Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL hierarchy right now seems determined to do anything in its power to prevent a blue-chip potential owner from moving a moribund franchise in a dead American market to a Canadian city where folks are falling all over themselves to offer up deposits on season’s tickets.
To that end, various league sources have started trying to demonize Jim Balsillie, referring to him off the record as “a clown,” sending out the message that he’s a Mark Cuban in waiting, perhaps an Al Davis, that he’d be a destructive influence on the league. (Unlike, say, the various former NHL owners who have been led away in handcuffs.)
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
One team, the Flyers: boldly fixed on the future, determined by the dint of strong ownership and a big bag of cash to reclaim its long-standing place among the NHL elite.
The other, the Predators: adrift in a sea of uncertainty, needing desperately to appeal to fans in Nashville, but instead driving them away because of an ownership vacuum, a vacuum that saw the team trade away the signing rights to top free agents Kimmo Timonen, the team’s best player and captain, and emerging two-way forward Scott Hartnell to the Flyers.
That’ll have them busting down the doors at the Nashville Arena.
from the Tennessean,
Leipold has said he’s lost a combined $27 million over the past two years and isn’t eager to suffer any such losses again. Even though he might not have to pay players he’s signing now in the long run, there is the possibility the proposed deal with Balsillie might fall through, which would leave Leipold on the hook for new contracts.
“Craig is the owner of the team, he’s the one footing the bills and he’s on record as saying he does not want to lose in the area of $15 million anymore on this hockey club in any given year,’’ Poile said.
As a result, Poile said he never even made an offer to Hartnell or Timonen after discussing contract parameters with their agents. Timonen, Nashville’s captain last season, signed a six-year, $37.8-million deal with the Flyers, while Hartnell signed a six-year, $25.2-million deal.
From the Globe & Mail,
Officially, the sale of the Nashville Predators to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie won’t be put to a vote at tomorrow’s National Hockey League board of governors meeting in New York.
Unofficially, it will be the hot topic of the day.
What to do with Balsillie and his bid to buy the Predators has become the NHL’s front-and-centre issue. The co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion Inc. has agreed to pay close to $238-million (all currency U.S.) for a team that is losing money.
As a backup plan, or arguably his true plan, Balsillie is preparing a move to Hamilton, where he is already taking deposits on season tickets.
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
It’ll soon become known as the Scott Hartnell theory.
When NHL teams are faced with the decision of keeping an 18-year-old draftee on the roster or send him back to the development ranks, they’ll consider what happened regarding Hartnell.
Hartnell cracked the Nashville lineup as an 18-year-old rookie in 2000-01 even though he had two more seasons of junior eligibility remaining with the Western League’s Prince Albert Raiders.
He had just two goals and 16 points in 75 games that season, but has since evolved into a top-six forward who, according to TSN, signed a six-year, $25.2-million contract with the Flyers Monday.
from Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The Philadelphia Flyers have dipped into the free agent market a little early, thanks to the Nashville Predators.
Because of Nashville’s uncertain ownership future and an expected tight budget in the coming year, sources tell TSN the Predators arranged with the Flyers to give them exclusive negotiating rights to two coveted free agents - defenceman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell.
Sources tell TSN the Flyers have now signed both Hartnell and Timonen to long-term contracts.
from The Maven,
This is the time of year when Lou Lamoriello completes his head-coach search. With the Entry Draft coming up, it would not surprise if Double L announces his new bench leader any day now….
I’m guessing it’ll be Brian Sutter, who has experience, savvy and toughness. I was tempted to call this coaching scenario “The Meadowlands Melodrama” until I realized that Lou just moved his offices from East Rutherford to Newark.
more hockey talk, including the Bruins, the Senators and the Predators situation…
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
This Jim Balsillie is really starting to become a pain.
How dare he attempt to bring his maverick money into the staid old National Hockey League (twice) and dictate how things are done?
How dare he recklessly disregard due process and try to circumvent the rules?
from Theresa Tedesco of the National Post,
According to insiders, Mr. Bettman and William Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told Mr. Balsillie that if he wanted to buy the Predators, he had to make a “good faith” attempt to keep the team in Nashville, and not to sabotage its chances of surviving in that city.
Apparently, Mr. Balsillie was troubled about not having certainty about his ability to move the team, and was clearly uneasy about his previous experience with the league. Before he publicly announced his bid for the Penguins last October, he had a similar conversation about moving Sidney Crosby and the team if the arena funding didn’t materialize. Apparently, Mr. Bettman agreed at the time, saying “I’ll be the first to help you pack your bags.”
more... long but interesting read…
If the Nashville Predators are not sold by June 30, which seems unlikely now, sources say club owner Craig Leipold is prepared to vastly trim his player payroll next season, even if it means dismantling a Stanley Cup contender.
The so-called scorched earth tactic, reminiscent of baseball’s Florida Marlins, is designed to minimize financial losses next season, which will almost certainly approach US$10-million, and force the City of Nashville to buy more tickets if it wants to keep professional hockey in the Tennessee capital.
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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