And maybe, just maybe, that's exactly how the Predators want it.
Think about this: If you (the Predators ownership group) know you're going to match the Flyers' offer sheet to Shea Weber, why wouldn't you milk all the media attention you can get? For a small-market team who does not get the national spotlight much (if at all) during the season, any attention shone down on Nashville is a change from previous years.
You can hold the hockey media hostage, where they simply have to pay attention to what's going on in Nashville, until you decide (on your terms) to make an announcement. Let's say they decide to make an announcement at the end of business Monday afternoon. That's five days of the spotlight on the Nashville Predators.
They now have the hockey media by the you-know-what until they decide to either match the offer or take the picks and work out other deals. It's either "give us what we really want for those picks or you don't get Weber." Paul Holmgren ran out of patience, and the Preds may ultimately benefit from it. Of course, that's assuming they match the offer.
The argument that "it's $26 million guaranteed in the first calendar year," while true, is also a bit about perspective. Assuming the deal is done Monday (July 23), Weber would be owed $13 million then, and $13 million 343 days later. A July 1 to July 1 period is 366 days. If owners with supposed "deep pockets" have the cash to make it work, a 22-day difference shouldn't be a deal breaker.
Now, back to the point. The media is now tied up with this story until a conclusion is reached. Instead of grandstanding and snap-calling Holmgren's all-in bet, they took their time and, in the same token, took the headlines.
Would an immediate match have eased the pain of the fan base and saved face in the organization? Absolutely. Sure, it's not all positive news for the Preds (in fact, it's very little if any), but the attention of the hockey world is shining on 501 Broadway right now, and that's something that five years ago was very much in doubt.
As long as the Preds call Holmgren's bluff, they're winners in this situation. If they decide to fold, then let the house cleaning begin in earnest.
David Poile holds the winning hand in this deal. Now, he needs to show it.
If the Preds don't make a decision on Shea Weber by Monday afternoon, how likely are they to keep him?
75% or better (11 votes)
50% to 74% (16 votes)
25% to 49% (10 votes)
Less than 25% (29 votes)
66 total votes