Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Edward Fraser of the Hockey News,
As I’ve done with the Pacific, Southeast, Northwest and Northeast over the past four weeks, here are my picks for the top three ’09 UFAs from each team in the Central Division. I’ll finish the tour next Friday with the Atlantic.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Henrik Zetterberg ($2.9 million)
He’ll never get close to UFAdom; you can bet each of GM Ken Holland’s Stanley Cup rings on that.
Marian Hossa ($7.45 million)
Even if the Wings don’t repeat as champs and Hossa doesn’t get the Cup he so desires, don’t expect him to take another one-year deal. How does eight years and $68 million sound?
Johan Franzen ($1.15 million)
A shoo-in for the Conn Smythe if he didn’t go down with an injury in the playoffs, the 28-year-old is the heir apparent to an aging Tomas Holmstrom.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The International Ice Hockey Federation plans to determine the status of Predators forward Alexander Radulov by mid-August, an IIHF spokesman said Monday….
The IIHF said it would investigate the Radulov matter, as well as the transfer of five other players between the NHL and KHL. The IIHF had requested that all involved parties submit relevant information to the organization by last Thursday.
“We are in the process of investigating the submitted documentation,’’ IIHF spokesman Szymon Szemberg said via e-mail. “It is our ambition to have something to communicate in mid-August.’’
from David Boclair of the Daily News Journal,
Thus the best compromise is for the Predators to allow him (Radulov) to walk with the understanding that his contract with them, which has one year remaining at $984,200, will be frozen. If or when he decides to return to the NHL, it will be with Nashville under the terms of that remaining year.
Such a move would create some much-needed goodwill with the player, protect the franchise’s investment in that player and eliminate an unwelcome distraction from both the locker room and the board room.
Of course, that assumes both sides are willing to compromise — and at this time, that’s assuming a lot.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Slap Shots has been told by a well-placed individual familiar with the thinking on Sixth Avenue that the NHL will look into the circumstances behind the loan from AEG to Del Baggio, and loans of up to $20 million to Del Baggio from outgoing Nashville owner and current Minnesota owner Craig Leipold.
Think of it. Had Del Baggio remained a part of the group purchasing Nashville, the Kings and the Wild would have had a financial investment in the Predators, and apparently without the knowledge of Gary Bettman or any other member of the Board of Governors.
Reporters from The Tennessean have done a remarkable job in uncovering details of the entangling financial alliances among those invested in the sale of the Predators, one of the NHL’s chronic problem franchises.
from Brad Schrade of the Tennessean,
A copy of the confidential Aug. 31, 2007, purchase agreement between Leipold and head of the local majority ownership group, David Freeman, obtained by The Tennessean, shows exactly what Leipold had to do. The document was so confidential that Metro’s attorney, Larry Thrailkill, who negotiated the city’s lease changes with the new owners, never saw it.
The document shows how far Leipold may have had to go to get out of town. It suggests that the deal to sell the team could have fallen apart if Leipold failed to keep $30 million of his own money in the team for one year or failed to find an outside investor to put the money up. If those conditions weren’t met, Freeman and his group could have gotten their $10 million deposit back, according to the document.
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.
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