Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Around the Rink 05.29.07

The Stanley Cup Finals have started and if Game One is any indication, we're in for a fine display of hockey. Granted, there were some sluggish points to the game, most of that due to the week lay off, but the game was one that definitely would keep interest. As a Sens fan, it's something that is hard for me to watch because of the huge disappointment that could happen should they not make a series of it, but it's damn enjoyable.

As we broke on the Show last Wednesday, the Nashville Predators have been tentatively sold to Jim Balsillie pending league approval. Balsillie, you may remember, backed out of a deal with the Penguins earlier in the season. While this move seems a little more in favor of Balsillie, there is still a chance that the Preds may not move after the '07-'08 season. The only way the Preds could move is if they average under 14,000 paid attendance, stressing paid. Despite low ticket prices and a damn fine arena, the Preds averaged 13,000+ last season.

The deal itself is worth $200M in the bank for outgoing owner Craig Leipold, which may bring an end to this chapter of his life, which included squabling with the City of Nashville, lack of local business support, and losses of $70M over nine seasons.

Personally, Nashville has been lingering to boom for some time. However, with the team in the playoffs for the past three seasons and still empty seats in the crowd-- this could be the last stand for the Predators in Nashville.

Oddly enough, Balsillie bought land just outside of Toronto for some unknown project. Could it be for a new arena?? Stay tuned.

The Phoenix Coyotes seemingly have found their GM, former New York Rangers assistant GM Don Maloney. Maloney was previous the GM of the Islanders way back when and has drafted the likes of Todd Bertuzzi, Tommy Salo, Bryan McCabe, and Ziggy Palffy.

As we have been saying for a while, this is basically just a very glorified scouting position since the owner is behind the bench. Maloney will have a good amount of say in what way he wants to go, but as long as Wayne Gretzky is behind the bench-- Maloney probably won't win as much as he loses.

Want loyalty?? Look no further than Teemu Selanne.

Before Selanne reached the NHL, he promised a group of his childhood friends that if he ever made the Stanley Cup Finals, he would fly them out to see the games. Promise kept, as a group of 16 Finns dressed in orange t-shirts with Teemu's name graced the Honda Center for Game One and more than likely will show up for the rest of the games as well.

This could seem like a sappy news story, and it is in some cases, but that's just damn cool that he would remember his buddies like that. Plus, it's better now with the cash he's making, he can afford it.

That's all for now, but there will be a whole lot more on the Face Off Hockey Show this Wednesday available live at 9 PM ET or on the Podcast if you feel like watching Game Two. As always, check the message boards for all the fun happenings there.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Around the Rink 05.07.07

Though it was a spur of the moment thing, Edmonton Investment Group; owners of the Edmonton Oilers, turned down the offer of Rexall Pharmacy billionaire Daryl Katz to buy the Oilers for $145M. The 37 owners of EIG turned down the offer despite Katz saying he would keep the Oilers in Edmonton and build a new arena.

Personally, having someone like Katz as one owner over 37 owners they have now is a better predicament. One voice is much better than 37. Especially with the prospect of a new arena privately funded would be better for the Oilers and their fans.

Some shake-up in the Phoenix Coyotes camp is going on with Craig Patrick emerging as a leading candidate for the GM position. With the GM interviewing process starting today, the Coyotes will look for someone who can build a good team with the money out there. Of course, like we have said before, with Wayne Gretzky behind the bench as an owner, the GM is doomed from day one.

Also, the Coyotes fired their play-by-play guy, Curt Keilback. Keilback has been with the team since 1979 dealing with the Jets/Coyotes radio and TV calls. The Jobing.com Arena has their press box named after him. Now, it's a sad thing that one link to the Jets history is gone; but personally I didn't like how he called the game and I thought he was a tad annoying. That said-- best of luck to him.

The NHL, NHLPA, and IIHF has a tentative agreement as far as transfers go, but it all depends on the agreement of the Russian Hockey Federation....again. A deal that would run until 2010-11 season and would be a flat rate. A ratification will need to be done by Tuesday at midnight for it to happen.

This will be a non-starter for Russia, because they want the NHL agreement to be like European soccer and based on the two teams who want the services. We'll see how this plays out, but I don't think this will have a different outcome.

There could be a goalie logjam in Boston, especially with the re-signing of Hannu Toivonen and the signing of Tuukka Rask, coupled with Tim Thomas in net-- it could be interesting. Sure, Rask will start out in Providence; what happens if Toivonen starts to struggle; that's when things may get interesting.

The one thing about the Bruins and young goalies is that they tend to struggle when hyped as much as they are. Andrew Raycroft and Blaine Lacher are names that haunt the Bruins fateful dreams. Though you never know if Rask will be like that, but with some saying he's the savior of the franchise-- it makes it hard for the kid to deal with any learning curve he may endure with that much pressure put on him.

If you haven't heard about the Shane Doan controversy going on in the Canadian Parliament, it's a mess.

The thing is, Government and Sports should never intersect. The Canadian Government with this situation and the US Government and the Steroids situation-- they need to keep their nose out of sports; especially when they have other stuff to deal with. There's much more going on in the world to deal with something that was cleared two years ago.

Oddly enough, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Doan to encourage him.

That's it for now, check out the Show every Wednesday live or on Podcast or check out the Message Boards for the fun going on there.