After a long Summer off-season it's hard to believe that it is finally time for meaningful hockey to begin with four real-live regular season games on tap for tonight. Our season Predictions will come out in a separate post later today.
It is only fitting that the story that seemed like it would never end over the summer came to a fitting conclusion on the eve of the regular season just as the good Judge Redfield T. Baum promised in saying that he would make a decision before the season started.
The result was almost as bizarre as all the twist and turns on the proceedings and court room hearings were. Baum ruled that neither side would have the winning bid. Here is the full text of the ruling. Mark at The View from 111 has a good understandable explanation of the ruling so I won't try to do another one here.
Without getting real technical, Ballsillie is out and the NHL is back running the team looking for a new owner just like they were before the whole bankruptcy ordeal started. The NHL's ability to restrict ownership and location was not challenged. The City of Glendale was pleased as indicated by their statement here.
The biggest surprise of all was the release generated by Jim Ballsillie that indicated that he would not appeal. This was the first classy thing that RIM Jim has done since he became a household word when he first tried to buy the Penguins. I actually got a real nice email from Jim, himself thanking me for my support (uh huh!).
Not to be cynical but where will the next target be? The tone of the release sounds as if he is permanently throwing in the towel but considering his competitive nature, I find it hard to believe that he won't swoop in like a vulture when there is any sign of a team in trouble in the future.
Here's some other takes on the Coyotes ruling from the National Post, Puck Daddy, The Star, TSN, Five for Howling, Save the Coyotes, Canadian Press, The Waterloo Record, Arizona Republic, and the Globe and Mail. Macleans.ca has an extensive four pager that really digs deep into the story.
And to cap it off with a little humor, here's one version of a "Dear Jim" letter courtesy of Five for Howning.
The long awaited kick off of Hockey54.com by our friends Launy "The" Schwartz and "Hot Shot" Hockey Girl Dahlia Kurtz has finally come. The site is up and in it's infancy. Jackson and I will be contributors giving folks from the Greater Toronto Area a reason to believe that hockey can exists in a non-traditional market.
For the second day in a row it gives us another outlet to "spread the gospel of Predator hockey to the four corners of the hockey world," which is one of the primary goals of POTG.
For those in the GTA, everyone is invited to the gala kick off event tonight at Philthy McNasty's starting at 6 p.m. Admission is free and there will be an abundance of prizes to be given away. They will have the Leafs and the Habs on all the TVs so you won't miss the opening puck drop. If you go, you will enjoy meeting Launy and Dahlia. They are solid hockey people and really decent folks. Tell them Buddy said Hey!
Here's another long running story comeing to somewhat of a head on opening day.
Chris Botta was ahead of the curve reporting that Tom Scozzi will announce the signing of a lease agreement today that will but the Lighthouse project totally in the hands of the Town of Hempstead. This is another positive step in the process. Nick at Let There Be Light(house) has more.
In Predator Nation...
Everybody that's anybody (except for me and others who have to work) is headed to the Predators face Off Luncheon at The Wildhorse. I'm looking forward to hearing accounts from those in attendance.
The Predators finally set their opening day roster and formally signed Francis Bouillon. Here is our story from yesterday with the full text of the Preds release.
Section 303 has an analysis here. Jeremy has been the best of the blogs at covering the camp so he has good insight on the final moves.
AJ has Part 2 of his Gretzky story at Pull My (Fang) Finger.
Forechecker had this one that I missed from Fanhouse. They interviewed Barry Trotz and it is worth a look if you missed it.
Here's a look at the Pred's opening night opponent the Dallas Stars from Defending Big D.
Jackson and I have had our suspicions that Ellis might start against Dallas on Saturday since he has had good success against his old organization. Now Barry Trotz admits that he hasn't made a decision on opening night either.
Programming note from @predsradio: "Don't forget Predators Pre-Season Spotlight is on 10-1 at 8:30 pm and 10-3 at 6:30 pm. Fox Sports Tennessee."
The Milwaukee team has their roster fairly well set. Here is a look from Ads Short Shifts. A second post further analyzes their situation pointing out the strength of their defense.
Section 303 is still getting props from the Taylor Swift uniform photo session in this ESPN story.
Forechecker sent us to a Nashville Lifestyles story on Nashville's "Beautiful People." Steve Sullivan was included as was Kerry Collins from the Titans. I have no idea who all these other folks are.
From @brandon_felder: "Random scoop non-hockey related. Hearing Fulmer may be next head coach at Memphis." Could this be the start of "Football Buzz"?
Around the NHL...
The deadline is approaching for a chance to be able to purchase a pair of tickets for this year's Bridgestone Winter Classic on New Years Day in Fenway Park. If you are interested, go here and register before Monday's 10:59 a.m. Central deadline.
NHL Network announced their US schedule of 77 HD games and the Predators have one game at Anaheim on November 5. The first game is Friday night with the Rangers playing at Pittsburgh. This Saturday it will be wall to wall with four games starting with the early game in Europe at 11 a.m. Central.
Several New York Rangers presented the Top 10 on David Letterman last night. Ranger Crisis brings us the complete video.
This should be interesting to see if Gary will stick to the scheduled topics. @nhllive: "NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman returns on Thursday: Joe Sakic and Pierre Lacroix will join. NHL.com, XM 204, Sirius 208, 4 - 5 ET"
Puck The Media puts together a US Superschedule for all games on Versus, NHL Network, and NBC. Nine games are included in the first three days. They also have a post saying that the Center Ice Free Preview would be extended to three weeks for cable operators (not satellite).
For those scoring at home (and even for those who are by themselves, really bad) Slap Shot has put together a cheat sheet for folks who took the summer off and wants to know who changed teams.
Are Canadian's really the Uber-Hockey fans they think they are? Dahlia at Hockey 54 takes a look.
Ray Emery leads the list of Top Ten pre-seasons this year at The Hockey News.
With all the discussion about who does and doesn't have to go through waivers, I have not seen a good explanation. CapGeek has it figured out and can figure the waiver status of any player with their beta version of their waiver calculator.
Michelle Kenneth has an angle on the Mats Sundin retirement that no one else has considered. It's quite a scoop that was not reported anywhere else. Also, thanks to Michelle for the kudos for POTG.
Ryan at the RLD gives his predictions on this year's NHL Awards.
After a couple of days in the can due to Alaska internet issues, the new Rink Podcast #47 is posted.
Brian Metzer has pictures of the Pen's Championship rings for winning the cup last year.
Finally, British Open (Golf) Champion Stewart Cink had an interesting series of Tweets on why hockey players are the world's best athletes. Many folks think golf is the hardest sport to play at a top level so this really says something from one of the best golfers.
RT @stewartcink: Reason 1: Balance-Must compete at top speeds on ice sheet with threat of collision. Constantly altering edge interaction with surface.
Reason 2: Hand/eye coordination. Must use stick (not hands) to control oddly shaped, and bouncing, puck while avoiding opposing players.
Reason 3: Ice Awareness. Must be able to see all players at once and intuitively make split second decisions based on player movements.
Reason 4:Cardio/Strength/Fitness. Hard to say anyone is BETTER than soccer or basketball but hockey combines it with all previous factors.
Reason 5: Physical toughness, and I'm not talking about fighting. The hockey players take a beating and keep coming back for more.
Reason 6: Speed/Agility. A major advantage in almost every sport. Just the same with the NHL. Speed among top attributes determining skill.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass