Nashville Owner Claws Canadian Press

In an article in the Nashville City Paper, Predators owner Craig Leipold takes a swipe at the contraction and relocation rumors that constantly dog the PredatorsBy Mark McGee, Sports Correspondent

July 29, 2005

“CP: Not to dwell on the negative, but how frustrating was it to constantly have the Predators mentioned as a team that might be lost because of possible contraction when you were involved in almost all of the meetings?

Leipold: Canadian reporters were always talking about it. All of the bad raps against us are contributed to somebody in a Canadian market. Let’s face it. Canada is still upset that Nashville has a hockey team. That’s just the way it is, and we have to live with that. Logic, common sense says I would not be on the executive committee, the audit committee or the negotiating committee if anybody was thinking that Nashville would be contracted. It was never discussed. It was a non-possibility. It was frustrating because I know where ground zero of where those rumors always started. If the sun shines, you can’t have hockey. I’m a little bitter about that. I’m tired of hearing about it. Dallas is accepted as an NHL franchise. They are successful on the ice with a good program. That is what we are trying to do here. San Jose is not discussed. Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup. I think there will be stability in that market. Once we have some winning seasons and the fans stay with us like they did the first couple of years this market is going to be one of the best in the National Hockey League. “

I have to agree that when posting about the team it seems there is a lack of respect for the location of the team that has nothing to do with the solid ownership, and the team taking a consevative and calculated building program based around drafting rather than free spending. The team is poised to make some solid moves to go further in the playoffs than the last run, and is positioned well to be active in the free agent market.

I am interested in response to the above quote, and opinions on the franchise based on what it actually has done to position itself for the future.

34 Responses to Nashville Owner Claws Canadian Press

  1. habswinthecup-again says:

    Nashville, Annaheim, Florida, Columbus, Carolina, & either NYI or N.J( just one of them), all these teams should be gone from the NHL. Oh yeah throw in Tampa Bay too.

  2. leafscrushsensintomush says:

    Who cares about Nashville, thank Bettman for putting the team in a crap hockey city like that! Not to mention a few others. Nashville should stick to Elvis bobble-heads and crappy country music jamborees!!

  3. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I have to agree with him. Personally, I don’t like Nashville, and I could do without them in the NHL…but alot of times people seem to think a team shouldn’t exist because of where it’s located. Dallas have been a top team in the NHL since they re-located, Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup, San Jose has been a playoff team for afew years now…As long as team is making progress and improving, I have no problem where they’re located.

    What I don’t like, are teams like Florida, who come into the league and are consistantly bad. They’ve been in the NHL going on 12 years now, and aside from one run to the Stanley Cup in 1996, have done nothing. That is what gets annoying. I don’t like most of the expansion teams, and could do without anyone who came in after 1994, but it’s not fair to judge a team based on where they’re located. As long as they have a stable franchise, it doesn’t matter where they play.

  4. NjDEVSFN says:

    being successful by drafting rather than free spending

    sounds a lot like the New Jersey Devils; however, the Devils spent $ on players that needed (and deserved) to be paid

    with the new economics, Nashville should be able to do the same

    we’ll have to wait and see…it would be good for them to at least make the playoffs this season

  5. mikster says:

    I believe this new CBA will turn things around for the next 6 years in regards with teams like the Panthers, Ducks…. Preds.

    The only team that i really want to see move is Carolina. The others are more than welcome to stay.

  6. shotnthdark says:

    I don’t think any of the current teams should be contracted or relocated. The new CBA will provide more parity, and will require smart management as opposed to loose pursestrings. I am from the southern US, and have been a hockey fan since I was about 7 years old. Now, I realize that not everyone around my area has the same enthusiasm, but I do know that people will pay to see a quality product. When the Hurricanes got to the finals in 2002, EVERY home game was packed, and the fans completely enthralled. With the playing field as level as we are ever likely to see it, we’ll have to see what happens, but for those who endlessly discount hockey in non-traditional markets, (for lack of a better phrase) get over it. It IS NOT ruining the game. Toe Blake is not rolling over in his grave. The only thing that matters is that the NHL is back, and we do not have to endure another spring lacking the quest for the Stanley Cup.

  7. Kashin says:

    It doesn’t matter how smart you are. Lou Lamorello is a genius and Glen Sather isnt. But the rangers probably make more money then the devils do because of the fan base and that they are the number one team. Success on the ice isnt the end game for making money. Obviously you make more money and get a larger fan base when you win, but if you are mediocre and you arent in a big market you wont do as well.

  8. flyers_rule_leafs_suck says:

    There are six teams that i would get rid of and never let back in the NHL cause these six team will never ever win a cup again and those 6 teams are the Maple Leafs, Canadians, Senators, Canucks, Oilers and Flames. Once those 6 teams are gone and there’s only american teams in the nhl, then the game can be great!

  9. habfan1160 says:

    As a Canadian, I have never really been in favour of contraction. It will only signal that the NHL is a weak league and may give negative signals to investors because of questions regarding the viability of the NHL. Moreover, if we use the same logic as we do with Nashville than the Blackhawks must fold due to paltry attendance, no local TV deal, and a poor product on the ice. No one’s saying that Chicago must go however.

    What people must realize is that the sport of hockey will take time to grow in the non-traditional hockey markets. Patience is required, for a period of at least 15 to 20 years, to hopefully see the realization of a strong hockey market. The negativity surrounding the NHL in the media and among die-hard fans will only hinder the process. We all must look at the positives of the NHL and promote those positives. Moreover, the NHL has shot itself in foot by having two lengthy work stoppages in the last 10 years. Any momentum carried by the Rangers Stanley Cup win was irrevocably lost along with the momentum of Tampa Bay winning the Cup two years ago. In short, the NHL will not be an instant success and significant time will be a required element for building a fan base, which will only be eroded by negativity and work-stoppages.

  10. atleastihavegolf says:

    so what is chicago’s excuse?

    since florida’s cup run, both teams have mae the playofs twice, have averaged the same number of points each year, but florida draws about 1500 more fans per game.

    as it stands today, i think florida’s future looks alot brighter.

  11. Kamakaze says:

    Being a New Jersey fan and resident, it’s hard to see my team not get much respect or fan base. I think there are a lot of factors though, our poor arena and it’s location, are HUGE. Most arenas are in big cities, near a large transit system or where people can easily gain access to. The Devils arena is off a highway, and traffic on game night is sick. It’s not fun, and it’s expensive. With a new arena, I think it will be HUGE for the Devils.

    As for other strange hockey cities, Phoenix has been doing well, so has Nashville, Columbus, Dallas, (finally) Tampa and Minnesota, and I look to see improvement from teams like Atlanta, Calgary, San Jose.

    Most of those teams are somewhat young, and some only recently put together rosters that are acceptable, but I think perhaps a team or two might help the league overall, if for nothing else but to thicken the talent base a bit…

    A team like Florida, or Carolina, they aren’t in good markets, and haven’t put together a good team in a long time. I’d say the league sans- two teams would be great, but who goes, that’s a tough call…

  12. shotnthdark says:

    I cannot comment on Florida, but I can comment on Carolina…There is nothing wrong with the market…Of course putting a mediocre team in a new market is not good, but when they do well, they draw…Look at the attendance problems the Devils have had, despite all their success, and only so much of that can be attributed to what you mentioned (which plague more arenas then just the Devils’). Ask anyone who played for the Devils during the 2002 playoffs how weak the market in Carolina is…When is the last time Boston was above 20th in the leauge in season attendance, and look at their history…

  13. habs_punk says:

    Then we get our own Canadian league, and just think about how good your nhl will be without the Canadian players in it.

  14. Serdy says:

    Well first hes labelling us as all Canadian who dont believe in the nashville predators, and never someone south of the border, so isnt he making a blind assumption just like those who dont like the predators yet dont know anything about them.

    “if the sun shines you cant have hockey.” Give me a break buddy, geez labelling canadians once again as if the sun is up 1 hour of the day here.

    I personally dont care if nashville stays or goes, and i never believed they were, or deserved to be contracted. It is the same everywhere except for maybe Toronto where you can have a terrible team and still pack the arena. I know I took his words a little out of context because im sure he knows that the sun does shine up here, but he could have articulated his words a little better if he wanted to really get his point across. And I dont really ever see anything about Nashville contracting, and I read the Toronto Star every day. The only thing I ever read in there is the obvious “Atlanta, TB, Nashville, Columbus have terrible attendance” never really anything about contraction.

  15. shotnthdark says:

    I agree that the way he worded his displeasure was far from ideal…At best, it will agitate people, at worst, it will cause more anti-Nashville comments…As I said before, I am American, and from the southern part of the US…I love the game, and have a healthy respect for the heritage of the game…We all know the Habs or the Leafs could be wrapping up an 0-82 season, and still have people packed in all corners of the arena…Unfortunately, all markets do not have that luxury…Any market that has a generation grow up with the game will become stronger, and passing the game down to a new generation makes the bond with the game stronger…Ok, enough hallmark crap, just a p.o.v.

  16. greatlife15 says:

    Leipold is on crack isn’t he? Why in the world would Canada be mad at the fact that Nashville (gotta love that country music) has a hockey team??? Oh ya, Canadian media is just so horrifying. American media comments on Bush’s weight, and page number on which he is in Harry Potter, some how that manages to make Top News in CNN… Grow a brain Lei..

  17. mikeribeiro says:

    – Bring back the Jets from Phoenix…..

    – 2 teams in Florida is too much…just keep one

    – 2 teams in Calif is too much…just keep one

    – 3 teams in N.Y is too much…just keep one

  18. Prynce says:

    jesus christ are u people dumb.

    Florida should lose its team, and so should Carolina.

    They didnt even fill the stadium when Carolina made the finals!!

    San Jose and Columbus deserve to keep their teams, because they have enough fans. It’s all their cities have.

    Winnipeg and Quebec should get their teams back.

    Hamilton should have a team as well. They have over a million people and could easily support a team. Toronto, Detroit and Buffalo would have a fit since its in the middle of them all tho.

    But to the guy who said that The Canadian teams should be gone, he’s a *****ing idiot. Without us the NHL is dead. Simple as that. Toronto is the only team that didnt want a cap. Why? Because we were doing fine. Every other team was losing money. Toronto is the center of the hockey world, regardless of what you want to think.

  19. Ace_Bailey says:

    Well, if you think about it, hockey can be compared to economics 101. One word you need to know is inflation. When inflation occurs, it means that things are expanding and the economy is doing well. But the businesses that manage inflation don’t want too much because the balloon will burst resulting in too much product and not enough demand. This is where hockey comes in and the contraction arguement begins. Because there’s just so much hockey (in terms of teams and players), there’s not enough demand for the sport, therefore there’s no need to continue expansion. Case and point Columbus, Nashville etc.

    Like Hitler, the NHL expanded too far too quickly, thus having to deal with very poor economic health where the rich teams could no longer compensate for the poor.

    Another reason I’m for contraction is that teams will have a better chance of becoming successful. Why? More star players to go around. Less teams mean more star hockey players on each team, especially with a new CBA such as this one.

  20. Flyer_Dman says:

    There are 3 teams in California.

  21. Flyer_Dman says:

    Yea right. Keep dreaming.

  22. shotnthdark says:

    Man, sounds to me like you have anger issues…I also offer the rebuttal of the arena in Carolina not being full during the finals…Being present at each and every playoff game, I never saw empty seats, and there certainly was no lack of enthusiam, as well as the actual numbers themselves…Your only argument seems to be “toronto is the center of the hockey universe”, which nobody has tried to deny…And every other team but the Leafs was losing money? Right…I think most of your anger is just the remaining sting from the Hurricanes sending the Leafs home early in 2002…

    And I don’t bash Canada, or it’s heritage, but there are reasons that the Jets and Nordiques moved, like it or not…

  23. rojoke says:

    I can see why he’d be pissed off. We know the game needs to grow in the US for the league to be successful, and all some people can talk about is taking teams out of US cities, period! Thank God they’re not running the league.

    People continually talk about contraction like it’s the simplest thing to do. But look at baseball. They wanted to contract two teams, just two, and they couldn’t get that done. What makes you think that Gary can just hold a conference call and ask for volunteers to walk the plank? Guess what? Ain’t happenin’!

    For starters, it will take big bucks to buy back, not simply revoke, a franchise. Since the last round of expansion cost investors $80 million per, it will cost, minimum, $125 million to buy them out and make them go away. Of course, there’s always the slight possibility that they could be persuaded to join another league, like the AHL. Just before the IHL folded, some teams left and joined the ECHL, such as Long Beach and San Diego. But with 27 teams in the AHL right now, and going to 29 in 2006, they’re probably not going to have room to accomodate six teams. The AHL has long rebuffed the idea of having independent teams in the league. And teams will not want to drop from the NHL to the ECHL or lower. The only other option would be to form a new league, or possibly become the basis of the WHA version 3.0, or is it 4.0.

    I think the Predators making the playoffs in 2004 was a great indication that they chose the right way to ice a team. They have a bunch of talented young players who have had success together, and I think they would have improved had there been a 2004-05 season. It’s easier to get blood from a stone than to get an impact free agent to sign with an “expansion” team. If you aren’t lucky enough to grab one via the expansion draft, then you have to draft and develop, draft and develop, draft and develop. They’ve drafted pretty well, and those guys are now starting to develop. As well, Steve Sullivan did a great job in taking a leadership role when he was acquired. I think the Preds will make the playoffs again this season. Columbus has a great future in RicK Nash, Nikolai Zherdev, Pascal LeClaire, Dan Fritsche and Alexandre Picard. Florida has some good young players in their system, as does Minnesota. And there was a time, about three or four years ago, when the Lightning were in the exact same position that Nashville and Columbus and Florida are in. Trying to develop their draft picks and build a team instead of relying on mercenaries who signed the fattest contracts they could get.

  24. Flyer_Dman says:

    I could not agree with this guy more.

    He is running his team the way it should be done. He realizes that fans won’t come over night, and that the only way to gain true fans is by doing it the hard way. He’ll build a core group of players, develop a strong young goalie, and do his best to get Nashvillians into the arena. Big time signings and blockbuster trades is way too much short term thinking and not enough thinking for what is best for the team in the long haul. In fact, this type of thinking is what got the NHL into this mess in the first place.

    And lets face it, there won’t be any more Canadien teams in the NHL. Between exchange rates, passports, and incosistent business laws b/w the two countries it just won’t happen. Apparently from what I understand it already is a big enough headache as is with six teams.

  25. NemiNA says:

    He’s absolutely right! The Canadian Press is just as bad if not worse than the press here in Philly. Constant rumors, and accusations on little or NO sources. Charles Barkley once called a Philadelphia Writer and asshole in an interview, and the next day, that writer had and ENTIRE PAGE, explaining how everyone in Philadelphia should hate Charles Barkley, and how much of an asshole he is.

    The papers should seriously set down a rule that says if theres not a valid source, we won’t print it. These writers are out of their friggin minds.

  26. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Well, Chicago at least has a history. They’ve been a bad team for awhile now, but they’re original 6, have won a couple of cups…a long time ago, but they won. Chicago’s management has been terrible the past few years, as they either can’t spend money or won’t…they’ve let alot of good players leave, and had the pieces to have a strong team.

    Florida’s future probably does look brighter, but they’ve been in the league over 10 years now and haven’t done much to speak of…

  27. flyers_rule_leafs_suck says:

    Yeah, let’s see, we can play in the nhl in the US and get paid millons or stay in canada and play in our own league and get paid sh*t…..let me think, um no!

  28. greatlife15 says:

    Hamilton most likely won’t get a team due to the fact of the extraordinary amounts of money that will be needed to be paid to both the Leafs and Sabres..

  29. greatlife15 says:

    Most of America will NOT take kindly to the idea of having only American teams due to the fact that America just doesn’t love hockey as much as Canada. Face it, Canada is needed!

  30. edmontonrules says:

    I don’t think you realize what kind of situation you guys would be in then. Everyone who loved hockey would move up to Canada and watch the only great hockey left. We could actually have our own leagye with probably 10 or so teams. I’m sure 90% of the Canadian players wouldn’t mind taking a minor pay cut to not have to deal with dirty players like Derian Hatcher. So you keep dreaming about having hockey without Canada. I guess you’re one of those people who think that everyone only cares about money. American hockey blows.

  31. flyers_rule_leafs_suck says:

    if you take the top 10 markets in the US and the top 10 in canada, it’s gonna be a lot more then a “minor pay cut” and not to mention the fact that. the maple would pay every top player that would play for an all canadian league cause they would be the only team that could spend the money.

  32. Lint07 says:

    I give your ”new NHL” 5 years before it goes bankrupt.

  33. atleastihavegolf says:

    except that florida has outdrawn the devils the last 3 years…

    too bad the nhl put a team in nashville before mcmullen could move them

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