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Balsillie to open the wallet in Nashville

Hot of the presses of the Tennessean comes a report that soon-to-be Nashville Predators owner Jim Balsillie "wants to take a run at the Stanley Cup in the coming season and that Balsillie plans to give general manager David Poile the payroll to do so."

This comes shortly after this morning's paper featured an article by beat writer John Glennon portraying the front office as basically adrift heading into the July free agency period, since Poile wasn't sure how much of a payroll he could plan on when resigning current Preds or shopping around for difference-makers. The sale of the team is hoped to conclude by the end of this month, but things are never certain in such matters, and the lack of clear direction was becoming a distraction to Poile and his team.

The following quote from Balsillie's attorney Richard Rodier is about as direct a statement as you'll ever hear:
"We want to give David Poile a very generous budget to build the team however he wants, having regard only to the league salary cap and not to any budget restraints imposed by ownership,’’ Rodier said. "This is about winning, buying a team that has a shot at winning the Cup in our view.’’

This is heartening news for Nashville Predators fans, who have basically waited through several days of silence from Balsillie's camp since the deal with Craig Leipold was announced. Expect the Balsilliemeter to be updated accordingly later today.

If this is indeed true, and Balsillie makes a serious run at keeping this team competitive, I would expect local support to easily surpass the 14,000 average paid attendance figure and keep the team here for at least several more years.

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