Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Meetings that went through Monday and into Tuesday morning at the NHL offices in New York apparently have brought Boston hedgefund manager Jeff Vinik to the brink of buying the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Details are sketchy, and it was unclear how much more work has to be done. But Lightning co-owner Oren Koules apparently attended the meetings and at least representatives for co-owner Len Barrie and Vinik.
The deal would include the team, the St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5-1/2 acres around the arena.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
There are a couple of perfectly logical reasons why NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is feverishly brokering a deal to sell the Tampa Bay Lightning to Boston-based hedge fund manager Jeffrey Vinik.
First and foremost, it’s his job to do everything he can to have stable and well-heeled owners for all 30 NHL teams.
But there’s another far more personal reason: His integrity is on the line. After all, it’s Bettman’s regime that is, in large part, responsible for this mess in the first place.
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Vinny Lecavalier did not exactly say he would not waive his no-move clause, but he clearly is in no hurry to leave the Lightning.
“I want to stay in Tampa,” the captain said. “I want to win with this team.”...
Lawton said there was “no new news” on the ownership front and the media were ahead of themselves.
“I would say the majority of the reports are, again, it’s just people wanting to say they had a story first,” he said. “Our team is operating as we have from Day 1, and as I have wished it to be, which is focusing on our on-ice play, and I’m very pleased with how that has been handled.
“All the other stuff, we respect people’s right to write whatever they like, but we don’t agree with it, and a lot of it is erroneous.”
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Sources say the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning to Boston-based hedge fund manager Jeffrey Vinik is all but complete and could be official as early as Saturday or Sunday.
In fact, it’s believed that Vinik has already agreed to cover the Lightning’s payroll, which is due Feb. 15, as part of a deal that will be signed in the coming days….
It’s unclear whether Lightning governor and CEO Oren Koules of the OK Hockey Group will have any stake in the team, but it appears as though co-owner Len Barrie, who is experiencing troubles of his own with his Great Bear Resort near Victoria, B.C., will no longer be part of the ownership group….
Sources say there was a deal in place last June to trade Lecavalier to the Montreal Canadiens for goalie Carey Price, center Tomas Plekanec and a prospect, but the deal was blocked by Bettman after Barrie refused to approve the deal.
from Ken Campbell and Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
The Tampa Bay Lightning ownership fiasco could come to an end soon, but speculation that the team will deal captain Vincent Lecavalier is just beginning to heat up.
According to multiple sources, the NHL is negotiating the sale of the Lightning and the five-acre parcel of land adjacent to the St. Petes Times Forum from the OK Hockey Group to Boston-based financier Jeffrey Vinik for an estimated price of $170 million.
Ray Thill,Tampa Bay Lightning Equipment Manager, discusses the protective gear players wear.
Tampa Bay with a 3-0 shutout of Montreal tonight, highlighted by Vinny’s goal.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
The day I sat with him, Konopka had two black eyes, one from a stick and one from a fist. His nose has flattened out, having been broken 14 times - sticks, glass, pucks, punches.
“My face leads me wherever I go,” Konopka said. His lovable mug has had 400 stitches. Who needs to go over the Falls?
Somehow this fourth-line center who has just two goals and two assists, who’s lucky if he gets nine minutes of ice time a night, who until this season had played just 39 NHL games, has, yes, somehow become an important part of this team, and it’s more than fighting, having everyone’s back. Konopka is good at face-offs, he’s smart, funny, keeps everybody loose, card games, pranks, jokes, never any let up, not Zenon.
“I don’t want to call him a loose cannon, but he just does things, on the ice, obviously, but off the ice, too,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “Team building stuff. He’s always got something going on to create an atmosphere in the room that bonds people together.”
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
...here we are, 50 games into a season, and this is a Lecavalier we barely know. The player who led the entire NHL in goals less than three years ago is now third on his own team. A player who once scored 52 goals in a season is now on pace for 21.
He has gone from being the face of a franchise to being another face in the crowd. When his name comes up in trade rumors, no one around here is screaming that Lightning ownership is out of its mind.
So how did it get to this point, Vinny?
And, furthermore, what are you going to do about it?
Everyone around the Lightning seems to be waiting for Lecavalier to break out. For that game when he skates onto the ice and, once again, looks as if he owns it. For the moment when he realizes, at age 29, he is frittering away one of the prime years of his career.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
The relative calm and quiet recently surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning ownership situation could get noisy again.
Lightning officials declined comment on a report Thursday by the Sports Business Journal that the National Hockey League advanced the team revenue-sharing money for the 2009-10 season to cover January payroll expenses.
For months, sparring Tampa Bay co-owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules have been working to bring in additional investors in order to part ways. Beginning in August, each was given a 60-day window to buy out the other. Those deadlines have long passed with no resolution to the situation.
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