Kukla's Korner Hockey
From CP via Globe & Mail,
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk got a surprise when he opened the newspaper Wednesday morning and read about the pending sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The team is one of his favourite organizations in the NHL and he wasn’t expecting an ownership change.
Melnyk says he’s not sure why some owners are deciding to get out of the hockey business.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “It’s very interesting. I think what’s happening is that people have gone through seven, eight, nine, 10 years of ownership. I don’t know whether age is a factor or whether they’ve moved or what personal issues they have and why they’re selling. Maybe it’s for the money. A lot of these teams were worth half of what they’re selling for four years ago. Some people might simply be cashing in.”
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
In his introductory news conference as Bolts co-owner, MacLean did not disappoint those who’ve become accustomed to his endless array of excuses why his teams have shown a remarkable ability to reek like dirty diapers year after year.
“I had the 28th (lowest) payroll in the league last year in Columbus,” MacLean said. “I didn’t like it.”
However, as intrepid Columbus Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline points out, the Blue Jackets actually had the 24th-lowest payroll in the league in 2006-07, were just $4 million under the salary cap, and three of the six teams that spent less qualified for the playoffs.
read on... and if you want to see the video of the “monkey” story Adam referrers to…
from the Tampa Tribune,
MacLean, who brings the most hockey experience to the new group, said the deal was unusual because his group is replacing a successful group.
The investment group reached a final agreement with Davidson on Friday during a conference call.
“We thought it was the ultimate compliment that Mr. Davidson took such care in wanting the team to be in the right hands,” Sherrin said. “I think our ownership group will be the only one to actually be in the trenches day to day.”
Irwin Kishner, a lawyer in the sports entertainment practice at Herrick, Feinstein LLP in New York, said the Lightning deal is remarkable because it was handled more quickly and quietly than many other major sports franchise sales he’s seen.
“This was really fast,” Kishner said. “I’ve never seen a deal in one of the majors happen this quickly “
from Lightning Strikes,
How much did they pay?
Hard to say, though former owner Bill Davidson, who in the summer of 1999 bought the franchise, the arena lease and the surrounding land for around $98-million, always has said he would never take less than $200-million. More realistic is that he wanted to recoup the $76-million his company says it has lost on its Tampa operation since its purchase.
Will the team stay in Tampa?
That seems to be the case. Also, the group likely would not have taken the building and surrounding land if it was planning a move. But that question will be asked.
What about front office personnel?
MacLean apparently believes John Tortorella is a great coach, so don’t expect any changes there. MacLean also apparently has had enough of being a general manager from his time with the Blue Jackets.
added 11:35am, from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
“The Tampa Bay Lightning is one of the most exciting teams in the NHL and its future looks incredibly positive,” said MacLean upon making the announcement. “Having won the Stanley Cup in 2004 as part of a string of four consecutive postseason appearances with the same core of young, talented players, we see a very bright season in 2007-08 along with many more in succession. The fans in Tampa Bay are very knowledgeable and passionate about their team. We look forward to building upon the existing winning tradition while keeping the Lightning and its management team right where they belong, in Tampa.”
from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
The Tampa Bay Lightning will host a press conference today at 11:00 a.m. in the XO VIP Club on the arena level of the St. Pete Times Forum to announce the sale of the team, the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and adjacent properties. Thomas S. Wilson, Chairman and Governor of the Lightning, will introduce a new ownership group, Absolute Hockey Enterprises, which includes Doug MacLean, Jeff Sherrin and Oren Koules. A purchase agreement has been signed by Absolute Hockey, but the ownership transfer is subject to approval by the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
added 8:28am, A little more on Oren Koules…
from Helena Bighorns Hockey,
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Koules has an extensive hockey background, playing his minor hockey in the windy city before making the leap to the Western Hockey League, playing for the Spokane Chiefs, Great Falls Americans and Medicine Hat Tigers. From there, Koules entered professional hockey, attending the Chicago Blackhawks training camp and playing for their minor league affiliates in Hampton roads, VA and Flint, MI.
Upon his retirement from pro hockey, Koules entered the world of finance as a top floor trader on the Chicago Mercantile exchange. It was this experience that drew him into the film business. Koules currently owns Evolution Entertainment, which represents several successful of that businesses top actors. Evolution also produces feature films. Koules has produced several successful Hollywood films such as “Set It Off”, “Dumb & Dumberer” and the current hit, “SAW.” Koules also appears in the film along with Bighorn President, Mike Butters.
Ryan Craig of the Tampa Bay Lightning was awarded one-year, $850,000 contract by an arbitrator after his hearing on Friday.
Craig was seeking a one-year, $1.2 million contract while the Lightning were asking the arbitrator for a one-year, $650,000 deal.
‘‘We appreciate the fact that the Arbitrator weighed all the evidence presented and awarded what we believe is a very reasonable contract for this player,’’ said Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. ‘‘We had consistently discussed a negotiated arrangement with Ryan that always had us starting at the $750,000 mark and we believe the award in this case is consistent with our thinking. The good news is that Ryan will now be under contract for the 2007-08 season and the amount of the award will not force our hand in terms of having to move the player.’‘
from the St. Peterburg Times,
What you see likely is what you’ll get from the Lightning heading into training camp.
General manager Jay Feaster said Wednesday that barring trades, the team will try filling the last of its top six defensive positions from within the organization.
With forwards and goaltenders already set, that means Tampa Bay’s free-agent shopping is on hold, including any negotiations with defensemen Nolan Pratt and Doug Janik, mainstays last season, and Jassen Cullimore, about whom the team recently inquired.
from the St. Peterburg Times,
“It’s an absolutely perfect fit,” agent Roland Thompson said of his free agent client. “He’d like to come back to Tampa, and we’ve had some discussions. If the opportunity came, it would be his first choice.”
The Cullimore inquiry is part of what general manager Jay Feaster said is an ongoing organizational debate about how to fill out the roster….
Cullimore signed with the Blackhawks after helping Tampa Bay win the ‘04 Cup and last month was traded to the Canadiens, who bought out the last season of his contract.
Cullimore will get $1.25-million from Montreal two-thirds of his $1.9-million salary. He likely would ask his new team to make up the $650,000 difference.
But with $42.34-million of a $44-million payroll budget already committed and forward Ryan Craig still unsigned, Feaster probably doesn’t want to pay much more than the $475,000 league minimum.
from Lightning Strikes,
Coach John Tortorella wished Eric Perrin well but also said not to let the door hit him on the way out.
“He can kiss my (butt),’’ Tortorella said.
Perrin, who in 2004 at age 29 got his first NHL opportunity with the Lightning, which got a recommendation from Perrin’s college buddy Marty St. Louis, signed with the Thrashers as a free agent for two years, $1.5-million. That, apparently, was just $150,000 more than the contract offered by Tampa Bay, which also offered a three-year deal worth $1.575-million.
“This organization spent a lot of time with this guy, a lot of time,’’ Tortorella said. “Eric Perrin did some really good things for us, and the ice time he got, he deserved, but every year it’s nothing but a pain to sign him.’‘
from Lightning Strikes at the St. Peterburg Times,
Taylor said he will wait until then to give his hip every chance to improve, but admitted, “All signs are showing that I need the surgery. It’s getting worse as it goes along. I’m obviously disappointed I can’t get back to where I want to be.’‘
The surgery is major. It involves shaving and smoothing the top of Taylor’s right femur and inserting it into a new metal socket to ease movement. The catch: at least a six-month recovery. That means if Taylor has surgery in August, he won’t be back until at least February, or he might not come back at all.
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