It has been a busy week for the Predators, though most of it is behind the scenes.
The quick points:
- Preds signed 'journeyman' Josh Langfeld. He has been compared to a Fiddler-style player that still has potential. Trotz stated earlier this week that they are looking to shore up their depth at forward, especially when it comes to depth beyond the NHL level. This fits that category well.
- The local potential-ownership group has moved several steps closer to closing the deal to purchase the team. The last of the paperwork has been signed between the new group and Craig Leipold, meaning all that is left is for the NHL Board of Governors (owners) to vote and approve (which they are expected to do)...and of course the local group still has to renegotiate the lease terms with Metro Nashville government to make the needed changes in the lease in order to secure the remainder of their financing.
- The Predators crossed the 9,000 season ticket mark earlier this week. That is 9,000 full-season tickets, or full-season equivalents (in other words, probably several thousand full-season tickets, and many thousand more half-season and quarter-season packages). The team has yet to start selling individual game tickets, and camp hasn't even started (so media coverage hasn't really ramped up yet). Last year the team ended up the year at 8,758 full season tickets (or equivalents). That means assuming ticket sales for individual games doesn't go down, the team will more than make-up the roughly180 seats per game they fell short of the 14,000 needed to lock the team here. Individual ticket sales start Sept 15th, and season ticket sales always go up as the year progresses. These numbers are very very encouraging.
- FSN South announced which games they will be broadcasting. 55 games for the year over the regular season. Pretty good spread throughout the season. Nothing noted so far as to which of the games will be available in HD, though my hope is all of them... we'll see. I'd love to have an option of a local terrestrial broadcast station pickup at least a few of the extra games (especially some of the away games) but i guess we're still not there yet. NBC has an option to have us on against the Red Wings twice, so those two Red Wings games aren't on FSN. I'm not sure if FSN gets to pickup the games in the event NBC chooses not to broadcast them. We'll also be missing at least one game against the Stanley Cup Champion Ducks. Looking up sports bars with Center Ice...
The Nashville Post reported yesterday that the Preds have picked up another corporate sponsor. This one i'm really excited about. Not only are the a corporate sponsor in terms of helping give the team financial support - their main support is actually in discounted services they are providing. Dolphini Networks, based in the Cummings Station building just down the street from the Sommet Center, is a high-tech media services company. Among other things, they will be running a special fiber-optic backbone from their offices to the arena. This will allow them to "provide the team with Internet support, voice over Internet protocol services and, down the road, wireless simulcast of games within the building."
This is where it gets good: that later feature is described as one that will "allow fans to receive feeds from cameras following their favorite players." Are you freaking kidding me?!?! They'll have camera's just trained on each individual player on the ice. You can focus on Mason all the way in on a breakaway, or watch Leggy with his great back checking that is so rarely on camera. I just hope they allow fans to get access to this data at a later time, through a subscription internet site perhaps.
Lastly, it's been a while since we've had some good old fashioned free agent speculation for the Preds... so here we go... Eklund, the master of fuzzy rumors, has updated his list. Here's the Nashville mentions off the list:
1. Peter Forsberg (Nash, Ottawa, Col, Edm, Van, Phi)That's right, Eric Lindros is now apparently a possibility for Nashville. Uh huh. Right. Only thing that makes sense about that to me is as a replacement for Sullivan. Anyway...
5. Mike Johnson (Nashville, Washington, Phoenix)
13. Eric Lindros (retire or Calgary, Vancouver, Nashville)
Throwing a little speculation out there of my own: ESPN's (known for great hockey coverage of course) Scott Burnside wrote an interesting article about Curtis Joseph's desire to continue to play in the NHL. He doesn't want to follow Eddie Belfor to play overseas. Fine. Preds need a good, experienced backup behind Mason. I'll take CuJo. Of course we couldn't and wouldn't pay him anywhere near the $2mil he made with Phoenix last year, but maybe we wouldn't have to. Having Pekka Rinne as our only backup, as solid as he looks in the minors, just makes me nervous.
Last little jab: If the Predators did this, i guarantee people up in Detroit would be using it as an example of how Nashville is a failure as a hockey club. Cities are different. They don't always compare exactly. And everyone - even the great Hockeytown - has to resort to unusual methods to fill seats on occasion. Personally i think it's a great promo and with Detroit luck in filling seats (just not filling nets).
Oh - last shot - looks like we might be getting NHL games live online next year (finally!). For those like myself who don't have cable but do have broadband (all 4 of us) this will be awesome!
Update: New Preds jerseys go on sale Sept 15th (same as individual game tickets) at the Preds Pro Shop at the Sommet Center. Looks like they will be available elsewhere (Sports Seasons, etc) on Sept 22nd-ish.