Kukla's Korner Hockey
Former NHL defenseman Jere Karalahti has been arrested in his native Finland on suspicion of a drugs crime, police said on Friday.
Karalahti, 32, played for Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators between 1999 and 2002 before returning to Finland. He is among the best Finnish players and has been playing for league champions Oulun Karpat this season.
Police said the arrest was related to a big amphetamine smuggling case and that the player was being held in custody while an investigation was underway.
“The court of Espoo has today imprisoned Karalahti ... suspected of a gross drugs crime,” detective chief inspector Ari Karvonen from Espoo police said.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Nashville Predators won’t be packing their equipment bags for a move to Kansas City or anywhere else, at least not for the next three years.
Multiple sources have confirmed to THN.com a deal has been reached between the city of Nashville and a prospective local ownership group to rework the team’s lease at the Sommet Center that will guarantee the Predators remain in Nashville until at least through the 2010-11 season.
added 3:32pm, from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
No more minimum attendance numbers that lock them in for another 10 years. No specific break-even point. Nada. Now, it’s simply a question of whether the team is financially solvent – a vague term to say the least – that decides whether the team stays or goes.
So let me get this straight: Craig Leipold couldn’t make the business side work after a decade’s worth of attempts, but a more convoluted ownership collective is going to be successful in just a third of that span? And at a time in NHL history when the salary cap is expected to rise to above $60 million in the next couple seasons, bringing the salary cap minimum level up with it?
Update 11:45pm ET (alanah):
from the Tennessean,
But how does Detroit, which hosts the Predators in their first matchup of the season tonight, do it year after year?
The secret to its success seems to be a mix of luck and longevity. While centering play on a core of key veteran contributors, the Red Wings have drafted a contingent of young talent, which they have injected into their system and painstakingly molded into professionals.
The result is a continual influx of ability that complements the nucleus, easily replaces the departed, and prevents Detroit from the falloff so many other teams experience.
from the Tennessean,
Perennial powerhouse Detroit could make another run for the Stanley Cup this season. St. Louis and Columbus have improved dramatically behind new coaches. Nashville continues to make strides despite offseason setbacks. Even Chicago has something to shout about, boasting a pair of high-profile rookies.
It may be the best division in the NHL, which will present new challenges for the Predators.
from the Vancouver Province,
Imagine signing on to a cruise ship expecting to see all the glories of Alaska only to find you’ve mistakenly been placed on the Titanic.
That is the hockey equivalent of what happened to Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont in the summer of 2006….
Now, this team is going nowhere. Their bench is in chaos on a regular basis under the friendly, but staggering, tutelage of Barry Trotz - whose administration has run its course after two underachieving playoff performances.
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail (Friday edition),
William (Boots) Del Biaggio III, who would own as much as 49 per cent of the Predators if they are sold to a collection of mostly Nashville people, spoke glowingly of one of his recently added partners, Windsor-born Doug Bergeron, then added: “I don’t mind telling The Globe and Mail I’m very excited to have a Canadian billionaire as part of my group. It’s refreshing to have someone who respects the NHL, respects the process and the tradition of the NHL.”
That comment was aimed squarely at Balsillie, who had offered more than $220-million (all currency U.S.) for the Predators, only to upset the NHL by accepting season-ticket deposits in Hamilton, where he had hoped to take the team.
from the Tennessean,
Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold has extended today’s deadline for a sale of the hockey team.
A mostly-local investors group had been trying to close the deal by today. Leipold met with Mayor Karl Dean today and later announced he would extend the deadline.
“Based on the progress being made, I am convinced all parties will benefit from extra time to complete this transaction so we will extend the purchase agreement,” Leipold said in a statement, “with a goal of completing the sale as soon as possible.”
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail (Wednesday edition),
Today could see the ownership plight of the Nashville Predators settled — for now, at least — with a Canadian listed as one of the new investors. And no, his name is not Jim Balsillie.
It’s Doug Bergeron, the Windsor-born chairman and CEO of VeriFone, a San Jose-based company that specializes in electronic payment products.
Bergeron’s name has surfaced as a possible partner in the group of mostly local investors that is down to the final hours of its exclusive negotiating agreement with Craig Leipold, the Predators’ owner.
From John Glennon at The Tennessean,
Even if the city and a mainly local group of investors seeking to buy the Predators agreed on a new arena lease as early as today, it may be too late for the NHL to approve a change of ownership by Wednesday.
That’s when the period of exclusive negotiations between the local group and Predators owner Craig Leipold expires.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he was “not sure” if the league would have enough time to approve an ownership change by Wednesday.
“But everyone’s primary focus should be getting a deal done there, and then we’ll deal with approval,’’ Daly said.
from the Tennessean,
Under normal circumstances the Panthers likely would rest their starter tonight. But with the buzz sure to accompany Vokoun’s return, this isn’t a normal situation. Trotz said he would enjoy a matchup between Vokoun and his former backup, Chris Mason.
“I would love that,” Mason said. “I have a lot of respect for Tomas, and it would be a thrill to compete against him.”
Vokoun was not so sure.
“I have mixed feelings about that,” he said. “Sometimes people come back and say, ‘I have something to prove.’ I don’t feel that way. When I got traded I knew the exact reason why I was traded. Everyone was so nice to me from the bottom to the top. I play for Florida and want to win the game, but I wish nothing but the best for the Preds.”
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.
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