Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Glennon of Chilling Out at the Tennessean,
The Minnesota Wild’s decision to buy out forward Mark Parrish means there’s another established goal-scorer on the free-agent market, but I don’t suspect the Predators will be making a beeline for the telephone.
For starters, I think David Poile wants to get some resolution on the Alexander Radulov situation before he starts making commitments to any new forwards.
Second of all, I’m not sure Parrish is exactly what the team is looking for. On the plus side, he’s scored at least 16 goals in all nine of his NHL seasons. On the down side, he’s posted only 39 and 30 points, respectively, in Minnesota’s defensive system the last two years and – at age 31 – might be on the downside of his career.
from Brad Schrade of the Tennessean,
Two NHL owners who stood to gain if William J. “Boots” Del Biaggio III bought a stake in the Nashville Predators lent the California financier and the team a total of $27 million to help close the deal in December, according to court records, interviews and confidential internal documents obtained by The Tennessean.
The two lenders — sports and entertainment giant AEG, which owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, and then-Predators owner Craig Leipold — were in the inner circle of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. However, Bettman says he knew nothing about the loans to Del Biaggio at the time the Predators’ sale was finalized in December.
from the Nashville Predators,
Predators defenseman Ville Koistinen was awarded a one-year contract at $700,000 as part of the NHL’s arbitration process. Koistinen’s arbitration case was heard by an independent arbitrator on Monday (July 28) in Toronto. Koistinen was a restricted free agent this summer and filed for arbitration prior to the July 5 player deadline.
With the award announced, the contract is in the process of being signed by both Koistinen and the Predators and should be finalized by NHL’s Central Scouting in the coming days.
Neil Bristow at Hockey Prime Time has an interview with Nashville Predators’ goalie Pekka Rinne online which he was good enough to mention to me today. Rinne is set to back up Dan Ellis this coming season (which didn’t impress Brian Costello at THN very much yesterday) so maybe now’s a good time to get to know the guy better.
From Hockey Prime Time:
Neil Bristow - You made your NHL debut Dec.15th 2005. Can you share with us a little of what that was like? What was going through your mind at that time?
Pekka Rinne - It was something that I had always been dreaming of. At that time both Tomas Vokoun and Chris Mason were hurt and I got the call. Everything happened pretty fast and I didn`t have time to stress about the game, we won the game and it was just amazing experience I’ll remember for rest of my life.
from Brian Cosetllo of the Hockey News,
Looking ahead to next season, many hockey observers – at least most everyone in our office – expect the Predators to be right in the thick of things again, pushing for and making the playoffs.
But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nashville fall to among the bottom two or three teams in the Western Conference. Here’s why.
The goaltending position is extremely unsettled. They got rid of Vokoun because Chris Mason was supposed to be the heir apparent. Now Mason has been shuffled off to St. Louis because of the strong play of Dan Ellis last season. What if Ellis and his 45 games worth of NHL experience can’t repeat? The backup is Pekka Rinne. The Preds have among the league’s least palatable goaltending tandems going into next season.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Let the record show that constructing a core around young defensemen can take half a decade.
In 2002, Nashville Predators management (general manager David Poile, assistant GM Ray Shero, and director of player personnel Paul Fenton), with input from amateur scouts, recognized a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
The 2003 draft projected to be one of the deepest ever, prompting Nashville to stockpile 13 picks.
“We made a game plan to try and get a core group of defensemen that could go out and play,” said Fenton, the ex-Boston University Terrier who is now Poile’s assistant. “In essence, we really thought we had five defensemen we were sure could play, then we took wild swings at guys who might pan out. That was our philosophy going in - shore up our defense, hopefully, for the next 10 years.”
continued with othe NHL bits too…
from Brad Schrade of the Tennessean,
Doug Bergeron, a California-based Canadian investor and entrepreneur and president of DGB Investments, was among those to whom Del Biaggio tried to market a share of the Predators.
Bergeron said Del Biaggio told him in December that National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman’s office had given special permission for Del Biaggio to buy a share of the team without being subjected to all the scrutiny the league usually gives to prospective owners. Del Biaggio told him the commissioner’s office did not require him to show audited financial statements before it approved him.
“Boots bragged to me that he was able to convince Bettman’s office to overlook the need for his audited financial statements because it was too much work,” Bergeron said.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Despite the fact the NHL and the Kontinental League reached an agreement last week not to poach each other’s players under contract, the KHL has ruled it will uphold the three-year, $13 million contract Alexander Radulov of the Nashville Predators signed with Ufa Salavat.
That means as far as the KHL is concerned, Radulov will play in Russia next season. And that, sources say, will set up a showdown with the NHL that could throw the entire process into chaos and thwart the original agreement, which effectively would make it open season on players playing in both leagues.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Imagine how the good people of Nashville must be feeling about hockey this morning.
The diehards heartbroken because they have once again been played for suckers.
The politicians relieved that, thanks to Del Biaggio’s financial implosion, they may have just dodged an extremely expensive bullet.
The local investors wondering where they can possibly find the money to operate without losing their shirts in a league in which — thanks to rising revenues elsewhere, especially in Canada, but certainly not in Nashville — spending even to the salary floor becomes ever harder to justify.
Everyone else, wildly cynical about the whole enterprise, and amazed that a “major league” sport could ever do business like this.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy has five unconventional ideas:
Ever since the latest Del Biaggio story broke, I’ve been noodling through ways to solidify the NHL in Nashville. There are certain obvious fixes, like continuing to rally local fans and businesses to buy into the franchise. The following five ideas are less obvious, more long-shot and are submitted for your approval. Or inevitable disapproval.
1. Move the Predators to the Southeast Division. This idea comes from a conversation I had with Predators blogger Paul Nicholson of Geek Thoughts. The abridged version: Sports fans in Nashville relate more to college sports rivalries than anything else. So naturally, teams in Georgia, Florida and perhaps Carolina are going to stoke fan passions more than teams in Chicago and St. Louis.
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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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