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Tampa Bay In Pieces, Owners Argue For Rights


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Turns out, the Lightning's troubles did not end with another lost season.

This morning, the woes grow deeper. Perhaps, by this evening, they will turn uglier.

There is unrest in the ownership group. There is dissension in the ranks. And, almost one year to the day after OK Hockey took control of the franchise, the possibility of a messy divorce between bickering owners is a real possibility.

Oren Koules and Len Barrie are scheduled to have a meeting today with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to determine which one of them will have the authority to make decisions for the franchise. In essence, the commissioner is determining custody of a hockey team.

And so the humiliation of an ownership group reaches a new crescendo. If you thought it was bad when Dan Boyle called them liars, or John Tortorella described them as cowboys or Barry Melrose accused them of being meddlers, then this is worse.

This makes them look like complete incompetents.

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http://www.tampabay.com/sports/hockey/ligh...icle1012505.ece

But, today, the fissure seems wide. The talk is that Koules wants to keep Lawton as GM, wants to trade Lecavalier to get out from under his $85 million contract and wants to pare the payroll to the low $40 million range. Barrie is not as solidly behind Lawton, wants to build around Lecavalier and is in favor of signing some free agents to get the payroll closer to $50 million.

The point is these differences must be resolved immediately. The draft is days away, and Lecavalier's no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. It is no exaggeration to say the fate of this franchise, for years to come, could very well be decided in the next 10 days.

And so it is time for Bettman to fix this. To lay down the law before this franchise is broken beyond repair.

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Basically its an ownership divorce, and its time for the NHL to decide who gets custody.

Nevertheless the franchise is officially the laughing stock of the league.

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Breaking:

A source close to the situation said this afternoon that everything remains on par, with Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton in control of the team decisions and Koules, who also serves as the team’s governor, having the final say in what direction the team takes for this weekend’s draft and the start of free agency next week.

Koules is the one in favor of keeping Lawton and trading Vinny, all but assuring a Lecavalier trade in the coming days.

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Here comes Jim Balsille again! :lol:

Go Jimmy boy :lol:

Dammit, I was hoping Barrie would prevail, thereby keeping Vinny and his stupid contract in Tampa Bay and scuttling the rumors of Vinny to Montreal.

Now we're going to have to deal with another dang week of Lecavalier speculation.

Wel,we heard it for 7 months now,what's one more week,eh?

It'll all be put to bed soon.

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Well both owners want to go in a valid direction, but ultimately, if your team is going to lose money, it simply makes more sense to keep costs down. If all this information is true, I expect Lecavalier will be moved.

Is this a 50/50 ownership? If so it makes some sense to require that all NHL teams have a single person speaking on behalf of a majority ownership. If one of them had a 51% stake in the majority, it would hold a single person accountable for the direction of the franchise in the face of such disputes.

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Dammit, I was hoping Barrie would prevail, thereby keeping Vinny and his stupid contract in Tampa Bay and scuttling the rumors of Vinny to Montreal.

Now we're going to have to deal with another dang week of Lecavalier speculation.

C'mon weep, even Vinny himself could take over the GM position and there'd still be rumours! :lol:

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Wel,we heard it for 7 months now,what's one more week,eh?

It'll all be put to bed soon.

Yeah, but this one more week is just prior to the start of free agency, so in terms of sheer volume of idiotic media analysis, unsubstantiated fan speculation, and rumor-mongering, it will feel like three months. :P

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Well both owners want to go in a valid direction, but ultimately, if your team is going to lose money, it simply makes more sense to keep costs down. If all this information is true, I expect Lecavalier will be moved.

Is this a 50/50 ownership? If so it makes some sense to require that all NHL teams have a single person speaking on behalf of a majority ownership. If one of them had a 51% stake in the majority, it would hold a single person accountable for the direction of the franchise in the face of such disputes.

It was a joint ownership with both having equal power, the NHL just ruled in favor or Koules today.

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I sincerely hope every other league GM plays hardball with Tampa. If ownership wants to deal Vinny to ease the financial strain on the team, Lawton is not dealing from a position of strength, especially given Vinny's poison pill of a contract. Nobody should overpay, and Tampa should in fact be prepared to undersell. Same for Heatley in Ottawa. I want these GMs who throw stupid money/term at overrated players to be held accountable for their mistakes.

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I sincerely hope every other league GM plays hardball with Tampa. If ownership wants to deal Vinny to ease the financial strain on the team, Lawton is not dealing from a position of strength, especially given Vinny's poison pill of a contract. Nobody should overpay, and Tampa should in fact be prepared to undersell. Same for Heatley in Ottawa. I want these GMs who throw stupid money/term at overrated players to be held accountable for their mistakes.

I frankly could care less if they pay for their mistakes or not, but most likely they will.

On Vinny, I'm going to need a few extra drinks then I imagined tonight,

"We've had some preliminary discussions, but I told them that we're not going to make any moves until after the draft," Gainey said, offering the tantalizing possibility that the team may pull off a blockbuster deal during the weekend.

http://www2.canada.com/topics/sports/hocke...4a-1493dd041040

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Dammit, I was hoping Barrie would prevail, thereby keeping Vinny and his stupid contract in Tampa Bay and scuttling the rumors of Vinny to Montreal.

Now we're going to have to deal with another dang week of Lecavalier speculation.

lets be real weep...if it dont happen at the draft there will be a whole new round of rumours saying that vinny has waived his ntc and he will be on way to montreal right before __fill in your answer here__

loll :P

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On Vinny, I'm going to need a few extra drinks then I imagined tonight,

"We've had some preliminary discussions, but I told them that we're not going to make any moves until after the draft," Gainey said, offering the tantalizing possibility that the team may pull off a blockbuster deal during the weekend.

http://www2.canada.com/topics/sports/hocke...4a-1493dd041040

Your quote is taken a bit out of context - the article says:

Gainey spent some time earlier in the day talking to some of the team's unrestricted free agents.

We've had some preliminary discussions, but I told them that we're not going to make any moves until after the draft,"

So the "we" is Gainey & our current UFA, not Gainey & TB...thats kind of a big difference.

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Your quote is taken a bit out of context - the article says:

Gainey spent some time earlier in the day talking to some of the team's unrestricted free agents.

We've had some preliminary discussions, but I told them that we're not going to make any moves until after the draft,"

So the "we" is Gainey & our current UFA, not Gainey & TB...thats kind of a big difference.

Ahhh my mistake, actually its not taken out of context, just stupid context. Hes referring to what will happen after the Draft, so if it was a trade it would happen at the Draft.

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Jeez... The guy will be 40 when his contract is up. That's brutal. A $7.7 million cap hit for someone 35 and beyond is ridiculous. I know Montreal is looking for a superstar, but is Vinny even that guy? I mean, he hasn't shown anyone he's THAT guy. Richards carried them to the Stanley Cup just as much as Lecavalier did. Not to mention... $10 million a year until 2015-2016. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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sigh.... I need to bann my head against a wall whenever I think of this team. Im a casual fan of the team because they are local to me, so this drives me nuts.

Jeez... The guy will be 40 when his contract is up. That's brutal. A $7.7 million cap hit for someone 35 and beyond is ridiculous. I know Montreal is looking for a superstar, but is Vinny even that guy? I mean, he hasn't shown anyone he's THAT guy. Richards carried them to the Stanley Cup just as much as Lecavalier did. Not to mention... $10 million a year until 2015-2016. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Its front loaded and the actual amount each year declines. So if he hits the wall in a few years and becomes a liability due to skill loss, his hit isnt so bad.

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sigh.... I need to bann my head against a wall whenever I think of this team. Im a casual fan of the team because they are local to me, so this drives me nuts.

Its front loaded and the actual amount each year declines. So if he hits the wall in a few years and becomes a liability due to skill loss, his hit isnt so bad.

A player's cap hit never changes over the duration of a contract. Lecavalier's cap hit is, and always will be, $7.7 million. Salary can change from season to season, cap hit does not.

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A player's cap hit never changes over the duration of a contract. Lecavalier's cap hit is, and always will be, $7.7 million. Salary can change from season to season, cap hit does not.

Something is wrong with this logic. He was paid just over 7 million this past season. The cap hit is the average over all the money he makes every year divided by the number of years on the contract. I am unable to find the cap hit for future years, but my guess is it falls somewhere in the 6.5 million range.

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Something is wrong with this logic. He was paid just over 7 million this past season. The cap hit is the average over all the money he makes every year divided by the number of years on the contract. I am unable to find the cap hit for future years, but my guess is it falls somewhere in the 6.5 million range.

He was paid $10 million this past season. The cap hit is around $7.7 million. What's the problem?

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From Kevin Allen of USA Today:

This is an important piece of info that was not incluided in the last piece,

My sense this morning is that it is less likely that Vinny Lecavalier will be traded this weekend than it was a month ago.

Tuesday's meeting between Comissioner Gary Bettman and squabbling owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie established a protocol for how the team should be operated when ownership can't agree on what should be done.

It is now established that Barrie can't be calling other teams to discuss moves on his own, nor can he act as the Lone Ranger and sign free agents.

That's important because the impression that the hockey world had is that Barrie wanted to be as aggressive this summer as the team was last summer, while Koules now wants to pull back a bit on the reins.

Essentially, the meeting established that the Lightning should be operated like other teams, with the general manager Brian Lawton making decisions in consultation with ownership.

However, it was also established at that meeting that Lawton and Koules can't make moves without Barrie being in the loop.

The natural conclusion is that it will be challenging to achieve a Lecavalier deal that both BArrie and Koules could sign off on.

The other issue, which is even more important, is that the Lightning haven't been impressed by any offers they have received for Lecavalier.

Certainly a Lecavalier trade is still possible, and I believe it's fair to wonder whether their draft pick will influence their decision. If Victor Hedman is their pick, then they have a premium young defenseman to go with a blue chip center combination of Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos.

If they ended up with John Tavares, or even Matt Duchene, they would have three potential offensive centers. Then there would be some logic to trying to deal big money Lecavalier for a premium defenseman.

But as of this morning, it is unlikely that Lecavalier will be dealt.

http://www.usatoday.com/community/profile....91-7233b6ada8c0

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