Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
Forget that the people who run Ufa don’t seem to have any regard for the sanctity of a contract, they don’t seem to have a very good grasp on hockey talent, either. In Radulov, they had a player who was disgruntled with his contract and his playing situation and wanted to return home, yet Ufa decided to give him $4.33 million a year for the next three seasons.
Who do these guys think they are, the Toronto Maple Leafs?
-Ken Campbell of the Hockey News and more on Radulov...
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Would Radulov’s coaches, teammates and fans forgive him for trying to skip out on the final year of his Nashville contract in order to play in Russia, or would they embrace the return of one of the league’s top young offensive talents?
Both Predators Coach Barry Trotz and team captain Jason Arnott say they want Radulov to return for the coming season, but they are aware some baggage might come with him.
“When you back out on your deal and you let your teammates and the whole organization down like that, it’s hard to swallow — no question,’’ Arnott said. “I can’t sugarcoat it any better. It’s disappointing.
“But if he does come back and play with us, hopefully he comes back with a good mind and be ready to play. If he does that, I think guys will forget about it….”
from Brad Schrade of the Tennessean,
As Metro officials considered whether to give millions of additional tax dollars to the Nashville Predators’ new owners earlier this year, at least one part-owner was already selling the idea that the team would fail here and could be moved to another city.
William J. “Boots” Del Biaggio III, a California businessman who has filed for bankruptcy and has been accused of fraud by several lenders, was signaling to potential investors that the team had “portability value,” according to a confidential document obtained by The Tennessean.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
Summertime. Attention span short. Too many distractions…umm…outside window. Here’s blog, in spurts:
For the second consecutive summer, the Nashville Predators have an ownership mess, underscored by a dearth of activity in free agency (as in zero this year).
While GM David Poile, head coach Barry Trotz and their staffs deserve heaps of credit for prevailing under difficult circumstances, the constant franchise turmoil is unseemly and telling.
While there is a faction of concentrated, good fans in the region, NHL hockey still isn’t working in Music City.
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