The Nashville shuffle
If the Nashville Predators are not sold by June 30, which seems unlikely now, sources say club owner Craig Leipold is prepared to vastly trim his player payroll next season, even if it means dismantling a Stanley Cup contender.
The Predators are considered one of the deepest organizations in the NHL but the fire sale could begin as early as July 1 when marquee free agents such as Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya could be jettisoned.
... Rodier said he had been told that NHL governors don't traditionally hold meetings during the summer and that he assumed the next available time would come in September. What that means is Leipold will be directing the club's hockey operations department and setting the budget for the forthcoming season.If Leipold does decide to employ what the Post calls a "scorched-earth tactic," things could get awfully ugly next season in Nashville. It's a potential ploy that leaves the NHL governors in a situation where it makes sense to okay the sale sooner rather than later, or risk the sideshow that a mass sell off would create throughout the 2007-08 season.
Leipold and Balsillie likely made an agreement before the purchase deal whereby the outgoing owner would activate the team's escape clause, something that came to fruition on Friday, and I don't see why the club's potential dismantling wouldn't have also been agreed upon beforehand.
In other words: The governors can approve the deal, or be prepared for things to get messy on the ice.
And it strains the limits of credulity to say that the fans would be able to buy up 14,000 tickets per game for a team that's in the toilet.