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Bettman discusses Lightning situation

Posted Feb 20, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Feb 20, 2009 at 08:28 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. - League commissioner Gary Bettman took in Friday nights game at the RBC Center, in part to tour the area for potential consideration for Raleigh to host a future All-Star game, but took some time out to address the media before faceoff.

Bettman was asked about the persisting rumors that OK Hockey is in serious financial trouble to the point where former owner Bill Davidson and Palace Sports would be forced to resume control of the franchise.

“There is nothing to address there,’’ Bettman said. “I don’t understand why people say that. It’s no secret that they did some of the financing of the deal, which happens to be a good thing because it means the franchise is in solid financial condition. That’s why I don’t think people should be focused or worried about it.’‘

Essentially, Bettman said the key is for everyone involved to remain patient and allow owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie to implement whatever plan they have in mind.

“You have very committed owners there,’’ Bettman said. “They are passionate about the club and they want to make sure that this team is performing on and off the ice as well as possible. But as with new owners in any sport, there is always a learning curve and when you make a lot of changes sometimes people tend to make judgment before you get to see the full effects.’‘

Despite all the rumors, despite a recent restructured financing deal with Palace Sports and even on the heels of charging building employees for parking starting on March 1, Bettman said there are no warning signs of shaky financial ground.

“Teams all go through up and down phases,’’ the commissioner said. “You make it sound like the team is in some kind of trouble when it’s not.’’

Reader Comments

Por (Goalman) on February 20, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Rather than make employees pay for parking,OK should pay tht fans to come and see minor league hockey at the forum.

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Por (Victor E. Victor) on February 20, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Who is the bigger shyster, Bud Selig or Gary Bettman?

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Por (Goalman) on February 20, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Here’s a trade for you. Brian Lawton for Jay Feaster and 2 Philly Phlava steaks

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Por (Bolt Fan) on February 21, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Goalman, I’m with you all the way.  Good points

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Por (Dan) on February 21, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Your kidding Bettman.  I have it on good authority that the Lightning had to cut live checks for the second payroll in a row.  When payroll is normally done via direct deposit.  The live checks were not to be given out til 1:00pm Friday of the last payroll day.  Also, why is it that a good portion of the front office staff wants to leave???  Only reason that they cannot is the economy and they need the jobs.

Also, heard this as well.  That some of the players were willing to pay for the employees to park in the lot.  But, someone shot down that idea.  Not sure if this is true or not.  Things not good on and off the ice at the Forum.  Lotta pins and needle walking taking place.

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Por (dan) on February 21, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Lawton’s wife just took a new position with the team or the building not sure which one it is.  Now, why in the heck would they bring on payroll when they have to have employees pay for parking.  Lawton is a bad, bad person.  Not liked by players and forum staff at all.  Wait until a couple of the players that will speak out against Lawton once that they are traded.  I do not understand they someone can be sooooo blinded by this “POWER HUNGRY” person whom has not idea what in the hell he is doing.  Then he brings on his wife!!!

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Por (Goalman) on February 21, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Brian Lawton should be fired before the trading deadline and definitely before the draft. The guy doesn’t have a clue. Radim Vrbata,Marek Malik, Lucas Kraijeck,Matt Carle,trading Dan Boyle,Matt Pettinger,Steve Emminger. Need I go on? Jay Feaster had his faults,but he was working under strict fiscal restraints.And,as poor as some of the deals were from Jay,I always felt that he liked the team and the fans.All I get from Lawton is a shake of his expensive haircut and arrogance.

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Por (Bayner) on February 22, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Well said Dan and Goalman. This whole circus atmosphere has got to stop. From Len Barrie shooting his mouth off to OK dumping the former regime. Lawton is pompous, unexperienced and as we see, unsuccessful. I long for the Feaster days and for Tort’s press conferences. I am this close to cancelling my NHL Centre Ice package.

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Por (Phil Smirnoff) on March 01, 2009 (Suggest removal)

This is what what happens every time that owners meddle with the team .
How many more PR gaffes are required before you fire Lawton and hire a pro GM and Coach . We the fans side with the players and the employees .
Enough already keep it up and this team will be broke or with new owners .

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