With yesterday's announcement that that there is an agreement in place to remove the "Boots" Del Biaggio black cloud from the Predator's horizon, the team my be in the best position on all fronts that it has seen since the franchise was conceived.
Once the final paperwork is completed next month, giving the current owners 100% interest in the team, the Predator's ownership group will have much more leeway to plan their own destiny without having to wait for the other shoe to fall from an outside entity that they can't control.
With a good base of strong local ownership that is committed to bringing the Cup to Nashville, they will be in a much better position to sell the game, grow the sport, and attract additional capital.
A new naming rights deal with Bridgestone at the end of last season will be a springboard to additional corporate support as the economy improves.
The hockey operations staff is one of the best in the NHL with GM David Poile and Coach Barry Trotz both in the top three for awards in their positions last season. The two together have exceeded expectations consistently and have defied the hockey pundits by making the playoffs five of the last six seasons.
By drafting and acquiring players that fit the mold of "The Predator's Way," they have created a special brand of teamwork where all 20 players have to be "all in" giving 100% every time they hit the ice. There is no "star" system. As a group, the team is far better than the sum of individual players.
On the ice, the Predators will start training camp in September with an abundance of riches and probably lose a few good players through the waiver wire because they can't find enough slots on the roster to keep them around.
With the ownership on more solid ground, the Preds will be in a better position to sign keep homegrown players like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Patrick Hornqvist before they gain free agent status.
The future is even brighter with Hockey's Future ranking the Predator's prospects as being number one in the entire league. Players like Colin Wilson and Cody Franson debuted last year and should have breakout years in the coming season.
For others like Brentwood native, Blake Geoffrion, Jon Blum, and Ryan Ellis, it is just a matter of time before they will become impact players at the NHL level.
Attendance has held firm, even in a poor economy with high local unemployment. The Predators are one deep run into the playoffs away from adding the 2500 fans per game that will make a ticket to a Preds game tough to come by.
While some have labeled Nashville a "non-traditional" hockey market, as each year passes, and hurdles have been overcome, it's looking more and more like the Predator brand of hockey is becoming a mainstay on the NHL scene.
Opening night is Saturday, October 9. This will be the year that much of the past "potential" will blossom and should provide Predator fans with the best season yet.
While things were rosy in Nashville, a really nasty rumor ran rampant last night that showed both the strength and flaws of the Twitterverse world of instant information.
A caller to ESPN radio in New York started a rumor said that Islander's goalie Rick DiPietro has been seriously injured in an auto accident. For about thirty minutes there were thousands of Tweets with no source to confirm or deny the alleged "information."
Fortunately, Katie Strang of Newsday was able to confirm that there was not an accident or injury in short order cutting off the head of the rumor before it spread further.
Thus, the flaw of Twitter was that bad information spread quickly, while the strength showed up just as well in disseminating the good information even quicker and ending the stir in Isles nation.
The most surprised person in the whole matter was DiPietro himself, who reportedly heard the rumor from a friend.
In Pred Nation...
Mark at The View from 111 has his usual thoughtful analysis of the road to the Predator owner crisis being resolved.
Forechecker takes a look at the battle for Predator roster positions and how the waiver rules may affect folks going back to the AHL.
Congrats to Section 303 for being a top three finalist in the blog category of The Toast of Nashville. We should find out today if they won.
For those who missed the Tom Cigarran hour on 104.5, here is a nice summary from MarkMM on HF Boards.
The Tennessean actual had a story about the Preds for the first time in over a week albeit by Brad Schrade discussing the financial side of yesterday's news.
The Milwaukee Admirals signed defenseman Scott Lehman to an AHL contact on Wednesday. Lehman was injured early last season which limited him to 11 games with the Chicago Wolves.
Michelle Kenneth feels like the Devils were Blindsided by the NHL. She explains at Inside Hockey.
Also at Inside Hockey Kevin Greenstein calls the NHL to task for invoking their power in the Kokalchuk case in a thoughtful, well written piece .
Matt Reitz make good points on why the NHLPA should not dispute the NHL's rejection of the Kovi contract. As Matt explains, almost every player in the league will lose money on the deal due to the escrow situation. Here is the older post from MC79 that Matt references.
Justin Bourne discusses where the line is to be drawn in long term contracts. It appears that the NHL felt it was crossed but may not have much ground in backing up their decision.
Devils insider, Speak of the Devs, interviews himself at View from My Seats. He actually refuses to answer one question.
Around the NHL...
After being fairly low key about her new position as the New York Islander's social media guru, Newsday put Dani Muccio front and center in a story about business use of Social Media. Dani is very modest, but is in reality, one of the top hands-on experts in the burgeoning field of Social Media Marketing.
Ryan at the RLD has the Top Five remaining free agents.
Bolts on Ice has a Twitter interview with Dan Ellis. Dan will be missed by Pred fans but already has captured the fancy of Bolts fans without having taken the ice.
Ryan Lambert of Two Line Pass/Puck Daddy fame has taken on the Tampa Bay Lightning as his home team away from home in an unusual twist. Here is his new blog about the Bolts.
Look for more accurate goalie equipment in this year's EA Sports NHL 11. A preview comes from Hockey or Die.
Congrats to Sarah Conners who has been named the web editor of the Glouchester Times. Sarah appeared on POTG radio a few times last year and has been a long-time fixture in our Twitter feed.
Dani Probert, wife of Bob Probert, sent a nice thank-you letter to all that was posted in the Windsor Star. Folks are always at their best at times like these.
Odds and Ends...
Do you want a BlackBerry app that reads your email to you as you drive down the road? Here is one. For twenty bucks you can also speak emails back to it.
The owners of the Puffy Muffin are sending 48 employees on an Alaskan cruise after they met "aggressive" sales goals during the economic downturn. Your rarely hear of a company doing anything this creative to meet their goals.
The North American Windsurfing Championships are in San Francisco this weekend. That would be fun to see.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass