The biggest news in hockey for the past couple of days has been about the sale of the Nashville Predators to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie. If you remember, Balsillie is the same gentleman who put in a bid to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins, but quickly withdrew his offer when the league office said that they would not approve the moving of the franchise to another city. So if you can add 2 plus 2, what does that tell you about this deal? That suddenly Balsillie changed his mind about moving the team he buys? I don't think so. Part of this agreement states that the team can not be moved until after this season. After that, all bets are off. The sad part of all of this of course is that the Nashville fans will end up heartbroken, like the fans of other franchises that have moved. Of course, the blame will be put on their backs as well. The "hockey doesn't belong in the south" pundits will be coming out of the woodwork like cockroaches coming out after dark, totally disregarding the southern success stories like Dallas, Tampa Bay, and yes, I'll say it...Carolina!
The big question is, if you are a Predator season ticketholder what do you do? Spend thousands of dollars this season to support an owner who will just be pocketing the money and using it to probably leave in a year? Or hold back on buying tickets and watch as you get crucified in the press for not supporting your team? You're damned if you do and damned if you don't in this scenario Pred fans, but I guess if you love your hockey you're better off to just buy your tickets and enjoy watching while you still can.
There has been some Hurricanes news during the past couple of days as well. In yesterday's paper, Glen Wesley was quoted as saying he'd love to play another year. Jim Rutherford said that Wesley is a "special" circumstance and could probably play here as long as he wants to. I guess all that's left is the contract offer and signing. While Wesley has certainly lost a few steps, I believe he is still valuable on the penalty kill. As long as he's properly used, he'll be worth the million dollar contract he'll be signing. After he signs, Carolina will have 8 defensemen under contract, the same crew as last year minus Tanabe and Babchuk. Considering that Tanabe was actually one of the better defensemen at times last year, that isn't going to give many Caniacs a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. We'll talk more about the defense in detail and what I think needs to be done next week. Speaking of Babchuk, it was also reported that Rutherford is seeking to trade him. The asking price.... a second round draft pick. Good luck! We'll be lucky to get a 3rd rounder.
Also in the news today was more information about the Scott Walker negotiations. Walker's agent was quoted as saying the two sides are pretty close, but he feels the Canes have under-valued his client. The 3 year offer remains on the table, but Rutherford made it clear that when July 1st comes around he won't be waiting for a reply, he'll be shopping for the best players that are available. It seems to me that if both sides are close, they should be able to get something done before July 1st. Maybe someone will blink before the other within the next month.
Finally, there was a juicy rumor floating around out there that I LOVE! Eklund is reporting that the Canes are interested in Nashville's Kimmo Timonen. While of course you can't take any of Eklund's rumors at face value, just the thought of this is enough to make any Cane's fan drool. A top notch defenseman would make a huge difference to this team. As I said earlier, we'll talk more about this next week along with another big announcement for CanesCountry. I'm going to the mountains for the weekend. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!