Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Golf Tourney Subtext: Uncertainty
Posted Feb 25, 2008 by Aaron Knox
Updated Feb 25, 2008 at 01:21 PM
Lightning players have gathered at the TPC Cheval for a charity golf tournament today. They went off on a shotgun start a few minutes ago.
No word yet on whether the Oren Koules group has met with Lightning front office members, but team president Ron Campbell is here at the tournament. Read into that what you will, because he didn’t talk about it before teeing off.
Not among the playing groups are two of the hot-topic Lightning players, D Dan Boyle and C Brad Richards. They’re both meeting groups as they go through a certain green and putting around a bit before the next group moves in.
Before the event got started, though, Richards and Boyle did take a moment to talk about the uncertainty that surrounds the team as the trade deadline tomorrow at 3 p.m. looms ever closer and as the ownership situation comes to an apparent head.
Both players possess no-trade clauses in their contracts, and both said they had not been asked as of this afternoon to waive those no-trade clauses. Boyle, a pending free agent, also didn’t shed much light on his contract negotiation, other than to reiterate that he wants to be with the Lightning for the foreseeable future.
Here’s a sampling of their comments this morning:
Boyle on whether he believes the new ownership group wants to keep him after this season (or even beyond the trade deadline):
““There’s no secret I love to be here, and from what I’ve heard, everyone would like me to be here. But with the ownership situation, it makes it a little bit more difficult. ... Who’s to know? If you’re not on the same page, then I don’t know where you go from there. It’s unfortunate the season has gone the way it has, because it looks like we’re one of the last-place teams in the league. But I certainly wouldn’t want to stay here if I didn’t think that we could turn this thing around quickly, and I think we can.”
Richards on the uncertainty of a potential transfer of ownership from Palace Sports & Entertainment to Koules’ OK Hockey Group:
“They’ve kept this very professional under the circumstances. Unfortunately, the right people built this organization the way it should’ve been, and it’s getting torn apart. And it’s not all by their doing. A lot of outside influences. So, it’s unfortunate to see that happening, but we’ll see. You never know.”
Richards on whether he had been asked to waive his no-trade clause (tsn.ca reported that the team would bring him a list of teams he might approve on Sunday night, which apparently did not happen):
“To be honest with you, it wasn’t a fun week since last weekend. It still isn’t fun. A lot of sleepless nights, and we still don’t have a decision. As of yet, I haven’t been asked to go anywhere. I guess that’s the frustrating part, is sitting and waiting. Jay [Feaster has] been really good with me. He’s kept me in the loop and has been really good and supportive. We’ll see. I still don’t know what my decision’s going to be. I’m in control of it, so we’ll see what happens.”
Richards on how important it is for him to have that no-trade clause:
“If I didn’t have it, this would be a real messy situation for myself, personally. But it’s in their hands to bring something to me if it’s going to happen. If they don’t, then we’ll move on.”
We’ll have more as the day progresses.