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Red Wings evening news: dueling ‘will he or won’t he?’ Parise banjos and a charitable notice

On a day when the comments section has gone a little crazy regarding whether the Red Wings should attempt to retain Jiri Hudler’s services, or whether there really is a Zach Parise/Ryan Suter “package deal” in the offing, I’d rather not post this on a night that we don’t have hockey on TV because I hate even thinking about posting an entry that might provoke discussion for the sake of provocation..

But dueling banjos are dueling banjos, and the Pioneer Press’s Tom Powers believes that one Zach Parise has a higher chance of signing with another team if the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan does not.

Here’s Powers’ take on Parise’s desires…

If the Devils do win, I can see goalie Martin Brodeur riding off into the sunset toward the Hall of Fame. Parise, with a championship secured and a ring on his finger, might be a bit more inclined to look at his next job a bit differently. Maybe he’ll be looking for more of a challenge, which he certainly would find here. Maybe a return to his home turf would hold a bit more allure.

There’s going to be fierce competition for his services in any case. If the Rangers do lose to the Devils, it will be because they lack a bit of firepower. It seems as if just about every hockey follower is of the opinion that the Rangers are going to go all out for Parise. The Rangers do have, or will have, enough cap room for a player who will command, say, five years at between $9 million and $10 million per season. Anyone who wants to see where NHL teams stand in terms of the salary cap, incidentally, should check out the terrific website: capgeek.com.

Those New York teams usually get what they want. While the salary cap is the salary cap, the ancillary benefits of being a star in the Big Apple are well documented. Plus, the Rangers are very good. Imagine Parise and Marian Gaborik playing together.

While a dozen teams likely will make a hard run at Parise, one of the more serious suitors will be Detroit. Parise is the prototypical Red Wing: fast, undersized, clutch. The Red Wings, in need of a tune-up after two decades of success, most certainly will go after him.

I’d say those two are the favorites under any circumstances. But the team on which Parise would have the biggest impact, be the best fit, in my opinion is Nashville. The light-spending Predators have more cap room than any organization except Colorado. As important, I think the Predators are a terrific team that is one big-time goal-scorer from greatness. First they have to re-sign defenseman Ryan Suter, a potential free agent who will receive a ton of interest. If they do, the addition of Parise could put them over the top. They have plenty of money for both.

Again, if Parise gets his ring this season, the dynamic could change. Perhaps it could be attractive to him to come home as a conquering hero and join the Minnesota rebuilding process. But he’ll turn 28 in July and is in his hockey prime. He’ll never get another chance to virtually pick from any team in the league. Don’t overestimate the pull of returning home. After all, he can always live here in the offseason if it means that much to him.

Um, the Predators might make a nice “fit,” but financially, they’re in tough just trying to keep restricted free agent Shea Weber in the fold, never mind trying to retain Suter, so there’s no way in hell that they can afford Parise…

And as you might have guessed, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan believes that Parise is more likely to stay with—depending on who you believe—what might very well be an equally cash-strapped, if not downright financially insolvent team if the Devils win a Cup:

With easy passing victory, and being one step closer to a Stanley Cup, the chances of Zach Parise leaving the New Jersey Devils appear that much slimmer.
Why would Parise leave?

If he’s looking for a team that’s a Stanley Cup contender…well, he’s on a team that’s one game away from playing for the Stanley Cup. There’s a good base of talent on the Devils, and management has always done a good job of filtering young talent into the lineup.

The issue of the Devils’ financial problems is valid. But I can’t help but believe the Devils can work around the issue, especially with a significant amount of salary coming off the books.

The Devils are an organization that tend to keep players they want. Parise fits that description, and with each victory, it’s becoming hard to think he’ll reach free agency.

Again, it depends on who you believe, but multiple on-the-record sources suggest that the Devils have ownership problems and serious, serious arena debt issues that may very well prevent them from doing anything other than waving goodbye to Parise this summer.

What do I think that Parise and/or Suter might do? I have no clue whatsoever. All I do know is that the Parise to Detroit rumors started with a, “If you think this July 1st is a big deal, wait until a year from now, when he goes to Detroit,” and they’ve remained persistent, as have the suggestions that Suter will “land” with a bigger-market team. These rumors tend not to persist so very strongly without legs, and they tend to go beyond, “Gee, I think that’d be a great fit or a ‘good story’” levels of journalism.

I’m not a fan of this kind of blatant oogling of other teams’ players while they’re still playing, never mind projecting one beat writer or columnist’s own sports values upon them, so I am most certainly posting this entry with reservations. I don’t like posting stuff just to stir up s***, and this kind of talk genuinely bothers me.

 


Also of Red Wings-related note this evening: The Wings’ brass will be headed to the NHL’s annual draft combine in Toronto, between May 28th and June 2nd, to gauge the fitness levels of potential draft picks, and NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale outlined the event’s highlights;

• Tomas Jurco’s Saint John Sea Dogs and last night’s Memorial Cup opponent, the Shawinigan Cataractes (the Sea Dogs will face off against the winner of tonight’s Edmonton Oil Kings-Cataractes game in the Memorial Cup semifinal on Friday night), were fined $2,500 apiece for a significant number of shenanigans during Saint John’s 4-1 win on Wednesday, and Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager discusses the somewhat silly nature of this slap on the wrist;

• And this is plain cool, per Marketwire:

Chris Chelios “Assists” Megan’s Dreams Golf Outing to Benefit Homeless Animals and Young Veterinarians

In Memory of Megan Darr-Soroka, 6th Annual Outing Takes Place at Dearborn Hills

DEARBORN, MI—(Marketwire - May 24, 2012) - Helping to fulfill the dreams of Megan Darr-Soroka, a popular manager at Cheli’s Chili Bar in Detroit, the event contributes to an endowment fund for Michigan State University veterinary students and the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Celebrating her life and passion for animals and those who care for them, Megan’s Dreams Golf Outing takes place on Friday, June 8, at Dearborn Hills Golf Course, 1300 S. Telegraph Road. As one of Michigan’s best public golf courses, Dearborn Hills is perfect for all interested golfers, novice and serious alike.

“Former Detroit Red Wing great Chris Chelios serves as honorary co-chair of the event and is joining in the golf festivities with us this year to help round out the day,” comments Tim Keyes, Megan’s Dreams spokesperson. “We welcome all to join Chris and the rest of us to support these two great charities.”

“Collaboration between two nonprofits is key to Megan’s Dreams,” shares Friends Development Director Kelle Sisung. “We’ve come together to create a truly unique outing that stands apart from the rest.” Mr. Chelios provided one of the many unique auction items: a tour for four people of the Red Wings locker room and the opportunity to attend a morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. Golfers will have a chance to bid on this once-in-a-lifetime package throughout the day on the course.

$125 ticket per person includes:

12 noon: Registration

1 p.m.: Shotgun start

BBQ Wings wagon, ice cream stop, and hot dog station

Roving cigar bar sponsored by Le Cigar of Dearborn

Wine tent sponsored by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly

5 p.m.: Drinks, hors d’oeuvres; silent auction starts

6 p.m.: Dinner banquet (open to non-golfers for only $50 )

 

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Comments

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Tom Powers is, well, you read away his credibility with his Nashville scenario.  One problem there TommyBoy—just as George mentioned—who in nashville’s ownership group is going to pay those salaries?  I have been reading his drivel for years…it’s best to ignore him.

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 05/24/12 at 10:07 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’d rather not post this on a night that we don’t have hockey on TV because I hate even thinking about posting an entry that might provoke discussion for the sake of provocation..

I sure hope that was sarcasm, George. Otherwise you just created a post about how much you hated creating that post – almost as if you had no control over doing it or not doing it.

Man, can we please get to the draft and then free agency so there’s some real hockey news to talk about?

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/25/12 at 12:44 AM ET

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This guy must not keep up with the fact that they have 15 free agents to resign and 2 of those are going to be
8-10 mill per players… Preds need much much more than just a goal scorer to be great.  It appears more each day that the real Preds team played in Phoenix.  They aren’t a cap ceiling organization and I don’t know how they feel they can keep both Weber and Suter, and have room to make other moves when necessary.

Posted by @TheJimPl9 from Nashville on 05/25/12 at 03:04 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The Preds say they’re committed to being a team which spends to the cap next season, so if Suter does indeed walk, even with Weber’s re-signing, they’re going to have to blow about $12M on players.  Even giving their Southern Shit-Ton (official term) of free agents raises, they probably would have cap room for Parise.

The thing is that I’m not convinced they’re going to spend to the cap like they say. The Predators are not one of the clubs in financial dire straits anymore, but ownership is flying high off of the riches earned in a sale of private business assets. They say they don’t make money so the city of Nashville doesn’t try to end their sweetheart arena lease, but I believe the Preds actually are turning a profit.

Still, I’ll believe anything the Preds say about their spending when the players’ payroll gets within $8M of the cap.  It’s one thing to say you’re going to do it and a completely different thing to actually take the leap and finish your tenure as a revenue-sharing-taking club.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/25/12 at 09:19 AM ET

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JJ, there was an article posted at the beginning of the playoffs (The Tennessean) stating how the Preds still to this day have never made a profit.  They set a record with 24 sellouts, half of those were due to ownership buying up tickets.  When the Titans, Vanderbilt and U of Tennessee football / basketball are in full swing, it shows at the Preds gate.  They aren’t the money troubled team like Phoenix or New Jersey, but that’s because they don’t spend it to begin with.

Posted by @TheJimPl9 from Nashville on 05/25/12 at 10:35 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

This Tom Powers character is definitely on drugs.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/25/12 at 11:01 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I was kind of referencing The Tennesseean’s article when I said “they say they don’t make money”, but it is a good point to bring up and I should have linked it.

Here is the story from the paper.

If you read between the lines of that article, Josh Cooper goes to great pains to constantly point out that the Predators are not sharing a lot of information with him or with the city which is paying to subsidize the Preds.

Henry, the Predators’ chief operating officer, contends the team already gives a lot of financial information to Metro government, and Cigarran said the ownership group deserves to keep its business dealings private.

Despite leading off with the claim that the owners had to put in $60M of their own money and say it’s “largely to cover losses”, it’s later revealed that a quarter of that figure ($15M) was used to buy Boots del Baggio’s share out of bankruptcy.  Later in the article, you get another gem.

The Predators would not disclose what percentage of the remaining $45 million was from operating losses.

If the Predators were a bad investment like that, then why did they sink another $15M into owning a larger percentage of that investment?

Little detail is known about the finances of most professional hockey teams because they, like many other sports teams that receive public dollars, do not share financial statements with their government partners and taxpayers.

This article was also written right around the time the city of Nashville and the Predators were set to discuss their relationship going forward, after the city gave them more than $7M in tax revenue (an amount similar to the previous year’s figure, which the NHLPA had to file a grievance and go to bat with the league over calling that hockey-related revenue). 

Cogen would not disclose the number of sponsors or how much revenue they generate.

Because sponsorships aren’t considered part of the arena’s operating costs, which the Preds’ ownership claims a loss on to get state reimbursement.

“So we can’t not have the ability to get approximately what we have been getting and still be viable in the long run,” Cigarran said.

Translation: If we don’t get $11M in city & state money every year, then we can’t be successful as an NHL franchise and it will bring the entire house down with it.

The money from the city includes a $1.8 million fee for Powers Management, a separate entity owned by the Predators owners, to operate Bridgestone Arena. This involves booking and handling non-hockey events such as concerts and basketball games.

The “separate entity” piece is the real kicker.  Ilitch does this too, as do most teams’ owners, including the Capitals and Blackhawks, both teams whose ownership groups have a REALLY big say in the arena, but whose ownership groups charge their tenants (the teams they also own) money to use the arenas, which allows them to hide profits and gets you stories like the Blackhawks explaining they lost money in their cup-winning year as the reason they had to raise ticket prices.

Not to mention the complaint by the people on the Nashville City Council who don’t like how little info the Predators are willing to give them while asking for all those handouts.

“If the council decides to offer incentives to the team, it needs to be under the agreement that Nashville has access to their audited financials,” Metro Councilman Josh Stites said. “I guarantee no other team investor has invested so much without seeing the team’s financials; why should we be any different?”

and the call from a Vanderbilt economics professor saying the same:

“On top of player cost certainty and busting into the second round of the playoffs, the Preds already have what is widely held as the best, most lucrative arena lease in the league,” Vrooman said. “If the Preds are crying poverty now, then Smashville probably needs to see the proof.”

Now, I’ve cut-and-pasted heavily from that article and have moved things around to kind of prove a point. I’d welcome anybody to head over and read it themselves to get their own take.  What I’m taking away from the article which says the Preds don’t turn a profit is some very important people saying “The Preds haven’t proven that for shit” and the Predators saying “well they need to take our word for it.”

I’d welcome any discussion to somebody who got a different read.

George, sorry for putting a blog post in your blog post. Professional teams crying about profitability while refusing to show fans the money trail just kind of pisses me off. They locked out my favorite sport for an entire year under the guise of “we have to have cost certainty to make money!”, so I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to them crying that they’re still not making any.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/25/12 at 11:14 AM ET

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The local CBS (http://www.newshcannel5.com) did a story on the Preds financial situation during the season, if you want to look for it on that site.  The hiring of the lobbyist to go to the Capital and manipulate more tax money to go into the Preds pockets, and the Preds trying to stiffarm the Nashville Tourist Commission comments are interesting.

The Preds wouldn’t open their books for the city for 2 or 3 years, what’s strange is how they got away with that when they are spending tax dollars, and how the Mayor didn’t show his authority and demand it.  Another shady story from this organization. 

One last question… how do they fudge the numbers and not face Local / State / Federal consequences ?  It’s either they are truly a broke team, or they are hiding money and fudging the books.  Just my 2 cents guys.

Posted by @TheJimPl9 from Nashville on 05/25/12 at 11:33 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

They’re not really fudging the numbers is the thing. The Predators aren’t lying to the city/state about the dollars, they’re just not sharing everything so that they’re only telling a portion of the truth.

The thing is Hollywood accounting, which is technically legal, but pretty shitty when you deal with it.  When you have an ownership group where they own the team and then they own all of the little ancillary businesses surrounding the team (the “company” who runs parking, the concessions “company”, the “arena leasing company” and any other number of companies), you can say that the team lost X-amount of dollars having to pay these other companies or losing business to these other companies because the “team company” portion of the entire ownership group is the only one that they can really touch when it comes to certain demands.

In Hollywood, it’s done when a Studio creates an “independent” company to create a film. The “independent” company borrows money from the studio with some pretty insane loan terms. This way, they can say that the money itself didn’t make them any money when people who are foolish enough to have agreed to a portion of the profits come asking for their money (for one of the most famous examples, look up David Prowse, the guy who was in the Darth Vader suit). Of course what they’re really doing is borrowing money from themselves and paying themselves interest, so there’s no money actually “lost”, but rather dollars which have been moved between sub-companies which enjoy a bit of protection from prying legal eyes.

It is amazing that the city/state continue to go along without a full review of the Preds’ books, since they’re taking their money, but if they’re willing to give the dollars to an organization that isn’t giving them the whole story, then that’s their mistake.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/25/12 at 11:56 AM ET

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JJ, what was the payment the Predators made to some players fund during the season ?

Posted by @TheJimPl9 from Nashville on 05/25/12 at 11:16 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

JJ, what was the payment the Predators made to some players fund during the season ?

Posted by @TheJimPl9 from Nashville on 05/25/12 at 10:16 PM ET

I believe that was the piece which the NHLPA took the league to task on with the civic funding going toward the team. The PA called it hockey-related revenue (which is was). It went to arbitration I believe and the Predators had to pay money to the NHLPA as part of the share of that belonged to them.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/26/12 at 12:17 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.