Nashville Predators ownership group gives William 'Boots' Del Biaggio the boot

predatorslogo.gifThe history of sports is littered with swaggering, more-talk-than-walk owners, especially in the not-always-financially-stable NHL. Old money guys might not be the most PR-savvy or exciting, but aside from the occasional breakthrough in the form of Mark Cuban, most of the attention-seekers tend to fall on their faces (see: the Tampa Bay Lightning’s former owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie).

So it must come as quite a relief to the Nashville Predators (and their fans) to rid their franchise of William “Boots” Del  Baggio. The team released word that their former partial owner is now completely out of the picture.

Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran announced today that the Predators ownership group has completed the purchase of the franchise ownership shares previously held by Forecheck Investments, LLC (William “Boots” Del Biaggio previously owned 83% of Forecheck Investments).

The transaction has been approved by all the necessary parties, including the National Hockey League and the Metro Nashville Sports Authority. As a result of the transaction, the local ownership group now owns more than 95% of the franchise ownership shares.

“This is a significant step for the Predators franchise on several levels,” Cigarran said. “First and foremost, it strengthens our franchise’s financial position and eliminates a significant future liability. In doing so, it closes the book on a distraction and allows the Predators and fans to move forward, focusing on what matters most – putting the best possible team on the ice and creating the best possible in-arena atmosphere and entertainment experience. Also, while the franchise was initially known as Nashville’s team because it was created here in Music City, this transaction reinforces that theme as more than 95% of the ownership shares are now held by local residents.”

Considering the team’s need to lay down local roots, it’s great to hear that the team is now 95 percent locally owned. While they are years away from being one of the league’s biggest spending teams (if they ever get to the level), you have to imagine that stable ownership could help the team go from scrappy, defensive-minded overachievers to a club that might actually be able to get past the first round of the playoffs.

The timing is right, too, when you look at the fact that their one true star Shea Weber will be a restricted free agent after next season. Sometimes blue chip players want a stable organization – not just gobs of money – to stay with a team, so this could make a big impact on Weber’s opinion of the club.

And who knows, they might be able to land promising free agents in the future, too.

Scroll Down For:

    Video: Chris Kreider doesn’t just fight Cody Eakin, he hits him with his helmet

    Leave a comment

    Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers almost seemed destined to be a wild affair, and so far, the two teams aren’t disappointing.

    For one thing, Chris Kreider and the Rangers were open about “not forgetting” Cody Eakin‘s hit on Henrik Lundqvist, something Eakin realized heading in. The Stars had their own irritations coming into this game, as they clearly weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and their shaky play overall.

    So, yeah, plenty of reason for this to be a rowdy affair.

    Kreider is delivering in particular, with the most memorable moment being his strange fight with Eakin, which you can see above. SBNation’s Pat Iversen points out that Kreider probably should have been ejected for hitting Eakin with a piece of his equipment, a violation of Rule 53.

    As many know, Kreider has even more of a reputation for “interacting” with goalies, as he did once again with Antti Niemi:

    The Stars currently lead the game 5-3, so it’s been a busy one on the scoreboard, too.

    Video: Maple Leafs lose Morgan Rielly after fall into boards

    Leave a comment

    Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a shaky start on Tuesday. Still, their concerns likely revolve the most around the health of defenseman Morgan Rielly.

    As you can see from the video above, the young Buds blueliner was shaken up by an awkward spill into the boards.

    It’s too early to know if he avoided injury or might miss some time, but there’s at least some concern that he might have aggravated an issue from before his NHL days:

    We’ll need to wait and see, but with his offensive skills and overall importance in mind (average just under 23 minutes a game this season, more or less in line with his breakthrough year in 2015-16), the Maple Leafs are crossing their fingers that this isn’t anything major.

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche

    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck as he turns against Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The Chicago Blackhawks need to put a tough weekend behind them; maybe the Colorado Avalanche are just what the doctor ordered.

    Colorado is clearly ranked last in the league, whether they believe they have some assets in the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog or not. Perhaps there will be a few scouts on hand to see how such potential Avs trade targets perform against a contending team?

    It’s rarely a dull night when the Blackhawks roll out talented players like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews – among others – so it should be a good time on NBCSN on Tuesday.

    You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

    Short-lived return? No Tyler Ennis for Sabres tonight

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres takes a shot on goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Tyler Ennis‘ return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Monday after a 30-game absence seemed like a breath of fresh air. Tuesday, then, represents letting the air out of the balloon.

    The Sabres announced that Ennis wasn’t out for warm-ups heading into tonight’s Sabres – Toronto Maple Leafs game. It certainly gives the impression that his groin injury isn’t fully healed.

    Ennis contributed a goal to Buffalo’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday and nearly scored another in “lacrosse” style:

    When healthy, he’s been a 20-goal, 40+ point player for Buffalo lately, so he was missed. The team tweeted out Ryan O'Reilly‘s comments about Ennis’ return mere hours ago, so you get the impression that it was a surprise for many:

    Maybe it’s just a minor setback?

    Update: The Sabres deem it a “precautionary scratch,” according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. So maybe file this under minor setback. We’ll see.