Biaggio III, who would reportedly move the team to Kansas City.
A letter of intent would give either of those groups the right to exclusive negotiations on buying the team.
The Nashville-based syndicate has been percolating for several weeks and Leipold said two weeks ago that he’d consider giving them a “local discount.” But their proposal is believed to be well below the $190-million figure at which DelBiaggio bowed out of the bidding in May. Waterloo billionaire Jim Balsillie won that auction with a letter of intent for an estimated $238 million, but his exclusivity ended two weeks ago.
from David Climer of the Tennessean,
It is a slap back to reality. With the franchise up for sale, owner Craig Leipold is playing it close to the vest and tight to the wallet.
All of which means the Predators are back in their comfort zone. This franchise was born as an expansion team with a roster of no-names. Many of its best days came as an underdog overachiever. This was The Little Team That Could.
Perhaps it is the team’s birthright. Some organizations are more comfortable at higher altitudes and with loftier salaries. Not the Preds. They seem best suited to squeezing the most out of every dollar.
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail (Wednesday’s edition),
The Nashville Predators have a third party officially involved in what has become a turtle race to purchase the struggling National Hockey League franchise.
A local group, headed by health-care executives David Freeman and Herb Fritch and containing nearly 30 investors, put forth its bid to buy the Predators and keep them in Nashville.
The group’s spokesperson, lawyer Chase Cole, and Predators’ senior vice-president of communications Gerry Helper would not confirm the local syndicate’s proposal to team owner Craig Leipold, but a source connected with the group answered in the affirmative.
from the Tennessean,
“I was holding out hope until we talked to (Predators General Manager David Poile) four or five days before free agency,’’ Poile said. “He said there was nothing he could do. His hands were tied.
“With the ownership situation there and so much uncertainty to where the team is going to be and what was going to go on, we had to take a look and see what was out there.’‘
Kariya said he thought about signing a one-year contract with the Predators, secure in the knowledge the team would definitely be in Nashville this coming season. But the 32-year-old left wing wasn’t comfortable with the uncertainty that might follow.
From Nashville Predators.com,
The Nashville Predators have signed a pair of free agents—forward Radek Bonk and defenseman Greg de Vries—to two year contracts. Details to follow.
from the Tennessean,
The question now for the Predators — as the unrestricted free-agency period enters its second day — is whether players outside the organization will be willing to take a leap of faith as well.
Predators Coach Barry Trotz said he doesn’t think it’s so far-fetched to think some free agents would sign a multi-year deal here despite the uncertainty of the future.
“If you look at not the business part, but the hockey part, we are very appealing to a lot of free agents,’’ Trotz said. “We have a great city in terms of where to live; we have a great hockey team; and there are a lot of things we do right here.’‘
From The Tennessean,
Jed Ortmeyer, a 6-foot, 197-pound forward with the New York Rangers last year, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Predators.
The deal is worth $750,000 each season.
Ortmeyer had two goals and nine assists in 41 games last season.
The Nashville Predators announced Saturday that the club has agreed to terms with centre Scott Nichol on a two-year contract and with defenceman Alex Henry on a one-year contract.
Nichol, 32, appeared in 59 games with Nashville this past season, notching 13 points, 79 penalty minutes and a +7 rating.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Once it became apparent that Balsillie’s hugely inflated purchase price (one that apparently included sending some $18 million that could reasonably be assumed to be Leipold’s cut of an upcoming expansion pie, wasn’t going to be enough to convince Bettman to roll over and allow Balsillie to put the team where he wanted, who is ultimately responsible for the decisions that may well have gutted the franchise?
Add to that, what does it mean for the future sale of the team?
It is fair to say that an NHL team without Forsberg, Kariya, Timonen, Hartnell and Vokoun simply is not as desirable a property as a team with them, but does that hold true if you’re eventually looking to keep fans in Nashville from buying in excess of 14,000 season tickets next season? Clearly if you want out of Nashville, you don’t want the fans to embrace your team.
from the Daily Press,
Sullivan racked up 22 goals and 38 assists in just 57 games this past season. He will have to wait until next season to hit the ice again.
In order to get there, however, he will need to strengthen his back. The Timmins native is undergoing rehab with a back specialist in Vancouver. Each session includes 45 minutes to an hour of manipulating back muscles, followed by an hour to an hour and a half of strengthening them in the gym, Sullivan said.
“It’s a process that I need to go through to heal,” he said. “Last year was last year. There’s a lot of time from then until the middle of September when camp starts, so we’re not too worried about that.” The injury, nor the topic of the possible sale of the Predators, has swayed Sullivan much about his vision of returning to form next season.
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