Friday, August 31, 2007

Sharks extend Marleau

Words cannot begin to describe how exuberant I am now that TSN is reporting the extension of Patty Marleau to a two-year, $12.6 million deal that will keep him in teal until at least 2010. Two years is a bit short as the Sharks captain will still be 30 and presumably productive at the end of the contract, but another extension is obviously plausible. To echo Mike Chen's sentiments, I'm probably even happier the ridiculous trade rumors that saw Marleau go to Montreal for Ryder, Halak and a pick, Edmonton for Horcoff and Staios and a bevy of other NHL cities for cooked-up "offers" will finally cease. The annual cap hit will be $2.1 million greater than Marleau's current impact on the salary cap, which may inhibit the signing of an RFA or two come a year from now, especially if the team refuses to raise its internal budget. Regardless, however, this is a great day in Sharks history and, along with the extensions of Thornton and Michalek earlier this summer, should ensure that San Jose will be a Cup contender for years to come.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sharks announce broadcast schedule

In an official press release Tuesday, the Sharks released the FSN Bay Area broadcast schedule for the 2007-08 season. 70 of the Sharks' 82 games will be televised, with two additional games scheduled to appear on Versus. 40 of the Sharks' 41 home games, all but a November 12th tilt against Phoenix, will be televised by the network, along with 32 of 41 road games. 11 of the 70 games will be broadcast on FSN+, with two more beginning on FSN+ then being joined by FSN Bay Area's flagship station following that night's Golden State Warriors game. As previously reported, Drew Remenda will be returning to the broadcast booth as FSN Bay Area's Sharks color analyst after a one-year respite with the CBC.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ducklings to host Baby Sharks

In an official press release Saturday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that the team will be hosting a two-game series on September 8th and 9th that will pitt Ducks and Sharks prospects against each other. Presumably, the tournament is in part a replacement of the formerly annual Pacific Division Shootout, an event cancelled reportedly due to the regular-season games Anaheim and Los Angeles will play in London.

The Ducks announced their roster for the tournament, which includes 2005 No. 2 overall pick Bobby Ryan, 2007 first-round pick Logan MacMillan and brother of Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, Drew Miller, who might be one of the few players in the league considered a prospect despite having his name on the Stanley Cup. The Sharks have yet to make an official announcement regarding the tournament, let alone detailing their roster, but it's probably safe to say the lineup will include the likes of Logan Couture, Devin Setoguchi, Ty Wishart, Nick Petrecki and Thomas Greiss.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ice Bowl confirmed

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the first NHL outdoor game since the 2003 Heritage Classic saw the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens compete at an outdoor Alberta rink, has been all but confirmed. As expected, the Buffalo Sabres will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, on New Year's Day 2008. The game will be nationally televised on NBC, who reportedly commissioned the event as a result of failing to land a college football bowl game. This comes after the network attempted to arrange a meeting between the Rangers and Islanders at Yankee Stadium last New Year's, which was unsuccessful.

In other hockey-related news, Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated, who has been handing out grades to teams based on their off-season performance for a few weeks now, has a Pacific Division report card up. The Sharks receive a B- from Muir, which is understandable due to their relative lack of player addition, but the contract extensions to Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek and Craig Rivet (all but the Rivet deal arguably below market value, mind you) have to be taken into consideration. The Kings deservedly finish at the head of the Pacific Division class with an A-. While their horrendous goaltending situation will likely inhibit them from their first playoff berth in five years, what GM Dean Lombardi has been able to accomplish this summer without mortgaging the future (*cough*Kevin Lowe*cough*) is commendable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Regarding Mike Morris

Max Giese, a co-writer for Sharkspage, has an excellent piece up on Sharks prospect Mike Morris. Drafted 27th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Morris was considered a blue-chip prospect until a 2005 car accident hampered his development. However, the former Northeastern Huskies collegiate forward recently signed an entry-level deal with San Jose and is expected to report to training camp in September. Although it's unlikely he'll make the big club out of camp, he can expect solid minutes for Worcester and perhaps a call-up or two should injuries crop up. Anyway, a terrific read, I'd reccomend anyone interested in the Sharks' seemingly inexhaustible pipeline of young forwards to check it out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's official: Michalek re-signs

According to this Czech hockey server (and some helpful translation from Kukla), Milan Michalek, as reported earlier, has signed a 6-year, $26 million contract extension that will keep him in San Jose through the 2013-14 NHL season.

As I suggested previously, it looks like Derek Roy and Nathan Horton's identical 6-year, $24 million deals signed earlier this offsesason were used as comparables. The extra $2 million thrown in is probably to compensate any offer sheets Michalek could have received had he become an RFA July 1st, 2008.

UPDATE The Sharks beat writer for the Mercury News David Pollak is reporting that the deal has yet to have been entirely finalized, although he does mention the 6-year, $26 million extension reported on the Czech website.

UPDATE is reporting the extension and have confirmed that it is a 6-year, $26 million deal. Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail weighs in.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All aboard the Forsberg train

Hey, NHL teams! Has the salary cap, despite its significant increase, hamstrung you from making significant offseason additions? Is the local media as well as your fanbase calling for the heads of the members of your organization's front office as a direct byproduct of your offseason dormancy? Do you desire to provide fodder for the aforementioned media types to discuss as an attempt to divert them from scathing editorials extolling your incompetence? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have just the cure for your summertime anguish. Climb aboard the Forsberg train and see what our services have to offer!

By spreading a risk-free, noncommital rumor regarding your club's pursual of the oft-injured and declining, yet high-profile and inexplicably popular talent that is unrestricted free agent center Peter Forsberg, you'll be able to appease your rabid fans and critical reporters. How exactly am I to plant such a rumor, you ask? Unless you're the Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers or Nashville Predators, the three teams Forsberg has played for in his NHL career, and therefore already have a basis upon which to spread such a rumor, you're going to have to start from scratch.

If you're like most NHL teams, it's fairly probable that you have a Swedish player in your lineup, or at least playing for your minor league affiliate. As it is a self-evident truth that Forsberg, being a Swede, is intrinsically connected to every active Swedish hockey player (It's true!), you should be able to base your otherwise baseless rumor upon that very connection. The percentage of this scheme imploding in your face is exponentially decreased if you are successful at coaxing that player into proclaiming his desire to play with Forsberg to the very media you plan to circumvent! Because, hey, it's quite plausible that every professional athlete loves to be both overshadowed by a player that is a shell of his former self and have his team's season become a sideshow with that very player being the centerpiece!

What's that? Your Norris-winning Swedish superstar is on record saying he barely knows, let alone is in an active friendship with, Forsberg? Come on, that kind of paranoia will get you nowhere in this league! What's the chance anyone possibly remembers that? Your final step in creating the rumor, before planting it in the media, is sufficiently covering yourself should, in fact, the plan backfire. While there's a chance (greater than the chance of Mike Myers' hockey-related movie succeeding, but significantly less than the chance of Rick Tocchet not crawling back to the Phoenix bench by Christmas) Forsberg will indeed sign with your club, there's probably a better chance of him signing with another team in pursuit of his services, playing out the string with MoDo in Sweden or retiring altogether. In order to prevent any of that nasty negative press when Forsberg ends up signing with a rival or decides to throw in the towel after your near assurance of his impending arrival to town, make sure to throw in a comment regarding his health status or that his elusive and drawn out "decision-making process" may lead to him pursuing a different offer.

After sufficiently padding your story, whisper the rumor into the waiting ear of a media type. We reccomend Eklund. With his credibility in the eyes of the online hockey community rapidly declining, it's quite possible you will receive monetary compensation in return for this "insider" information. Once Eklund stirs the pot, leak the rumor to a mainstream outlet and watch your Forsberg-related rumor sizzle. Within days, your previously-furious fans and formerly-ridiculing media will adore you for your competetive pursuit of the Swedish star. If all else fails and your fanbase sees through your blatant lies, don't worry. Just take a page from fellow front-office czar Darcy Regier of the Buffalo Sabres and, despite an off-season in which your club maintained the status quo or even lost the team's most important players to the clutches of conference competitors, simply raise ticket prices. That'll give them something other than your free agent-related incompetence to repine about!

Report: Michalek extension in works

According to an article on, apparently a one-stop shop for all your Czech hockey-related needs, player agent Allen Walch, who has represented a multitude of Czech talent, including Martin Havlat and Patrik Elias, claims that San Jose management is finalizing a contract extension for burgeoning 22-year-old forward Milan Michalek, who would otherwise become an RFA (and susceptible to offer sheets) July 1st, 2008.

As the entire website is in Czech, it's largely incomprehensible, but apparently something along the lines of "within a few days, all will be announced" was stated by Walch. Michalek, in just his second full season in the NHL, was last year's "best buy" in terms of dollars per point as he scored 26 goals and 66 points on a line with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo for league-minimum salary. A rather interesting anomaly regarding Michalek's production last season was that he scored 22 points in his first 20 games of the season and 25 points in his final 20 contests, yet just 19 points in the 37 games he participated in between those two segments. Had he produced throughout the entire season at the 1.175 points-per-game clip he churned out during the bookends of the campaign, Michalek would have been 14th in league scoring with 92 points, rather than the still impressive 66 he wound up with. With fantasy hockey season approaching, those numbers are likely as important to poolies as they will be in Michalek's contract negotiations.

Regardless, the best-case scenario for Sharks fans would be a contract similar to what New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise signed as an RFA earlier this summer for 4 years at $3.125/year. Michalek/Walch's side is likely to push for a deal similar to what Florida Panthers winger Nathan Horton and Buffalo Sabres center Derek Roy received, both six-year contracts worth $4 million a season. However, a contract in that ballpark may actually be preferrable as it eats two of Michalek's UFA years. I'll be sure to update on this situation when official word regarding the terms of the contract are known.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Prison bell tolls

Former Shark Mark Bell, traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Vesa Toskala on June 22nd in exchange for first and second round picks in the 2007 entry draft and a fourth-rounder in '09, was sentenced to six months jail time in a Santa Clara County prison due to a hit-and-run felony and DUI in San Jose that occurred during Labor Day weekend 2006, according to Sportsnet.

Bell was a flop in his only season in teal, perhaps due to the mental toll involved with the hit-and-run, which he pleaded guilty to. GM Doug Wilson was presumably pleased to rid himself of the three years and $6.5 million remaining on Bell's contract, but it remains to be seen whether the cap hit will be taken off Maple Leafs books altogether should the NHL suspend him for the 2007-08 season. I'm also unsure as to whether there is a stipulation in the CBA that removes the cap hit for an incarcerated player.

In other Sharks news, has posted training camp schedules for all 30 teams and it appears that the Sharks will set up shop at Logitech Ice in San Jose on September 13th.

UPDATE According to the Toronto Star, the six-month sentence may be the least of Bell's problems as crash victim Jose Luis Villafana has filed a lawsuit seeking "unlimited" damages. Villafana's lawyer Samuel Samaniego is quoted by the Star as saying "We've sued in Superior Court for unlimited. Basically that means we're going to be going for everything." Ouch. To add insult to injury, while Bell will be serving the sentence over the next two off-seasons, it seems that, according to Mirtle, Maple Leafs fans are speculating Bell will be suiting up for the Marlies rather than the Buds.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sharks re-sign Patzold

Per the San Jose Sharks' official website, Sharks management has apparently finally gotten around to re-signing restricted free agent goaltender Dmitri Patzold to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal have yet to surface.

If all goes as planned, the Sharks will be the only team in the NHL with two goalies from Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan on their roster for the 2007-08 season, with Patzold temporarily slated to backup Evgeni Nabokov, likely due to support from late Sharks' goaltending coach Warren Strelow, who stated last season that Patzold was ready for an NHL No. 2 job. The 24-year-old is likely to face competition for the backup job from Thomas Greiss and perhaps even Taylor Dakers. Patzold's AHL numbers last season with Worcester aren't exactly reassuring, as he compiled a 3.35 goals-against average and an .888 save percentage to go along with a 10-8-3 record.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So long, Ek

The prince of offsides, the king of choke, the sultan of soft -- whatever you want to call him, he's former Shark Nils Ekman (his first name is actually Nisse -- who knew?) and according to various internet reports, he'll be playing for Khimik Mytischi (say that three times fast...okay, so it's not that hard) of the Russian Super League next year, fueling speculation that in Soviet Russia, "Ekman don't go offsides, offsides go Ekman" or something like that.

Now that I've ridiculed the guy enough, I have to say he isn't as bad as he's made out to be by the Sharks fanbase and San Jose media (then again, few players -- save for Mark Bell -- truly are). In fact, he had above-average footspeed and showed great hands during his tenure with the Sharks and it could be argued (by delusional fools) that he was somewhat responsible for Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo clicking. While that's far from the truth, on the nights that he did show up, he was able to make positive contributions to the team.

But that's the problem. He seldom showed up. Ekman had a penchant for staying as far away from the net as possible and rarely did the dirty work in the corners, forcing either Thornton or Cheechoo to dig out the puck. He also pulled tremendous disappearing acts in both the San Jose playoff runs he was involved in. But I will give the guy credit -- he was far more effective on the Thornton--Cheechoo line that Mark Bell was, for whatever it's worth and, to my knowledge, Ekman always employed a designated driver. That can't be said about his replacement, Bell.

Ekman was jettisonned from San Jose long before Bell's DUI, however, traded along with goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Carolina's second-round draft pick, which the Pens acquired in the Mark Recchi trade deadline deal in '06, which was then traded along with the Toronto Maple Leafs' first-round pick (acquired in the Vesa Toskala deal) on Draft Day 2007 for the St. Louis Blues' 9th overall pick, used to draft Logan Couture. Anyway, Ekman was reasonably effective during his tenure with the Penguins, even playing on Sidney Crosby's wing for a few games and scoring a natural hat trick against his other former team, Tampa Bay, but his time in black and yellow was cut short by a separated shoulder.

A UFA July 1st, there were message board rumblings that Ekman may return to Tealtown for his second tour of going offsides duty with the Sharks, but in the end, Russia came calling (because nobody else did) and it's there that the Swedish Mike Comrie will earn his (tax-free) salary, thankfully for Ekman, a world away from Chris Pronger. Good riddance, Ekman, and good luck (with removing the blueline).

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Vrbata-for-Adams blockbuster

Just when Chicago Blackhawks GM Dave Tallon seems to be showing some managerial progress, he goes out and pulls a trade like this.

Now I realize Radim Vrbata isn't exactly an elite talent and, given his track record, it isn't difficult to gauge that he easily wears out his welcome, but this is the same player who tore up the NHL early last season to the tune of three goals and eleven points in the first eight games of the 2006-07 campaign while playing on the Hawks' top line with Michal Handzus and Martin Havlat. Granted, he was essentially MIA after Handzus and Havlat's respective injuries, but this is clearly a guy with a lot of skill.

Chicago posted the second-fewest goals in the NHL and swapping a player who can put up numbers for Kevyn Adams who, while an effective checker and above-average faceoff man, will never be confused with Sidney Crosby on the scoresheet. And, besides, regardless of the quality of player, was it smart to trade a winger for a center on a team that already boasts (I use that term in the loosest way possible) Robert Lang, Jonathan Toews, Yannic Perreault and Patrick Sharp down the middle. Also, did I mention Adams was available on waivers just weeks ago?

Despite Adams' alleged multitude of intangible contributions, I think it's safe to say Tallon and co., especially if Sergei Samsonov doesn't pan out (and who really expects Samsonov to pan out?), will be regretting this trade.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Versus schedule announced

Steve over at Battle of New York posted a copy of the Versus broadcast schedule for the upcoming season that he managed to get his hands on. Entering the third year of its partnership with the NHL, the network will televise 54 games in addition to the NHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition in January. Some facts about the schedule:

--The Sharks will be on twice, both away games, one on October 29th at Dallas and exactly three months later on January 29th at Edmonton, on the first day of post-All-Star game play.

--Interestingly enough, there are far more broadcasts both involving Canadian teams and in Canadian cities than the two previous years of the partnership. 13 games involve Canadian teams, eight of those with the Canadian team at home.

--The broadcast schedule kicks off in London, where Versus will televise the second game of the Ducks/Kings back-to-back on September 30th at 9AM Pacific Time. No word on whether NBC will be picking up the game on the 29th.

--A game on April 1st is ambiguously titled "VERSUS Choice Game," likely a similar scenario to the "flex schedules" NBC plans to employ in which the marquee teams (or, as it is an April game, the contest with the greatest playoff implications) are televised.

--The Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche have the most games on Versus, with eight apiece, followed closely by the Buffalo Sabres at seven. Buffalo and Pittsburgh generated the highest market ratings for Versus telecasts last season, so it's no surprise they comprise a large portion of the broadcast schedule.

--The Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Phoenix Coyotes are tied for the lowest number of telecasts, with one apiece. Can't say I'm surprised with much of this group as the three small-market Canadian teams are predictably shafted, but you would think that the Kings would get a little more airtime, although I suppose VS believes the Ducks will draw just as many viewers from the L.A. market.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Great Exodus of '07

If you were to believe everything you read on hockey blogs and websites this off-season, the sense that the sky is falling over the heads of the NHL and hockey community in general would certainly be palpable. Sentiments like "Why are the big-market teams once again dominating free agency?," "Did we really lose an entire season to develop a CBA this flawed?" and "Is Kevin Lowe mentally deficient?" are common questions pondered by many a hockey writer regarding what is, in their minds, the rapidly declining state of the game.

So if these issues are being tossed out there as signs of the hockey armageddon, the exodus of mid-level and lower-tier talent to Russia has the potential to significantly hurt the league. We've all heard of Alexei Yashin's departure by now, but several other players have either signed or are considering signing with a Russian Super League team next season. Randy Robitaille, Oleg Saprykin, Jamie McLennan, Jussi Markkanen and Dmitry Afanasenkov have already broadcasted their intent to play in Russia next year, while Danny Markov and Oleg Tverdovsky are considering their options, both of whom are reportedly close to returning to their native Russia.

While it's true that Saprykin probably wasn't going to win any Hart Trophies and there likely weren't any Vezinas in Markkanen's future, many prognosticators predicted that the CBA would take a toll on the lower-tier and some middle-level players like the Robitailles, Saprykins and Afanaseknovs of the league. While you could make the argument that these players (all of whom except Robitaille, McLennan and Markkanen are Russian) wanted to return to their homeland, it was reported that Saprykin in particular and likely all other players would make more money in tax-free Russia than playing for a North American NHL team. The situation with the goaltenders Markannen and McLennan is unique as there is a dwindling amount of spots open on NHL teams for journeymen backups.

These players certainly aren't the bread and butter of NHL teams, but are still vital cogs in third- and fourth-line roles and their losses are detrimental to the quality of the league as a whole, as their spots will likely be filled by league-minimum, low-skill level players. While the NHL surely won't be giving up its title as the greatest hockey league in the world in the forseeable future as superstar Russians like Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk will be continue to be paid far more in North America than they could ever dream of being compensated in Russia, losing players to European establishments as a result of lack of compensation due to a CBA that essentially stipulates the overpayment of higher-level players (think the Flyers couldn't have afforded to re-up Afanasenkov with the $2 million more they paid Scott Hartnell than what a player of his numbers actually deserves?), this could present (yet another) grave problem for the league sometime in the future.

UPDATE Hours after I post this, it seems Boston Bruins forward Stanislav Chistov is contemplating playing in Russia (story found via Kukla) as well, most likely for the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk who he played for during the lockout.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Regarding offer sheets

Good riddance, Dustin Penner.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the 25-year-old power forward who will be making "Scott Hartnell money" (never thought I'd say that) for the next five years under Krazy Kevin Lowe's regime in Edmonton thanks to Brian Burke's refusal to match an offer sheet tendered by Lowe, scored six goals in eight games against the Sharks last year, mostly thanks to a San Jose defense that simply couldn't move him away from the front of the net.

But if I am to suspend my glee at the thought that the Sharks now only need to face Penner four times a year rather than eight, I suppose it's time to look at RFA offer sheets as a whole. While the literature on usually consists of stories regarding assistant coach Tim Hunter's fishing exploits and Steve Bernier's enthralling three-day vacation in New York coupled with his craving for French-Canadian dish Poutine that is hindered by his diet, Sharks radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky has an insightful op-ed article up regarding this very subject.

While he looks at the situation with obligatory teal-colored shades ("It seems the San Jose Sharks are pretty well set up for success in this new universe..." even though they have seven players set to become RFAs next year, most of whom are worth a "grossly overpaid," to quote Burke, offer sheet), he points out that the "subtle result" of Burke failing to match will increase the propensity for GMs to hand out offer sheets once managers realize that the tag-on to what a player's market value actually is (a.k.a. Penner isn't worth "Scott Hartnell money" -- hell Scott Hartnell isn't worth Scott Hartnell money, but that's a topic to be broached a different time -- but is offered more in an attempt to secure his services) is simply a "premium" that Rusanowsky compares with stock options and shares tendered by "multinational businesses conducting an executive talent search."

So will there be more offer sheets in the future? Well, at least according to Dan, yes, once GMs pick up on the fact that what appears to be an inflated contract is necessary to procure a player. But I think scenarios such as the one the Ottawa Sun predicted with the Toronto Maple Leafs throwing a league-maximum, long-term contract at Jason Spezza when he becomes an RFA next year is probably metered out by the amount of draft picks they would have to cough up in compensation, especially in this day and age under a CBA that (supposedly) puts a greater emphasis on drafting. I think Rusanowsky brings up an excellent point that a "premium" is automatically added to the salaries of those tendered offer sheets and this needs to be gauged by GMs in arbitration cases. For example, if Kings forward Mike Cammalleri, who was involved in such a case yesterday, cites the Penner deal to the arbiter and discusses how he almost scored twice as many points as him should be rebuffed by Lombardi through the concept of a "premium" tag-on to Penner's true market worth.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Predators sale solves little

First off, I'd like to extend my congratulations to the organizers of Nashville's "Our Team" rally which undoubtedly had an impact on the team's sale to a Nashville investors group earlier today. And enough people have covered the logistics and details of the deal as well as the investors group, which, according to Mirtle, includes former San Jose Sharks minority owner Williams "Boots" Del Biaggio, who will give up his stake in the Sharks. But building on what Adam Proteau of the Hockey News essentially stated in his blog today when he voiced his concern over how the situation involving a local group seems eerily familiar to "The Spirit of Winnipeg" investors coalition that made a pitch to buy the Jets before they were eventually moved to Phoenix.

While a binding letter of intent by former Preds owner Craig Leipold (who, as an aside, is apparently looking into purchasing the Minnesota Wild), seems to put to rest those conceptions, it makes sense to raise the question "What's next?" in regards to the team's future in Nashville. Yes, they switched owners and will remain in Nashville, but no matter how saintly 36 Venture Capital LLC may seem to the people of Nashville, they are not a charity, which leads me to believe they, like Leipold, will not, and should not have to, tolerate a team that is not financially viable in its current market.

Yes, the aforementioned "Our Team" rally was a tremendous success in selling season tickets, but who were the consumers? From the articles I read regarding the event, they ranged from blue-collar workers to 12-year-old kids forsaking plasma TVs to keep the Preds in Music City, and nowhere in between were corporate supporters. As long as Nashville lacks significant sponsors, even if it is to hit the vaunted 14,000 seat total, it's unlikely the team will be turning profits in its current state.

That's where Del Biaggio comes in. The California venture capitalist previously purchased the rights to either move an existing NHL team or acquire an expansion franchise to play in the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Assuming in the long term -- and one imagines 2-3 years in the red will raise some eyebrows among David Freeman and co. -- the team continues to struggle financially, a move to Kansas City is still very plausible and in fact probable. However, today is still a glorious turn in the young history of the Predators and, for now, ends the tiresome Summer soap opera the selling of the franchise regressed into.

Remenda Returns

So what if the Sharks failed to re-sign Scott Hannan? Who cares that Doug Wilson didn't make many drastic changes to improve the team this year? What does it matter that the Stanley Cup is now a distant gleam on the horizon? The Sharks fans' world has exponentially improved with official news that popular broadcaster and former assistant coach Drew Remenda is returning to his role in the booth as Randy Hahn's color analyst on FSN broadcasts, a role he relinquished to Marty McSorley last season to pursue a job with the CBC.

The contract is reportedly three years and stipulates that Remenda host magazine-style show "Shark Byte." According to the press release, Remenda has won three Bay Area Emmy Awards (for what that's worth) and also spent three seasons prior to his TV job working the radio with Dan Rusanowsky.