Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators and defenseman Ryan Suter have agreed to terms on a four-year, $14 million contract, which will be announced later this afternoon.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
Once upon a time, John Spano owned the New York Islanders.
Until the cheque bounced….
Eleven years after Spano was exposed as a fraud, the folks in the NHL front office are maintaining a low profile as they deal with another business deal that has gone terribly wrong.
William (Boots) Del Biaggio III was one of the investors who helped keep the Nashville Predators in Music City and out of the predatory hands of Jim Balsillie. When the local investors came up short in their bid to buy the team from Craig Leipold, Del Biaggio came to their rescue and paid $60 million for a 27-per-cent stake in the team.
It seemed like a strange marriage.
From Brad Shrade at The Tennessean,
Predators investor William J. “Boots” Del Biaggio III’s trail of financial and legal troubles drew closer to Nashville Wednesday, as the FBI subpoenaed documents from Metro concerning the California businessman and his role in the purchase of Nashville’s pro hockey team last year.
It also has become more clear in recent days that as much as $27 million in debt Del Biaggio incurred on his way to bankruptcy may have direct ties to the Predators deal.
An arena management company, AEG Facilities Inc., is the latest to accuse the high-flying 40-year-old San Jose venture capitalist of fraud, according to a lawsuit filed Friday. The company is a division of entertainment giant AEG, which manages sports arenas and owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, and says it loaned Del Biaggio $7 million to help him buy a share in the Nashville Predators.
From the Edmonton Journal,
When Glen Sather did the dirty work for owner Peter Pocklington and dealt Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings 20 years ago this July, who knew that Martin Gelinas would be the most enduring slice of the trade pie?
It was supposed to be Jimmy Carson, but he left here after one 49-goal season, suffocating, he said, under the weight of being traded for the greatest player in hockey history. He was out of the NHL in 1996 after a little more than 600 games.
Those first-round draft picks the Oilers also got for Gretzky? They traded one (1989 to New Jersey), they took Marty Rucinsky with one in ‘91 and the forgettable Nick Stadjuhar with the third in ‘93. Rucinsky has had a useful NHL career, but Gelinas, an 18-year-old who had been the seventh player chosen in the ‘88 draft a month earlier by L.A., who was thought to be the window-dressing in the Gretzky deal, has had the greatest staying power.
He hopes to suit up in Nashville for his 20th NHL season this fall…
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch:
David Poile is the NHL’s quiet genius.
Last summer, when the Nashville Predators were being purged in advance of a franchise sale and possible relocation, Poile, the general manager, was forced to orchestrate nothing short of a fire sale.
It was the most painful time in his professional career, parting with lots of players he either drafted (Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent) or signed as little-known free agents (Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen, etc.).
Poile, though, emerged with enough building blocks in place to carry on. He made smart trades and got commodities in return. He signed bargain-basement free agents to fill out the roster, and he continued to stress drafting and development.
Note: For more of Portzline’s off-season team breakdowns, check this KK post for numerous links
Update 7:45pm ET: More on Nashville and payroll issues at the Tennessean.
via TheFan 590,
Jim Kelley joins Bob McCown to discuss the shady situation between Jim Balsillie, Williams Del Biaggio, the Nashville Predators, and the National Hockey League.
listen now and you will get a little Wings talk too…
added 7:03an, from Theresa Tedesco of the National Post,
Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie attempted to buy an interest in the Nashville Predators from troubled financier William “Boots” Del Biaggio two weeks ago but the National Hockey League cautioned against the plan, sources say.
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail,
The latest development is a second lawsuit filed against [Boots] Del Biaggio. It alleges further acts of fraud to secure a $4-million loan. The suit has been launched by the Heritage Bank, which was founded by Del Biaggio’s father.
Both suits were filed after Del Biaggio, 40, said he was unable to repay the loans. Since then, the businessman has dropped out of sight and cannot be reached by telephone. [...]
Del Biaggio’s plight has caught the NHL’s attention, even though league officials have declined any direct comment. One NHL club official wondered what effect Del Biaggio’s difficulties will have on the Predators: Did Del Biaggio make good on his roughly $60-million investment in the team and will his legal woes have any bearing on the Predators’ long-term credibility as they try to gain sponsors and sell season tickets?
The Predators have insisted Del Biaggio’s problems have no bearing on the club. However, should Del Biaggio declare bankruptcy, his personal finances would become a matter of record and include his dealings with the Predators.
Update 10:00am ET: John Glennon at the Tennessean with the fallout in Nashville,
Targeted by three multi-million dollar lawsuits over the past few days, Predators minority owner William “Boots” Del Biaggio III may soon see his role with the hockey club coming to an end as well.
Sources familiar with the team and the National Hockey League said that all interested parties are helping Del Biaggio divest himself of any interest in the club.
From Scott Herhold and Pete Carey at the Mercury News,
Federal investigators are probing the business dealings of San Jose socialite and investor William “Boots” Del Biaggio III, the Mercury News has learned.
Del Biaggio announced his departure Monday from Sand Hill Capital, a firm he co-founded in 1997. Sand Hill, a boutique lender to startups, issued a terse press release saying he was leaving the company “for personal reasons.”
The 40-year-old financier, until recently a minority investor in the the San Jose Sharks hockey team, last year became a part-owner of the Nashville Predators hockey team. Del Biaggio did not return phone calls seeking comment. His lawyer, Elliot Peters of the San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest, e-mailed a statement to the Mercury News:
“Boots Del Biaggio is a good and generous person. Boots will cooperate fully with any investigation.”
Del Biaggio is currently part of the investor group that recently acquired the Nashville Predators.
Update 12:17pm ET May 30th: John Glennon at The Tennessean notes a statement issued by the Predators.
Martin Erat’s new seven-year, $31.5 contract with the Nashville Predators has been rejected by the NHL.
All that means is that it is likely to be re-jigged to conform to the CBA and re-submitted for approval. Erat’s contract was rejected because it violates a clause in the CBA that regulates year to year fluctuations in salary.
For example, if you take the first two years of contract, the higher salary in those two years can’t be more than double of the lower salary. After that, the salary can’t fluctuate up by more than 100% of the lower salary and can’t fluctuate downward by more than 50% of lower salary.
On that basis, Erat’s contract doesn’t cut it on a number of levels.
The contract is expected to be approved after some changes, but geez, Nashville—probably a good idea to get that sort of thing figured out before releasing the details.
Update 11:38am May 14: John Glennon in The Tennessean reports the problem appears to be nearly resolved—
The Predators and forward Martin Erat have shifted some of the terms in Erat’s seven-year contract to conform to the standards of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement. Both sides have signed the new deal and are now awaiting its approval by the NHL.
From the Nashville Predators:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent forward Martin Erat to a seven-year, $31.5 million contract.
“Martin Erat is a perfect example of this organization’s philosophy,” Poile said. “He came to us as a seventh-round draft pick, and grew steadily into an elite player when given an opportunity to succeed. He has continued to take on more responsibility and is an integral part of our team moving forward. We look forward to his leadership and production for the next seven years.”
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