Archive for August, 2007

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A Dream…A Really Nice Dream

August 7, 2007

(Cue dream music, Gary Thorne is seen in the broadcast booth at the Sommet Center in Nashville. He speaks)
Who would have thought that it would all come down to this here in Nashville tonight. A year ago fans in Nashville didn’t know whether they would even have a hockey team and here they are in the Stanley Cup Finals with a chance to win it all.

(Bill Clement speaks) You’re right Gary. When Nashville had their fire sale last year no one thought they would be here. They failed to resign Hartnell, Kariya, Timmonen, and at first failed to make a real splash in the free agent market signing players like Jed Ortmeyer, Martin Gelinas and Radek Bonk.

Gary: But that changed when Nashville did the unthinkable and brought together two of hockey’s greatest players in a critical signing for this club.

Bill: You can say that again. When Nashville signed Selanne and then was able to, a month into the season, secure the play of Peter Forsberg they went to immediate contender. They have had great goaltending from goalie Chris Mason, who played in his first all star game this year and young Alexander Radulov, ‘Alexander The Great’ I call him, has put up enormous numbers this season. Combine that with the great blue line play of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter and you can easily see why this team is poised to hoist the cup tonight.

Gary: Will they or won’t they? Nashville leased the series three games to two and faceoff is coming up next.
(fade out…crowd cheering as Martina McBride finishes the national anthem)

Listen I know it’s a dream but Eklund’s rumor over the weekend had me salivating at the thought of this ownership wanting to make a splash by getting Selanne and Forsberg for this season. I also know that Gary and Bill don’t call games together anymore but for my money Gary’s voice is hockey to me. I also know that the chances of us signing both of those guys is slim at best…but this is my blog and I can dream if I want to…dream if I want to!

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We Have To Stop Meeting Like This

August 1, 2007

“We need to stop meeting like this,” said a lighthearted Craig Leipold as he stepped to the podium to announce the sale of his team for the second time in less than three months. Once again Leipold found himself telling the press about a potential sale, this time to a group of local investors headed by David Freeman, Herb Fritch and out of town investor William “Boots” Del Biaggio III.

With signatures and 10 million dollars a binding letter of intent with the local group signed a deal worth $193 million dollars to Leipold. While the deal is significantly less than the deal offered by Canadian Jim Balsillie it does appear that his will keep the Preds here in town.

Freeman said that the investor group is made up of eight investors total, seven of which are local. Freeman said that the remaining investors wish to remain anonymous for an additional two weeks to ‘avoid the cameras’ and scrutiny. He said that the investors are doing it pure reasons. “They are all Nashvillians and they love their town,” said Freeman.

Predator fans may be leery of Del Biaggio’s involvement since he had a deal in place with the Sprint Center in Kansas City to bring an NHL team. Those fears were put to rest. “Boots is a minority owner and there are no circumstances where he would become a majority owner,” said Freeman.

Leipold says that he feels like the deal will have no problems getting approved by the NHL Board of Governors at their September meetings. There are still some negotiations to be done but it appear that this deal is as good as done. With less than 25% of the purchase price remaining as a debt load for the new ownership is also a good sign for BOG approval.

The mood of this press conference was much lighter than the first and I got the feeling that Leipold was truly happy that the team was staying in Nashville. He said when the deal was done that he was going to buy season tickets because he would still be coming down to see the team…he assumed that his owner’s suite would be occupied come fall.

To hear the press conference go to this link
www.archive.org/details/NashvillePredatorsSalePressConf.8-1-07

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Letter To Be Signed…What Does It Mean?

August 1, 2007

What was reported here first yesterday is now being reported by all the local and national media outlets…a letter of intent will be signed today between local investors and current Predators owner Craig Leipold. For those who don’t follow this as closely as some here is what it all means.

The letter of intent means that the local group and Leipold will enter a period of exclusive negotiations. Meaning that Leipold will not be able to talk to any other prospective suitors for the team.

With a signed letter we also should see a detailed plan on how the local group expects this to play out. Meaning we should know the price, the investors and how they intend to make this happen. It is possible that we may even have an idea on how the lease with the city may be restructured to make this more appealing for local ownership.

A letter of intent also gives them time to make sure all of the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. The next step would be a binding agreement where a large chunk of non-refundable cash will change hands. That is the point of no return.

While today is a great step in keeping the Predators here in Nashville we are far from done…but we do have, for the first time, a legitimate local group who appear to be ready to take the reigns of the Preds.

We will keep you updated as we find out things.