Kukla's Korner Hockey
by David Pavlak on 09/13/11 at 03:20 PM ET
Now that school has started for me, the ease of getting to a computer becomes limited to early in the morning, and very late at night. For my absense on the website for the past couple of days I apologize. Now that things are slowly calming down, I figured I would get back into things here on KK. I have news on the Devils bankruptcy rumor, some player who will be joining the Devils on a tryout, and some other interesting bits of information.
First up is the bankruptcy news that the Devils have found themselves in. There are many reports going all around the web right now saying that the Devils have fallen into a financial hole and that there is no way to get out. There is also contradicting reports that none of the information is true.
Originally, the information provided that the Devils had defaulted on a 100 million dollar loan that was due Sept. 1. With the Devils missing the payment, it COULD result in bankruptcy if the lenders push it in that direction. Attendance is down in the arena, which obviously is not in a real “hot-bed” for hockey.
The Devils issued this statement on the topic of bankruptcy:
“Today’s NY Post story is inaccurate,” the statement read. “The notions that the Devils are facing bankruptcy or that ‘the Devils have told their banks to get lost’ are patently untrue. The Devils value their relationship with their banks and are confident a refinancing will be completed shortly. As stated previously, ownership is close to finalizing an agreement that would lead to a buyout of Brick City’s share of the company. The organization is also pleased to report that new season ticket sales are up 130 percent over last year and last week’s on-sale for single game tickets were 260 percent above last year’s similar period. Finally, the start of training camp was incorrectly reported in the article as tomorrow, in fact, training camp starts on Friday for the rookies and Saturday for the veterans.”
Rich Chere of www.nj.com also reported that the Devils had already agreed to push the original loan payment date back a few months ago.
“In fact, two people familiar with the relationship between the team and its lenders said the deadline for the loan payment had been pushed back almost two months and an agreement to sell a 47 percent share of the NHL club to someone other than Devils chairman Jeff Vanderbeek could be completed in the next 40 to 45 days.”
Organization members from the New Jersey Devils also told reporters from ESPN that the reports have had “many inaccuracies” in them.
Interestingly enough, Mike Ozanian of www.forbes.com reports that the Devils could be locked out or turned down for nine months if all the reports are true about them missing payments and not having the money to pay their lenders is true.
“Despite being unable to pay lenders $100 million that was due September 1, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils do not have to worry about being forced into bankruptcy by creditors for at least nine months because a consent letter stipulates lenders cannot take action against the Devils until after the last game of this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs, which should be around mid-June.
Even if managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek cannot come up with the cash by that time it is unlikely that creditors will lock the doors to the Prudential Center because the hockey team and its arena management company likely owe significantly more money than they could be sold for. Last December show we valued the Devils (plus the revenue the team gets from non-NHL events at the arena) at $218 million with debt of $250 million for a negative book value of $32 million.”
Where all of these rumors end up is yet to be seen. I imagine the Devils will try to stay out of the spotlight for right now until things are settled and calm down. If bankruptcy is ominous though, then it may be better to try to move fast and possibly sell the organization. Also, the NHL could step in the same way they did with the Phoenix Coyotes when they went belly-up. This is from the Wikipedia page surrounding the Yote’s tough times:
“In December 2008, the media became aware that the Phoenix Coyotes were losing money at a high rate and were being funded by the NHL directly. The media reports were minimized by the NHL’s Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, but secretly the NHL had taken over operations of the Coyotes. In May 2009, the owner of the team Jerry Moyes put the team into bankruptcy hours before receiving Bettman who was to present a potential offer to purchase. Moyes intended to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie who intended to purchase the team out of bankruptcy and move it to Hamilton, Ontario without being restricted by the NHL’s rules on relocation.”
Where the Devil’s end up with this saga is yet to be determined, but it certainly will be interesting to see it unfold.
Next up on my list of things to talk about is Bryce Salvador and what could be a strong return to Devils roster this season. Salvador missed all of a last season with a cochlear concussion. He will take his physical on Friday or Saturday, and find out if he is cleared for play.
Head coach Peter DeBoer said in an article from Rich Chere of www.nj.com:
“I’ve seen him skating here and talked to him a few times. He’s taken some bumps but sounds real optimistic,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “At least in my mind, I’m going in figuring this guy is going to be a part of our opening day roster and ready to go.”
“Salvador engaged in a preseason fight with Kris Newbury of the Rangers last Sept. 25 and then suffered a hard hit from Flyers forward James vanRiemsdyk in a Sept. 28 exhibition game. But the defenseman feels his problems began when he was hit by a shot from Pittsburgh’s Alex Goligoski much earlier—Dec. 10, 2008.”
Salvador won’t be the guy you find putting on a points spectacle on the ice, but he is a solid 20 minute guy a game. He is usually good for a minimum of 60 games a year as long as he is healthy. He is not lightning in a bottle at 35, but could be helpful to the Devils blueline.
Now, on to some training camp news. These are some players who have been invited to attend camp on a try out: Petr Sykora, Justin Barnett, Steve Bernier, Anton Stralman and Thomas Nesbitt.
Sykora played in the KHL last season for Dynamo Minsk and Plzn in the Czech League.
Rich Chere of www.nj.com reports:
“I’m very excited I’ll get to see Patty (Elias), Marty (Brodeur) and some other people I know there,” Sykora told The Star-Ledger in an exclusive interview from the Czech Republic. “Patty and I had some great times together. I’m really excited to see him and if I get a chance to be on the ice with Patty I’d be very excited about that. I’ve been playing for the team here (Plzen) already. I went through a long training camp here. I don’t really have a lot of time to come over and adjust to the time difference, but I’m going to get on a plane as soon as possible and come over. There is always a chance I can make it. It’s a small chance, but I’m going to work and fight for that small chance. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to do my best. I’m just going to come to the first practice. Then the second practice and try to improve every day. I’m going to show up every day. I’m just happy for this small chance, to be a small part of it on this tryout. You never know what can happen.”
The other members invited to camp are smaller scale players, but you never know when you have a diamond in the rough.
“Barnett, 19, is a 6-0, 200-pound left winger who played for Kamloops (WHL) last season. Bernier, 26, is a 6-2, 215-pound right winger who played 68 games for the Florida Panthers and Peter DeBoer last season. The native of Quebec City scored 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) with 21 penalty minutes. Stralman, a defenseman, played 51 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and had 18 points (one goal, 17 assists) with 22 PIM. The 25-year-old Swede is 6-1, 193 and became an unrestricted free agent when the Blue Jackets did not give him a qualifying offer this prior to July. Nesbitt, 21, is a right winger who played for Ottawa of the OHL and attended the Devils’ prospects camp back in July.”
Finally, Sergei Brylin turned down an offer from the Devils to come try out. He instead signed with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of the KHL.
Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, David Pavlak, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anton+stralman, bryce+salvador, jeff+vanderbeek, justin+barnett, lou+lamoriello, peter+deboer, petr+sykora, sergei+brylin, steve+bernier, thomas+nesbitt.
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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.
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