Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/08/14 at 01:04 AM ET
Given that 1. One Craig Leipold's pals in the media penned a set of "feeler" articles stating that he would not be out-bid for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise's services, given that 2. Leipold signed the players to lockout-proof contracts and then complained about player costs hampering his business, while he played one of the pivotal owners' roles during the third owners' lockout, and given that 3. the Pioneer Press's Charley Walters posited what is sure to be the first of several, "Leipold won't be out-bid on Vanek, either" not-quite-collusion "feelers"...
I'm not exactly a fan of the warm fuzzies written about a man who spent $196 million on two players and then decided to lament the spending practices of the other guys...
But the "warm fuzzies" continue to flow, and the Star-Tribune's Patrick Reusse spoke with Leipold about the concept that signing Suter and Parise was a community as well as a business decision:
“Absolutely, it was a business decision, and it has turned into an incredible decision for us,’’ Leipold said. “It has completely reversed all the trends. Ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise … everything was trending in the wrong direction, and it had been for a number of years.
“To say signing Zach and Ryan was a shot in the arm understates the situation. Those signings immediately turned our franchise around. And it wasn’t just the community seeing our commitment. It was players all around the league looking at Minnesota and saying, ‘That franchise wants to win,’ and maybe wanting to be part of it some day.’’
The reaction of fans and corporations came so quickly that Leipold said, “At first, we were overwhelmed. We certainly thought it would be a positive for us, but we never envisioned the pop that occurred right away. It was fantastic.’’
That Fourth of July was on Wednesday. I said to Leipold: “Traditionally, your timing couldn’t have been worse. Everyone who could afford a season-ticket down payment was on a five-day weekend ‘at the lake.’ ’’
Leipold laughed again and said, “I’ve heard stories about people sitting on the cabin porch, and all of a sudden they hear someone screaming with joy, and the message travels across the lake, ‘The Wild signed BOTH Parise and Suter.’’’
Reusse continues, talking about Leipold's beloved chocolate Lab named Stanley. Woo.
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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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