[Ed. Note: Some lists chronicle the best in hockey. Others the worst. Others the most memorable or greatest or essential. What Puck Daddy’s 2016 Summer Series seeks to do is capture those indefinable, quirky, oddities that occur every season. Moments that defy prediction or, in some cases, logical explanation. Welcome to WEIRD NHL.]
1. These Boots Are Made For … Committing A Felony
William “Boots” Del Biaggio III served as a partner with the San Jose Sharks from 2002-2007 then bought a $25 million stake in the Nashville Predators in December of 2007 when himself and others (Predators Holdings LLC) purchased the team from Craig Leipold.
While this story seems nothing out of the ordinary, six months later Del Biaggio filed for personal bankruptcy because of this thing called fraud.
Del Biaggio wasn’t just your regular business man – obviously – he rolled around with a pretty lavish crew both socially and in the business world including Mario Lemieux and lived an extremely lavish lifestyle.
He was after a 24 percent share of the Predators in 2007 with that $25 million, but he was short of that mark – real short. So, he turned to stockbroker David Cacchione and the duo came up with an illegal scheme.
This, via The Hockey News:
Cacchione emailed Del Biaggio account statements from several wealthy clients showing tens of millions of dollars worth of stock holdings. Del Biaggio then doctored the account statements by cutting out the clients’ names and pasting in his own.
Using the falsified documents, Del Biaggio obtained about $110 million in loans and loan guarantees from two NHL owners and various banks, including $4 million from the Heritage Bank of Commerce, which he and his father launched in the mid-90’s.
One of the owners mentioned was Leipold, the man Del Biaggio and others purchased the team from.
Long story short, Del Biaggio was sentenced to eight-years in prison in September of 2009 and more than $67 million in restitution.
In July of 2010, the Predators signed an agreement to acquire the entity of Del Biaggio’s shares for $15.2 million.
2. Alexander Radulov Concusses Jason Arnott
The Predators snuck into the playoffs in 2008 and faced off against the top seeded Detroit Red Wings in the first-round. After dropping the first two games of the series in Detroit, the Preds returned to 501 Broadway and ignited the crowd with two goals in quick fashion.
Down 3-2 with four minutes to play, Ryan Suter unleashed a slap shot to tie the contest up then just nine seconds later Jason Arnott made his mark sending a slapper from hell off the post and in to give the Preds a 4-3 advantage.
Then, about four seconds after scoring what was the game winning tally, Arnott was tackled by a very excited Alexander Radulov.
“Hey Jason, I’m coming for you! Catch my 200 pound body like I’m your son and you’re my father. Who cares if you’re on skates and six inches from a wall?”
Arnott skated nearly 18 minutes in the next game of the series despite immediately going to the trainer following the collision holding his head in Game 3.
Arnott missed the final two games of the series as a scratch. Not for a concussion I’m sure, just some type of upper-body injury. Concussion protocol may have been just a little bit different eight years ago.
You can watch the full two goals in nine seconds highlight, here.
3. The Shea Weber Trade
The Shea Weber for P.K. Subban swap is just over one month old, but it still has to be regarded as one of the weirdest things to happen in the Predators’ 18 years of existence.
There are three marquee moments, involving players, with the Predators: Ryan Suter leaving Nashville, Weber inking an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers before the Preds retained him and the recent move of shipping Weber to Montreal for Subban.
Whether Subban is a disaster in Nashville – which, come on – or he helps propel them to a Stanley Cup, the move will still go down as the biggest trade in franchise history.
Nashville immediately got better thanks to Subban joining the team, but it’s still a shocking move that no one saw coming until the news nearly broke Twitter.
Weber was Nashville. He was more than a building block for the franchise; he was the foundation and any Predators’ fan or media member would agree with that statement.
With that in mind, what is so interesting about the trade is how quickly everyone has moved on from the Weber led Predators. Sure, it helps that the Predators acquired the biggest personality in the NHL who isn’t too bad on the ice either, but the way the city and fans have embraced Subban – who hasn’t played a single game for the Preds – is a bit surprising from the standpoint of whose shoes he is going to be filling in Music City.
The trade had a shocking effect on Nashville fans and certainly Montreal fans, but this deal doesn’t seem to carry that same aftershock that is seen with other big trades. Nashville ‘winning the trade’ has a lot to do with that, but from just moments after the trade the majority of opinions coming out of Nashville has been “Shea Weber who?”
If you had to place a bet on whether or not Weber would have finished his career as a Nashville Predator, wouldn’t you have said yes? Have you seen the man’s contract?
It will be weird – more exciting, faster and fresh – but weird nonetheless to not see Weber manning Nashville’s blue line; after all, he did sport the Preds’ sweater for 763 games.
4. LET’S GO PERDS!
On September 4, 2013, the Predators received a new nickname, but not on purpose.
The team sent out an email to season ticket holders sharing information as to when and where they could pick up Smashville Passports (paperless tickets). Seems normal, until you read the last gesture in the email.
While other teams may send out an immediate email correcting their mistake or simply let the error fly and let the dust settle on it’s own, the Predators took a different approach and addressed the mistake with wide-open arms as the released a statement the following day with dozens of obvious spelling errors:
Deer Season Ticket Holder,
It has come to hour attention that the Nashville Perdaters e-mail to our most loyal fans may have had a few misspellings in it yesturday, but can you blame us? With so much excitement in the air as the season quickly approaches, we can’t even sea or type stra8.
The playas are back in town, single game tix go on sale this weekend and our furst home preseason game is only 18 days away. We are planning so many great events for you that spel cheque is the last thing on hour mind.
We look forward to seeing you at the Season Tix Holder pick-up partay @ Bridgestone Arena this Saturday at 11 a.m., where you can tell us in person how bad our spelling is.
The Predators received some major publicity due to the error in the email and of course their witty response, but they also earned a nickname that has stuck with them ever since.
It is still extremely common to hear fans call the team the Perds – especially when they’re struggling – and see the hashtag #LetsGoPerds on Twitter just about every night.
You can’t help but love how the team handled the situation. The Perds added more weird to an already odd situation, and owned it.
5. Hockey Is Hard, Even When You’re All Alone
There isn’t too much explaining to do here.
Craig Smith couldn’t put the puck into the empty net against the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2011.
One of his skates was nearly in the goaltender’s crease, that’s how close he was. He clearly tried to roof the puck into the net, but instead the puck found the net above the glass.
It may be harder to miss the net from where he was then it is to hit it.
Patrik Stefan’s miss was much worse. Viewer discretion advised.
The bad luck struck Smith again this past season against the Montreal Canadiens when he blocked his own overtime winning shot.
This video should be hidden and only displayed in online physics textbooks.
If we’re debating which of those two plays are the weirdest, the one against the Habs has to get the nod. The empty net miss was the result of trying to get cute with the puck, the blocking of his own shot left you speechless and in a stare.
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